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Teaching Tips 116

Quick on the draw!
Left out!
You can't blame the youth....

drawing Quick on the

Being able to draw effectively on the board can help enormously in conveying meaning. If you are like me, attempts to draw the simplest of things draws sniggers from the students, what is crystal clear to me can be completely mystifying to them. A solution to this is the excellent book '1000+ Pictures For Teacher's To Copy' by Andrew Wright. Andrew gives a step-by-step approach to drawing the simplest of things from stationary objects to people in movement. Very easy & straightforward.

The reason I mention this is that I came across some similar pages on the internet, at the Guardian Online site, which gives visual instructions on how to draw different animals. This is very similar to what Andrew does in his book. Have a look at the following page & the ways of drawing the different animals.,,2147891,00.html

This is useful in two ways. The first is that you can practise & be able to draw these in your lessons, as well as giving you an idea on the basic structure of drawing different things.

The second is to use the material in class for a speaking activity. Give out a page of how to draw an animal to each student or pair, making sure all have different animals. They practise drawing the animals & then mingle & teach each other how to draw their animal. They'll be using
language to describe -'You need to start with..', 'Now add..', 'Draw a circle....' etc. Have a look with them at the language they will need before the info exchange. You could ask them not to say the animal as they describe & as the animal comes together, the drawer guesses the animal. Or they could see the animal they are about to draw to help them.

So not only do they get to use English, they also get to learn how to draw the different animals. This is the best kind of activity, where the students get to learn something at the same time as practising English. OK, you might say that it's not a particularly useful skill, drawing animals, but the enjoyment factor is enough to justify this. Try it out.

To get hold of Andrew Wright's's book '1000+ Pictures For Teacher's To Copy Revised Edition'

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Left out

What have Pat Bonny, Paul Klee, Marilyn Monroe, Oprah Winfrey, Jack the Ripper, Paul McCartney, Nicole Kidman, Bill Clinton got in common?

Yes, they were/are all lefthanded. Not particularly startling you might think but this week we are going to use lefthandedness in some lesson ideas to coincide with Lefthanded Day, which is celebrated on August 13th. Did you know that 10% of the general population is lefthanded, although this is reduced to 0% in Japan due to the cultural stigma that has been associated with lefthandedness.

Very recently, scientists claim to have found the lefthanded gene:
Might well make an interesting article to use in class in addtion to or in place of the article that follows.

On 13th August it's Lefthanded Day so here are some ideas & materials to use in class:

Here is a procedure for part of a lesson you might like to use:

1. Put the famous people above on the board & get the students in pairs to come up with possible links.

2. Introduce the idea of Lefthanded Day. (Obviously find out if there are any lefthanded students in the class beforehand & explain there is lesson coming up on it.)
As a bit of fun, tell the students that they should write with the other hand for the remainder of the lesson.

3. Ask if the students do anything better with their left rather than with their right hands - if they are righthanded, of course. Give out the quiz to do individually & then discuss the answers.

From The Left-Handers Club:


We all, of course, know in which hand we hold a pen, but how far does this bias extend throughout your body? Are you left-eared? Left eyed? Here is a simple test you can apply to yourself.

1. Imagine the centre of your back is itching. Which hand do you scratch it with?
2. Interlock your fingers. Which thumb is uppermost?
3. Imagine you are applauding. Start clapping your hands. Which hand is uppermost?
4. Wink at an imaginary friend straight in front of you. Which eye does the winking?
5. Put your hands behind your back, one holding the other. Which hand is doing the holding?
6. Someone in front of you is shouting but you cannot hear the words. Cup your ear to hear better. Which ear do you cup?
7. Count to three on your fingers, using the forefinger of the other hand. Which forefinger do you use?
8. Tilt your head over on to one shoulder. Which shoulder does it touch?
9. Fixate a small distant object with your eyes and point directly at it with your forefinger. Now close one eye. Now change eyes. Which eye was open when the fingertip remained in line with the small object? (When the other eye, the non-dominant one, is open and the dominant eye is closed, the finger will appear to move to one side of the object.)
10. Fold your arms. Which forearm is uppermost?

If you have always considered yourself to be right or left-handed you will probably now have discovered that your body is less than total in its devotion to its favoured side. If you are right-handed the chances are that you were not able to be 'right' 10 times.

