Do you remember yourself when in kindergarten? Do you remember your itchy feet when you were asked to sit still?
Human beings start their journey to knowledge through movement and imitation. Moving our body anchors the language and enhances our memory through associations with physical movement.
If only we could perceive teaching the English language as a holistic process, it could definitely be less painful and tedious and far more intriguing for our learners.
Text by: Glykeria Karydi
Unfortunately, the process of teaching is usually put in a fast forward mode focusing mainly on crafts and activities during which the sitting position is a prerequisite. Language learning is a matter of transforming perceptions into conceptions and this gradually assists the young learner to establish communication in the targeted language.
This is how ‘’Yoglish’’ was conceived and designed.
The Yoglish approach is divided into three parts. The first part helps students to empty their minds through guided imagery and breathing techniques. Breath is the foundation of speech and language development. It has been proven that when the body and the mind are in a relaxed state, then there is a better potential for absorbing information and eventually learning.
MAIN BODY – BODY POSES
The second part is the main body of the lesson which actually adopts asanas (yoga poses) based on the subject we deal with. Students use their bodies to imitate animals, nature, natural phenomena, seasons, and even abstract concepts. Imagination is a key point of the whole process while at the same time repetition of certain words, expressions, and linguistic structures are naturally embedded and assimilated. A great variety of words and language forms offer students the chance to indirectly expand their vocabulary bank with emphasis placed on action, dynamic and experiential words (notice, feel, sense…). Vocabulary development, literacy, and listening skills are embedded along with the building of receptive and expressive language.
The yoga poses are closely connected with numerous activities such as:
Symbolic play skills
Students become the ‘’words ‘’ they are taught in the first place and gradually take part in the narration of the story by initially adopting the corresponding pose and then saying the ‘’highlighted’’ words along with the pose. As levels change from pre-school to elementary, students are capable to narrate longer parts of the story by themselves and communicate thoughts and emotions.
Students sit on the ground or lie down if possible and relax. Relaxation after a period of teaching is of vital importance to all students. The last part is especially beneficial for students with ADHD, Autism, neuromuscular impairments, and various learning difficulties, or memory deficits.
At this point, we discuss our feelings and the key thought of the lesson that may have to do with gratitude, kindness, friendship…
- Language acquisition
- Vocabulary development
- Play skills
- Social skills
- Cooperative play
- Control of the bodies
- Learn to share space as well as identify their personal space
- Understanding of abstract concepts
- Development of imagination and mimicking practices
The world around us changes and so do children. Teaching English ought not to be a specific dish served to young learners at a specific time and with specific results.
And remember our best teaching happens when we forget to teach the curriculum and remember to teach children.