These boots were made for presentin’ | A presentation activity

Inner shoes.png

I designed this creative visualisation activity on a project where it was ultimately not used and I’ve got permission to share it here. It could potentially be included in a workshop on presentation skills or as a stand-alone activity run in a team huddle or meeting.

Have you ever used creative visualisation? What sort of visual imagery do you incorporate?


Overview

Creative visualisation may help presenters manage their nerves through calming visual imagery, a technique borrowed from acting. This particular activity also uses shoes as metaphors for qualities associated with confident presenters. The technique can be used to calm nerves before a presentation. It puts presenters in a positive mind frame by focusing the inner voice on something productive instead of negative self-talk.

The handout offers a range of visualisation prompts because different people have different sources of anxiety and they’ll need to find a visualisation that works for them. Each visualisation begins with putting on a pair of ‘inner’ shoes and ends with a destination or goal that represents success.

Objective

  • Use creative visualisation as a way of managing nerves just before a presentation.

Procedure

  • Pair off participants and ask them to look at the shoes in the handout and suggest how wearing these different types of shoes might make them feel.
  • Point out to participants that wearing ‘inner’ shoes could potentially boost their confidence in a presentation.
  • Get them to discuss the sorts of situations they would want to wear these inner shoes in. For example, you are nervous and you feel really cold and stiff at the start of a presentation at an industry meet. Imagining yourself in football cleats might help you kick your presentation off with some energy. Some possible responses are given below.
  • Ask participants to recall a presentation where they experienced some nervousness. Get them to close their eyes and talk them through the following creating visualisation:

Your presentation starts in 5 minutes. Your mind is racing and you can’t focus because you are thinking about a million things. You reach out grab on a pair of your inner flip-flops and put them on. Feel the tension melt away from your body. Relax your shoulders. Take deep breaths. When you feel your breathing starting to slow, let your hands hang loose by your side. You’re walking on a soft sandy beach. Feel the sand between your toes. You hear waves in the distance. You look up and see a calm blue sea stretching out in front of you. As the tide goes out, you walk towards the rising sun on the horizon.

  • Have participants work in pairs to look through the other visualisation prompts in the toolkit and choose one that they find useful. Participants then practise the creative visualisation prompt with their partners. Encourage them to add details that make the visualisation feel more real.

Debrief

  • Use the following questions to debrief the activity:
    • Why is this kind of visualisation useful when you’re nervous?
    • Our inner voices sometimes trigger nervousness through negative self-talk. How does the visualisation of ‘inner’ shoes help with this?
    • Why does each visualisation end with a destination or a goal?

Suggested responses 

  1. Flip-flops: relaxed, casual, calm
  2. Sneakers: comfortable, easy-going
  3. Rain boots/wellingtons: persistent, determined
  4. Cowboy boots: self-assured, poised, strong
  5. Football/soccer cleats: dynamic, active, energetic
  6. Hiking boots: adventurous, daring

Download the handout from the following link ⬇️

Image attribution: Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Pseudo-design titles | An activity for pre-sessional students

title.png

This quick activity uses Pseudo-design titles, a website that lampoons the often florid and bombastic job titles people have in the UX/design industry. It could be used with learners on a pre-sessional course who are heading into a design/technology focused degree or  more generally with business learners. It’s probably best for an upper-intermediate or advanced group because there’s lots of high-level vocabulary and tongue-in-cheek expressions.


  • Ask learners to work in pairs to discuss the designations or job titles they would like to have when they start working.
  • Get learners to access designtitles.com on their phones. The site randomly generates job titles so everyone’s likely to get a different title.
  • Learners work in groups to discuss what these job titles imply and how this might be different from the sort of work they might actually do. For example, ‘an analyst of archetypal visuals’ sounds like a role that involves innovative work but might in fact be someone who selects stock visuals from an existing image bank.  A ‘multidisciplinary convincer of futuristic predictions’ could be a sales and marketing person.
  • Lead the learners in a discussion about why people try to bolster their ‘value proposition’ with exotic job titles and the impact of this. Ask learners to identify other ways of enhancing their value to prospective employees or within a job.

I have to confess that not all of the titles make sense but some of them are hilarious. Which one of these would you want to have for yourself? Have you come across similar job titles in ELT?

  • Chief Assassin of Colours
  • Neural Arranger of Visualization
  • Whiteboarder of Quintessential States and Post-Human Practices
  • Arbitrator of Design
  • Cognitive Designer of Theoretical Ideas
  • Stimulist for Accessibility
  • Explorer for Heuristic Best Practices
  • User State Mentor

The image in this post is sourced from https://designtitles.com/ and I found out about the site from a tweet by Ajay Pangarkar (@bizlearningdude).

