To massage or not to massage

May 4, 2011 § 3 Comments

Okay, what’s a massage got to do with teaching English? I actually use it to teach my Young Learners. I know, it sounds strange but it seems to turn into one of my kids favourites.

Last week I was teaching my group of 7-8 year old beginners weather vocabulary. I prepared some flashcards, memory cards and a weather clock, but still wasn’t happy with the lot. Something was missing to make it really memorable. So I decided to try a massage with them, something I used to do a lot while working as a drama teacher.

So how does it work? Quite easy, the children chose a partner. Each pair got a pillow and one of them lay down and hopefully relaxed, the other ones sat next to their partners facing me so that they could follow my instructions (and I could get eye contact with them in case they would get carried away). Then I put a pillow on my knees and demonstrated all movements while talking about weather…

First rub your hands, so they are really warm, then put them flat with little pressure on the back of your partner – the sun is shining. Then first with one hand then with both hands stroke carefully over your partners back – it’s a bit windy. The wind gets stronger – put a bit more pressure and move your hands a bit faster over the back. The next step was tipping with two fingers on the back – it starts raining. Then do that faster, use more fingers till you run with all fingers over the back – it’s raining more. Then start moving your hands in circles and waves fast over the back – it’s stormy. Draw a lightning on the back with the side of your hand, then with the hands formed into cups pat on the back – you can hear thunder. Then you reverse the whole till you get back to the sunshine.

Okay, now the tricky question, what are you going to do when you have an odd number of children? Here it is still not a problem when I do the massage to a child, but what if you aren’t allowed to touch the children? This was the discussion we had this evening in the staffroom when I told my colleagues about the massage.

The easiest way would be to take it in turns, but it always leaves one child out. Another way is to do it as a circle massage with the children sitting in a circle and massaging the child in front of them. Not as relaxing, but better than getting yourself into trouble…

By the way, my kids loved it so much that we had to do it again at the end of the class and they asked for it today right at the beginning of the lesson. It might turn into a routine.


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§ 3 Responses to To massage or not to massage

  • James Taylor says:

    Welcome to the ELT blogosphere. Even though (or maybe because!) the subject matter is far removed from my own area of ELT, I really enjoyed your post. I am always impressed when teachers are able to bring in ideas from other areas and integrate them successfully into their lessons. Great job!

    If you ever want to do a guest post on my blog, maybe as a way of introducing your blog to others, just drop me a line, I’d love to help out!

  • aigel says:

    Thanks James, I’ve been pondering quite a while if I should start blogging, and what about. I hope you’ll find the posts interesting even though they are not related to your field of teaching.

  • بنت من هل بنات says:

    That is a really interesting technique! Can’t wait to officially get into the classroom myself and experiment with some of the creative ideas I’ve learned along the way!
    Thanks for sharing!

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