4. Tell the students some interesting facts about lefthanders:

From The Left-Handers Club:

Most left-handers draw figures facing to the right
There is a high tendency in twins for one to be left-handed
Stuttering and dyslexia occur more often in left-handers (particularly if they are forced to change their writing hand as a child, like King of England George VI).
Left-handers adjust more readily to seeing underwater.
Left-handers excel particularly in tennis, baseball, swimming and fencing
Left-handers usually reach puberty 4 to 5 months after right-handers
4 of the 5 original designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed
1 in 4 Apollo astronauts were left-handed - 250% more than the normal level.
Left-handers are generally more intelligent, better looking, imaginative and multi-talented than right handers ( based on discussions among members of the Left-Handers Club! :)

5. Students in pairs brainstorm difficulties that lefthanded people might come up against in daily life eg. Desks, machines etc.. Get them to collate a list. Feedback with one list on the board - get a student up to the board to do this, reminding her/him to use the other hand to write with!

6. Reading - below is a rather old article, but still useful.
a) Put the title on the board & get the students to predict whylefthanders still feel left out - collate the ideas on the board.
b) Students skim the article to see if any of their ideas from the prediction or the problems mentioned earlier are mentioned. Alternatively, cut up the article into paragraphs & students sequence it as logically as they can, given the genre, & then discuss why they made their decissions, looking at the cohesive features of the text.
c) A more detailed comprehension task, for lower levels?

7. Language focus - pick up on some relevant language to your group in the text, a noticing task & then clarification & practiise. Don't forget the written record.

8. Response to the text - discussion - have they heard of lefthanders being discriminated against eg. in Spain I have heard in the past of school students having their left hand tied behind their backs so they had to use the right. This could lead on to a discussion of other discriminations in society & why they might exist.

Why left-handers still feel left out

Guardian, Thursday June 6, 2002

Over the centuries they have been beaten on the knuckles, locked up, ridiculed and prevented from reproducing in case they spawned freaks.

Now left-handers are facing another affront. A psychology professor told the Guardian Hay festival yesterday that society will never stop being biologically and culturally dominated by right-handers at the psychological expense of those who hold their pencil in their left hand.

Chris McManus, a professor of psychology and medical education at University College London, trawled thousands of years of the history of cells and culture - from "left-handed" amino acids, to stone age tool-making practices and Giotto frescos - and found that "right equals good and left equals bad" in common perception.

In his book Right Hand, Left Hand, he noted how expres sions for the word "left" had become terms of abuse in every culture - something that New Labour might already be aware of.

"Our society is organised according to right-handers. Left-handers are the last of the great neglected minorities," said Prof McManus, who is a right-hander with a left-handed mother and daughter.

In Britain around 13% of men and around 11% of women are left-handed, compared with 3% before 1910. Left-handedness coincides with high incidences of genius and creativity, and also autism and dyslexia.

"The one thing that will change the suffering of left-handers is to get engineers to see that for 10% of users, their designs are still back to front. Scissors, microwave doors, power saws and water gauges on the side of kettles are a constant reminder. Psychologically, left-handers still claim to have problems. The social consequences are immense."

Here are some links on lefthandedness to follow up for more material & classroom ideas:
The Left-Handers Club
Wikipedia page on left-handedness, including a list of famous left-handed people.
The Lefthanded Universe.
For righthanded people learning to write with their left hands.
Lefthanded Liberation Society

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You can't blame
the youth....

On 12th August it is International Youth Day, 'the most important day for youth at the United Nations'.

International Youth Day at the United Nations site:
Youth section at the UN site:

A few things to do with this:

Vocab: youth, young, youngster, youthful, young blood, adolescence, teenager, in her teens, school days, young adult, age of consent, come of age, delinquent, youth hostel, youth club.....

Discussions: a few topics from the UN page - Education, Employment, Hunger and poverty, Health, Environment, Drug abuse, Juvenile delinquency, Leisure-time activities, Girls and young women, Participation, Globalization, Information and Communication Technologies, HIV/AIDS, Youth and Conflict, and Intergenerational Relations.