 

Translingual exit tickets | A translanguaging task

translingual exit ticket.png

Here’s my last offering from this series on translanguaging. It’s adapted from an activity called Head Sentences from Deller and Rinvolucri’s Using the Mother Tongue (2007). It’s a great way to end a lesson. The example I’ve included is meant for teacher training but it could be adapted to any sort of teaching or training context.

For more information on translanguaging, read the first post in this series.

————————————————

Objectives

  • Reflect on learning from a lesson/session
  • Do some informal action planning
  • Maximise communicative potential through translanguaging.

Materials

  • Prepare some sentence stems on a slide or write them up on the board. Alternatively, you could give out slips of paper with the stems.

Procedure

  • Ask participants to complete these sentence stems in L1 by reflecting on what they’d learnt in the session and what they’d like to apply with their own learners. They shouldn’t try to change these stems into L1 and the sentences they come up with should be in a mix of English and L1.

I found … useful because …

I’m not sure about …

I will try …

I hope …

  • Get participants to share in groups and report back on common points or interesting ideas. Depending on your participant profile, you could do this in L1, English or both.
  • For further language work, get participants to write a common reflection item on the board in a mix of English and L1 and help them convert the sentence into a wholly English sentence.

Reflections

Here are mine:

I found translanguaging useful because it reflects natural language use across communities in India and may help build a stronger affective connection with the language being taught.

I’m not sure about its effectiveness and I will need to apply it over a sustained period of time to explore its impact and limitations. 

I will try to incorporate more translingual reflective activities like this one to make reflection more meaningful particularly for students and teachers with a lower proficiency in English. 

I hope to share more translingual activities and perhaps compile them into an ebook. 

I hope you enjoyed this series of activities. If you come across any examples of translingual texts or come up with your own translanguaging activities, do share them with me.

References

  • Deller, S. & Rinvolucri, M. (2007) Using the Mother Tongue. Viva.

Image attribution: ‘< exit’ by seb joguet | Flickr |CC BY-NC 2.0

Reading race | A translingual task

Translanguaging reading race.png

This task is inspired by Listen and Find, an activity from Deller and Rinvolucri’s Using the Mother Tongue (2007). A lot of Indian teachers like many of their peers around the world are constrained in terms of what they can do in the classroom because they need to follow textbooks. This simple task offers a translingual tweak to exploring vocabulary within existing textbook passages. I’ve used an online text on Internet safety for kids as an example but you could use any level-appropriate text.

For more information on translanguaging, read the first post in this series.


Objectives

  • Introduce or review vocabulary within a text
  • Encourage learners to use their home language to understand lexis in English
  • Maximise communicative potential through translanguaging.

Materials 

  • Select an English text that the learners can access either as a print-out or in their textbooks. With older learners, try Whatsapping short texts or infographics and having them do the activity using their phones.
  • Choose lexical items from this text and and come up with a list of translations in the learners’ home languages. Put these on a slide as animated bullets or on stick-ups or by writing them on the board before the lesson and hiding them with a flipchart.

Warm-up

  • Start with an appropriate discussion question to lead into the topic of the text. This can be done in the learners’ home language and using a combination of languages based on their level.

Translanguaging task 

  • Ask learners to keep the text open in front of them and have a pencil handy.
  • Display the first word in the learners’ home languages. Ask them to find the word in the text as quickly as possible and underline it.
  • When they’ve finished underlining the word, they must say ‘bingo’ and raise their hand.
  • Explore meaning, pronunciation and/or form before proceeding to the next lexical item.

An example

I ran this activity recently with this text with words in Kannada, Hindi and Marathi.

Translanguaging text.jpg
Source: http://www.internetchildsafeguard.com/

Words for the reading race (Kannada / Hindi / Marathi)

A. ಪೋಷಕರು / माता-पिता / पालक

B. ಅಡ್ಡಹೆಸರು / उपनाम / टोपणनाव

C. ನಯವಾದ  / भद्र / विनम्र

D. ಮಾಹಿತಿ / जानकारी / माहिती

Answers

A. Parents

B. Nickname

C. Polite

D. Information

You can then focus on meaning by contrasting similarities or differences. For example, in Kannada, ಪೋಷಕರು means parents but it also means guardians whereas the word guardian implies something different in English.

