Here’s a post by Sahar Salha in Gaza and Alex Guzik in Russia, which shows the wonderful way that teachers are working together to produce very effective classes for children through the Hands Up Project.
Sahar: It’s a long time that me and Alex are working as a team. We agree on what we are going to do during our online sessions. Alex always leads the session, giving instructions, asking questions, and answering the girls’ questions. And I’m on the ground facilitating the session and monitoring the class during the activities.
Alex: This is a great opportunity to be able to discuss what we can do in our online session. Sahar helps me a lot when choosing topics for sessions and types of activities we do with the girls. In one of our conversations we mentioned visualisation as a possible activity for one of the following sessions.
Some background from Alex
Visualisation (or Guided Visualisation) is a tool I quite like to use with my classes. Getting children to close their eyes and dive into the jungles of their imagination makes a big difference to whatever is happening later in this class.
The advantages of Visualisations might be:
- The learners process the language and transform it into images. This promotes thinking in L2, which is, arguably, the main purpose in language teaching and learning
- By listening to nice music, learners relax and their thinking process is not disturbed by the worries of the day.
- It also gives a great opportunity to practice
Alex: This was the first time we used visualisation in our online session. It was a risk, for the connection is not always reliable, the voice might come in bits and pieces with some delays, and the ‘right’ atmosphere is a bit more difficult to create than with face-to-face classes.
We certainly struck it lucky with the connection last time. The girls looked excited when they heard my ’Sit comfortably and close your eyes’. And with their teacher, Sahar, in the classroom everything went smoothly.
Sahar: During this session, Alex gave clear instructions; e.g close your eyes, imagine that you are in a village ,walking ,eating …..etc with background music ,but I was watching the girls, how relaxed they were, how quiet the atmosphere in the class was.
When the music stopped and the girls returned to the real world in the class, I liked how Alex encouraged the girls to talk to their partners about their imaginative villages. Then they followed this up by telling Alex about their villages. The most interesting thing was that the situation was completely spontaneous. I liked the way the girls expressed their imaginative world using simple innocent words and sentences which encouraged them to speak irrespective of grammatical mistakes.
Alex: I was amazed by the girls’ great imagination! And this time it seemed much easier for them to express their ideas and they felt much more confident speaking. Thanks to Sahar’s hard work!
Sahar and Alex, 19th April 2017