Here's an introductory paragraph from Wikipedia:

International Youth Day is similar to Earth, Mother's or Father's Day. It is an opportunity for Governments and others to draw attention to youth issues worldwide. Around the world people organize concerts, workshops, cultural events, fund-raisers, rallies and meetings that
involve national and local government officials, youth organizations and young people. International Youth day is on August 12 each year.

Imagine you were going to use the above text to introduce the theme, how would you use it?
Here are a couple of ideas, all transferable techniques for use at other times in a lesson:

- use it as a normal dictation: read once for the students to get the overall sense of the paragraph, read it slowly & students write down, read again for them to correct their versions, handout the texts for them to self-correct.
- running dictation: put the text on the wall, a version for each team, assign a secretary for each team & the others take it in turns to run to the text, memorise as much as possible, run back & dictate it. The team to finish first wins. Lots of fun.
- dictogloss: dictate it quickly so that the students are only able to write down the information words, the stressed words, & then in small groups they reformulate the words they have into a comprehensible text.
- sequential reading - cut up the text & the students reorder it, justifying their choices & looking at the discourse markers that helped.
- cloze text: take out every nth word & the students complete the text.
- selective cloze: the same but take out all the verbs, the punctuation etc.
- running together text: writeoutthetextwithnogapsbetweenwords&the
- give select vocab & students write a text from the clues, & then compare with the original.

Before giving out the short text, you could:
- have a guessing games: give key words & students guess the theme.
- brainstorm all vocab connected to International Youth Day: students could do this in pairs, at the board or simply shout out words - see above.

Youth now & before – differences/similarities.

A few questions:

1. How is growing up as a teenager different now to what it was like 20 years ago?
2. Are there any different challenges now?
3. And in which ways is life easier?
4. And the future?

Problems >> possible solutions for youth in the area/country. (Volunteer work, sport etc..)

Roleplays: any kind of inter-generational conflict to bring out issues for a follow up discussion. Eg.

Parents: You are unhappy about the way your 19 year old son/daughter has been behaving. S/he has stopped working hard at school/university, stays out late, hangs round with the wrong crowd, gets up late & generally does very little. You suspect s/he has be taking drugs. It is time to talk to her/him.

Son: You are thinking about what you want to do with your life, what to study, career path etc. You don’t feel ready for any responsibilities & want to have some fun before it’s too late.

Older sibling: You are in the middle as you are sympathetic to your younger sister/brother but you can see your parents’ point of view.

Project work: For the teenage group eg. investigating different youth issues in home area or different parts of the world.

Songs: Song that highlights such as Peter Tosh's 'Can't Blame The Youth' as a springboard into the topic. Here are the lyrics - use a part or whole, to suit.

You can't blame the youth
You can't fool the youth
You can't blame the youth
(Of today)
You can't fool the youth

You teaching youths to learn in school
That cow jump over moon
You teaching youths to learn in school
That the dish ran away with spoon,

So You can't blame the youth
(When they don't learn)
You can't fool the youth
(Can't fool the youth)
You can't blame the youth
(Of today)
You can't fool the youth

You teach the youth about Christopher Columbus
And you said he was a very great man
You teach the youth about Marco Polo
And you said he was a very great man
You teach the youth about the pirate Hawkins
And you said he was a very great man
You teach the youth about the pirate Morgan
And you said he was a very great man

So You can't blame the youth of today
You can't fool the youth
You can't blame the youth
You can't fool the youth

All these great men were doing
Robbing, raping, kidnapping and killing
So-called great men were doing
Robbing, raping, kidnapping

So you can't blame the youth
You can't fool the youth
You can't blame the youth
(none at all)
You can't fool the youth

When every Christmas come
You buy the youth a pretty toy gun
When every Christmas come
You buy the youth a fancy toy gun

So You can't blame the youth
You can't fool the youth Y
You can't blame the youth
You can't fool the youth

But What was hidden from the wise and prudent
Is now revealed to the babes and the sucklings
What was hidden from the wise and prudent
Now revealed to the babes and sucking
Lord call upon the youth
Cause he know the youth is strong
Jah Jah call upon the youths
Cause he know the youth is strong

So you can't blame the youth
You can't fool the youth
You can't blame the youth
(Save the children)
You can't fool the youth

Don't blame them. Not their fault!

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