Extension task

  • Give the learners an interesting question to discuss based on the text. Ask them to talk in their home language but using the English words they found and explored in the reading race.

References

  • Deller, S. & Rinvolucri, M. (2007) Using the Mother Tongue. Viva.

Parallel stories | A translanguaging task

Translanguaging Pratham books.png

Here’s the next activity in my translanguaging series. It’s designed to be used with a multilingual group of learners but you could also adapt it for a monolingual group. The task uses extracts in different languages from a story calledI am not afraid’ by Mini Shrinivasan from Pratham Books’ Storyweaver collection. I’ve included a selection of eight languages from Southern and Western India. However, the Storyweaver site has this particular story in 42 languages including a number of European and Asian languages so you should be able to easily adapt it for your context.

On the face of it, this is an activity for younger learners who are beginning to learn English but I think it could be used with older beginners as well.

For more information on translanguaging, read the first post in this series.


Objectives

  • Explore story-specific vocabulary and structures based on learner needs
  • Develop learners’ storytelling abilities in both their home language and English
  • Maximise communicative potential through translanguaging.

Materials 

  • I ran this task off slides using a projector but you could also distribute printouts in  classic information-gap style. The handout includes the following languages: Gujarati (p.1), Hindi (p.2), Kannada (p.3), Konkani (p.4), Marathi (p.5), Tamil (p.6), Telugu (p.7), Urdu (p.8), English (p.9).
  • Download the English version of the book from this link. On this site, you’ll also see a hyperlink that says ’51 versions available in 42 languages’ which can be used to download translations.

Warm-up

  • If you’re working with young learners, you could ask if they are afraid of the dark and why.
  • If you’re working with relatively older learners, get them to brainstorm things they’ll see at night when it’s dark.

Translanguaging task

  • Group learners so you have students with different home languages seated together.
  • Ask learners to tell you what their home languages are by getting them to raise their hands. Do this step only if you want to make sure everyone knows what language they are going to be focusing on in this task.
  • Ask everyone put their heads on the table or turn away from the screen.
  • Bring up the extracts from ‘I am not afraid’, one language at a time asking learners to raise their heads and silently read what’s written. For example, “Kannada speakers, please look at the screen and read. Now put your head down. Konkani speakers etc.” Don’t let them write anything.
  • When you’ve displayed all the extracts, ask learners to raise their heads and work together to figure out what was written under the picture. Ask them to give you a sentence or a couple of sentences in English.
  • Take whole class feedback by writing each group’s sentences on the board.
  • Prompt error correction right away or after displaying Mini Shrinivasan’s original English version (page 9 of the handout) and getting everyone to compare the learner generated sentences to the original text.
  • You may want to explore a range of language areas based on errors learners are making: vocabulary (adjectives, intensifiers, indefinite pronouns) | grammar: simple questions, ‘there is/are’, ‘it is’.
  • Now ask learners to discuss what happens next in the story in their home languages.
  • After learners have decided on a sentence or a couple of sentences that describe what happens next, get them to convert all the nouns to English ones. Then encourage them to replace the function words and change the word order where necessary.
  • Take whole class feedback by writing each group’s sentences on the board.
  • Display page 10 of the handout and ask learners to see how similar or different their sentences were and provide further language feedback.

Extension task 

  • Ask learners to work in pairs or groups to co-create and narrate a story using these two pages from “I’m not afraid” as a story starter. They can use their home languages to discuss the story but must try to make sure that most of the nouns are in English when they report back to the whole class. You can use the following questions as prompts:
    • Who is this girl?
    • Where is she?
    • Where is she going?
    • How does she feel?
    • What happens next?
    • What happens at the end of the story?

Task frame

  • This task type can be replicated with any story on Storyweaver and with any language that’s available on that platform:
    • Choose an interesting page from one of the Storyweaver books. It should be one that makes learners curious.
    • Find the translations of the story that you’d like your students to work with. These are always listed on the book’s ‘homepage’.
    • Prepare printouts or put these on slides. Don’t forget to acknowledge Pratham Books which licences all the stories and illustrations under Creative Commons. Also credit authors, illustrators and translators.
    • Run the activity as an information gap.
    • Allow students to use multiple languages to communicate.
    • Focus on errors, emerging language needs, vocabulary or contrastive analysis.
    • End with some translingual storytelling.

