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Why We Use Relaxation and Drawing Techniques in The FL Classroom.  


Timing20 minutes approx.

Aim: for Ss to understand the reasoning behind our use of relaxation and drawing techniques in the FL classroom and thereby maximise the usefulness of said techniques.  

Mats: Handouts



TInform Ss that you are going to show them how they can get their brains to work better so that learning is easier and that we will be using these techniques in many of our classes together. 

Check Ss know ‘brain’ by eliciting meaning.  

T: If they don’t know draw diagram (see Figure 1 below) - or if one S knows and not others get em to draw it. 

Figure 1

Write: ‘1) Helping our brains to help us’ on board.            

(Leave space for ways to help. If Ss start to copy any of the board work tell  them you have handouts for them with all this information on).

From here on in you have a scripted guideline: 

“Basically, the human brain is split into two halves. This side (point to diagram) works with pictures and music. This side (point to diagram) works with words. In most of our lessons we work with words, right? Yeah?” (Tap diagram with pen. Wait for affirmative response before continuing).  

“When we only work with the left brain, the right brain gets bored, it gets fed up (mime being bored to ensure understanding and in an attempt to generate humour), it’s got nothing to do...”  

“So straight away we’re having a hard time. Only half of our brain is working and the other half is distracting us by thinking about...oh I don’t know...what we’re going to have for dinner that night...what’s on TV later...or maybe it starts playing that really annoyingly catchy tune that we heard on the radio this morning...Right? Does this sound familiar?” (Wait for affirmative before continuing).  

“So what’s going to happen. Well, chances are you’re going to get a’re going to go...”Ahhh...this is too hard...I CAN’T DO IT!!! Right?”  

“OK so...we need to get this part of the brain working for us (point to diagram)...and that way we’ll be using our whole have the music playing...and we’re going to use help us...So that’s the first thing we can do to help our brain.”  

Under 1) Write: ‘i) Use whole brain.  


“Who goes to the gym? (Wait for response...if nobody you’ll have to explain this instead). “So what’s the first thing you do? (You're looking for warm up exercises)  “Right...we warm up first...What happens if we don’t?” (You’re looking for cramps or something similar to do with causing yourself pain/injury).

“Yeah, exactly...OK now let’s say we do some weight lifting how do we do this?” (You’re looking for reps and sets with breaks in between).

“So we need to rest in between...we need to relax...”

“The brain is the same...Before we start using it we need to be relaxed, to let all our stresses and worries and tensions just float away...and after we’ve been working for a while we need to relax again...So this is the second thing we can do to help our brains.”    

Under 1) write ii) ‘Relax.  

“The easiest way to relax is through breathing...yes, just simply’s how:  

I want you to breath for 10 cycles of in....and....out...through your nose (tap nose)...let all thoughts just disappear...we’re thinking only of our breathing...we’re just letting it happen naturally for 10 in/out cycles...OK? (Wait for response). Here we go then.”  

Zen Breathing exercise (derived from Schuster and Gritton).  

Jigsaw Analogy

“As I said before we’re going to work on ways to help us understand texts. We’re going to use pictures...drawings to help us. I’ll tell you why.

Who knows what a ‘jigsaw puzzle’ is?”

“So you have a box, with a picture on the front and you have your pieces. What happens if I take the picture away? Does it get easier or harder?" (Wait for response. When they say ‘harder’ mime not having heard. When they repeat get them to repeat again in unison. This point is vital.)

“OK. Language is the same. We need to look at the whole picture before we look at the pieces. So the way to do this is to make pictures in our minds. To help our minds make pictures, we’re going to do some drawings.”  

So what did you think? How did it go? Let me & others know at the Efl Alt Message Board!

Links to lessons utilising some or all of these techniques:

A Winter´s Tale  Beastie Boys  The Beach  The Phantom Hairstyle   Violence in Movies   

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