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Humanising Language Teaching
Year 6; Issue 1; January 2004
Four Guided Fantasies
Mario Rinvolucri, UK
1 A simple Recipe
Level: intermediate to advanced
Write cooking in the middle of the board and ask students to come up silently and
surround it with the words that they associate with this idea. Tell them to write in
English of they can and in their L1/s if not.
Eliciting as much as you can get the class to turn all the L1 words into English.
If your class speaks 20 different mother tongues, get them plying their
Ask them to relax, close their eyes and dream of a kitchen.
Tell them to do these things mentally in their imaginary kitchen:
Fetch a packet of flour
Take a sieve and a bowl
sieve half the flour into the bowl
boil some water
Pour a little of the boiling water into the flour
Stir the flour and water.
Leave the dough to stand for 15 minutes
Take a rolling pin and roll a small piece of dough flat
Roll it thin.
Drip a couple of drops of oil into it.
Do this several times till you finish the dough.
Heat up a frying pan
Put the tongues of dough into it
Turn the tongues of dough over.
Take them out of the pan and roll them round bits of roast duck and
You are eating Peking Duck.
- Group the students in fours to describe to each other how the 'cooking' went for
each of them. Some people may have been doing things quite different from those
you suggested, which is fine.
- Ask the foursomes to collaboratively write up the recipe.
Variation: Ask a student to come with a favourite recipe of theirs, a simple one,
and to lead a cooking Guided Fantasy
Level: post-beginner to advanced ( at beginner level talk about the GF, by teachers
and students, will be in L1)
Ask the students to sit upright with both feet on the ground. Eyes shut.
Ask them to notice their breathing and given them a moment or two to do this.
Tell them they are going to imagine themselves covered with different colours,
their skin and their bodies all the way through
. Give them these colours
leaving a long pause after each:
Now count slowly backwards from 21 to 1.
After a pause, count forward again to 21.
Take the students back through the colours from violet to red.
Ask different people to tell the group how they experienced the colour changes.
Acknowledgement: we learnt this technique from Franco Cavalloni, a music
therapist from the Ferrara area of Italy.
3. Me in the future
Level: lower intermediate to advanced
- Once everybody is relaxed and sitting with eyes shut explain that
in this exercise they will be seeing themselves in a future time of their choice.
Ask them to decide how far forward in the future they want to see themselves.
Each person should choose the time:
I want you to visualise a door
Notice its shape and colours
Prepare to open the door.
Open the door and become aware of a person standing with their
back to you
This is you in the future.
Notice any sounds you can see in this future place
Does it feel still or windy?
What is your nose telling you in this future place.
The person with their back to you, the future you, turns to their
Notice their profile from head to toe.
What's different from you now?
The future you turn to face the now you.
The future you says something
Can you answer?
Leave where you are and step into the future you.
Notice how you feel in this future role.
Notice how are you are standing, how your clothes feel how your
way of seeing may be different.
Come back into your now self
Say goodbye to the future self
When you are ready, come back into the room.
Leave the students the time to be alone with themselves for a moment.
Randomly string-pair them.
Ask each person to spend 10-15 minutes writing a letter to his/her
partner about the experience they had during the Guided Fantasy.
The partners come together in pairs, exchange letters and then comment
orally as they wish.
End the class with students silently writing feedback sentences on the board
Acknowledgement : We learnt this technique at a workshop run by Pete Cohen
of Lighten Up.
4. Where animals live
Level: elementary to advanced
- Teach the students the names of all the animals you decide to use in the Guided Fantasy lesson that follows.
- In the second lessontell the students you are going to ask them to
relax and shut their eyes. Tell them you will give them name of an animal then
and 30 seconds silence to see the place they might see this animal, the place it
lives, and all the places it moves across, around or through.
- Give them these animals:
Ask people to decide which animal name gave them the most vivid idea of
a place or environment and ask them to link up with one other person
with the same animal.
In pairs they describe what they saw heard and felt as clearly as they can.
Go round helping with language.
Ask these questions round the class:
Which animal brought you the brightest picture?
you the most colourful picture?
you a picture you were in yourself.
made you think of a situation with many sounds in it?
brought you the most smells?
made you most aware of temperature?
had you feeling the weather?