Here’s the whole book in English with Rayika Sen’s gorgeous illustrations.

https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/show-in-iframe/959-i-am-not-afraid?iframe=true

The Storyweaver site is ostensibly for children and grades stories according to their language level – ‘I am not afraid’ is level 1. I’m not completely sure how this level system works. There are books with more difficult lexis (level 3) and I’ve used some of these very successfully with adult learners although those activities didn’t involve translanguaging. I’ll share one soon.

Image attribution for the image used at the beginning of this post: Pratham Books CC BY 4.0 |  Illustrator: Rayika Sen 

Save your ಮಕ್ಕಳು 🧒👦🏽👧 | A translanguaging task

Translanguaging kannada.png

I’ve only road-tested this activity once with a group of teachers I recently trained but I think it will work well with learners as well. Strictly speaking, the text I’ve used for this task doesn’t really mix languages. But I think interactions within the task offer lots of opportunities for translanguaging. What I like about this text is its versatility. It can be used with a range of Indian learners as well as multilingual groups – particularly in Southern India. The sign repeats similar (but not the same!) messages in Kannada, English, Tamil, Hindi, Urdu and Telugu. At a recent workshop I conducted for teachers, I did this as a Kannada-English translanguaging task.

For more information on translanguaging, read the first post in this series.


Objectives

  • Introduce and practise the chunk “keep your (noun) + (adjective)”
  • Encourage students to explore meaning more deeply in English and their home language
  • Maximise communicative potential through translanguaging.

Materials 

  • Display the Instagram post or get learners to access it on their own devices.

Warm-up

  • Show learners the picture and ask them to discuss the following questions:
    1. Where is this sign? (NB: It’s on a shopfront on Commercial Street in Bangalore)
    2. Who is the sign meant for? Why is it in so many languages?
    3. Who has put up the sign?
    4. Why have they put it up? What do you think has happened on Commercial Street?

These questions are adapted from ones suggested by Helen Carnello from St. Mary Kanarpady at the workshop. 

Translanguaging task 

  • Ask learners to look at the English sign “Safe your children” and find any mistakes. They’re likely to tell you that there’s a spelling mistake. Write the corrected sentence on the board “Save your children.”
  • Now get learners to focus on the Kannada sign “ಮಕ್ಕಳನ್ನು ಉಳಿಸಿ” (makkaḷannu uḷisi) and ask them if they think there’s a difference between the English and Kannada signs. Elicit that the Kannada sign actually says “Save children or Save the children”. Get learners to discuss the difference in meaning in English between “save your children” and “save the children” and whether this difference is important in Kannada – would they want to start the sentence with ನಿಮ್ಮ (nimma)? For beginners, it might be useful to explore the position of the verb in Kannada (last) vs. English (first). 
  • Link back to what learners shared about why the sign has been put up in this busy street in Bangalore. Ask them if “ಮಕ್ಕಳನ್ನು ಉಳಿಸಿ” (makkaḷannu uḷisi) makes sense in this context. Elicit that “ಉಳಿಸಿ” (uḷisi) means helping someone who is in immediate danger and may not be correct in this context. Ask learners to help you with a verb in Kannada that conveys the meaning better (perhaps ರಕ್ಷಿಸಿ or ಕಾಪಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಿ).*
  • Have learners revisit the English sign. Suggest that “save” and “ಉಳಿಸಿ” (uḷisi) have a similar meaning and don’t make sense in this context. Get them to notice the sentence at the bottom in English “As a parent, safeguard your children”. Elicit that this sounds very formal and somewhat unnatural.  Get learners to use ಕಾಪಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಿ (kāpāḍikoḷḷi) or similar to rephrase the English sign. Remind learners that the verb in English doesn’t come last unlike Kannada and elicit “Keep your children safe”.
  • Write this sentence on the board and highlight this lexical chunk: keep your + noun + adjective
  • Get learners to work in groups to create a mindmap with “keep your” at the centre and ask them to brainstorm other combinations such keep your classroom clean etc. Get learners to do a gallery walk and collect useful phrases from other groups.
  • Ask learners to practise saying the phrases to each other prefixing them with ‘please’.

*Many thanks to Archana Sanvi from Silas Int. School for giving us a great explanation of the meaning of the Kannada text at the workshop.

Extension task 

  • Get learners to create a bilingual Kannada-English poster for their school/city/community that provides some advice or warnings.
  • Alternatively, ask them to work in pairs to come up with backstories for one of the phrases they brainstormed. For example, “keep your classroom clean” – why did the teacher have to say this to his/her students? What had happened? Students can do some translanguaging using Kannada, English or any other home language. Encourage them to use content words in English – you can support them by putting up content words in English on the board

Task frame

  • Marek left a comment on one of my other translanguaging posts that he could probably adapt some of the ideas for his teaching context in Flanders where there’s a lot of translanguaging. I realised then that it might worthwhile including a note on the structure of the task so it can be repurposed for other texts, contexts and languages. At the moment, it all looks very Indian.
  • Here’s the frame or structure of this task.
    • Find a bilingual or multilingual authentic text where there are some differences in meaning between ostensibly similar messages in different languages.
    • Get learners to understand the L2 text.
    • Have them explore the meaning of the L1 text.
    • Contrast the meaning of the two texts and make changes to the L2/L1 message where appropriate.
    • Draw out any useful vocabulary, structures or chunks from the L2 text and have students explore this.
    • Get learners to do a productive follow-up activity that allows them to use both L1 and L2 flexibly.

Translanguaging and the teacher

I think teachers are sometimes apprehensive about multilingual approaches when they can’t speak their students’ home languages. I don’t speak Kannada but when I ran this activity last week, participants spoke in Kannada for at least 50% of the time and the task focused on exploring meaning and form in Kannada and I wasn’t at sea. The goal here is to facilitate translanguaging and home language use as a way of enabling students to learn English but that doesn’t necessarily mean that teacher needs to speak in L1 or understand its grammar and rules.

Image attribution

  1. Brigade Road by Charles Haynes | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  2. The Instagram image was posted by @mumbaipaused on May 26, 2018: https://www.instagram.com/p/BjOXUnAlG9S/

Chicken Vada-Pav | A translanguaging task

Translanguaging Marathi.png

Here’s another translanguaging task based on a translingual text from a poster advertising the ubiquitous vada-pav or Bombay burger. Vada-pavs generally have a fried potato filling but this one unusually has chicken. The text says “Garam-Spicy Chicken Vada-Pav” in the Devanagari script and then repeats the words Chicken Vada-Pav in the Roman script. The Indian words are presumably in Marathi but are intelligible to Hindi speakers.

For more information on translanguaging, read the first post in this series.


View this post on Instagram

We need more of these and Goan sausage pav.

A post shared by Mumbai Paused (@mumbaipaused) on

Objectives

  • Review and recycle adjectives related to food
  • Raise awareness of the phonemic variation between /v/, /w/ and /ʋ/
  • Maximise communicative potential through translanguaging.

Materials 

  • Display the Instagram post or get learners to access it on their own devices.

Warm-up

  • Ask learners to talk about their favourite street food with their partners.
  • Display the Instagram post and ask learners to discuss if there’s anything unusual about this street food. Would they want to try it?

Translanguaging task

  • Get learners to identify all the English words (spicy and chicken).
  • Ask them to translate the other words into English so the text becomes wholly English (Elicit “Hot and spicy chicken burger/sandwich”).
  • Ask them to discuss the following questions in their home language and/or English:
  1. In the original Marathi text, there’s no ‘and’ between the adjectives, why did we add ‘and’ in English?
  2. Why didn’t we do a literal translation of vada-pav (fritter-bread/roll)? Why is burger/sandwich a better way of describing the dish in English?
  • Get learners to work with गरम-Spicy and come up with alternatives to ‘spicy’ for different translingual combinations.
  • Have them now convert these into wholly English combinations inserting an ‘and’ between the adjectives (hot and delicious, hot and sour etc..
  • Now focus on ‘chicken’ and ask learners to brainstorm other adjectives that could modify vada-pav/burger (vegetable, potato, lentil etc.).
  • Lastly, get them to notice the spelling of pav (paw) in the Roman script at the bottom of the poster. Ask them to consider how the word is spelled phonetically in Marathi and how best to write this in English (vada or wada | pav, paw or pao)? There may be some variations here in how they say this in their home language. It might also be useful to point out the mouth positioning for /v/, /w/ and the Marathi phoneme /ʋ/ in vada-pav vs. wada-pao. Interestingly, the word ‘pav’ has come to Marathi from the Portuguese ‘pão’ via Konkani.

Extension task 

  • Get learners to work in groups to make posters advertising their own favourite street food. They can use a combination of scripts and languages.

 

I tried this activity with some teachers recently. It was fairly quick and they had a lot of fun with it.

Image attribution: 

  1. The vada pav image is sourced from Garrett Ziegler | Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  2. The Instagram image was posted by @mumbaipaused on Oct 2, 2018: https://www.instagram.com/p/BobrJlNFTZ2/?