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Humanising Language Teaching
Year 1; Issue 7; November 1999


"Handing Over - NLP-based activities for language learning"

by Jane Revell and Susan Norman.

Saffire Press, October 1999

With this book, at last, Neuro-Linguistic-Programming becomes a feeder-field easily available to language teachers! Music, song, drama and psychodrama have long been feeder fields and now NLP has joined them. I am thrilled that Jane Revell and Susan Norman have chalked up this first with their tiny Saffire Press, and have beaten the big houses to the post.

To my knowledge, both the Oxford and Cambridge University Presses have turned down more than one book proposal in the area of NLP applied the classroom over the past five years. Safffire Press now offers us what OUP and CUP have refused us.

What's in the book?

At the front you have a two page INTRODUCTION and at the back a two page CONTENTS/ INDEX.

What a relief to be saved from the long bleats that clutter the first l0-15 pages for most Teacher Resource Books. Who reads them, anyway?

The book is sectioned up this way:

Setting Goals
Come to your senses
Relating with Rapport

The first exercise in the Modelling Section is titled: Native Speaker Watching and goes like this:

  • Your play a video clip of English native speakers interacting and ask half the class to listen carefully to the verbal language they hear while the other half focus on the body language. (a worksheet is provided )

  • The students compare their notes in groups of five.

  • Watch video with sound off, so the full focus is on body language. Again students compare notes.

    Turn the screen away from the students and ask them to listen to the sounds of the voices rather than the words, on a third play-thru.

  • The students watch the video in black and white and with the sound on.

  • End with a discussion on the differences between the people on the video and people in the students' culture. Ask them to come up with things they could copy to sound and act more like a native speaker of English.

The authors do not mention that the above scenario is a brilliant listening comprehension activity because the human mind is virtually incapable of hearing a flow of speech without trying to attribute meaning to the sounds. Because the overt task as not mainly a listening one, much of the usual anxiety is absent and so the comprehension is likely to be much better than normal.

In the rest of the Modelling Section you will find the following exercises:

Acting like a Native Speaker
Notice your Strategies (on Gardner Multiple Intelligences)
Being an A1 Teacher
Being an A1 Student
Transferring Strategies
Language Learning Strategies
Simple Modelling

Once this book gets out into the hands of talented language teachers it will enrich their methodology well beyond the expectations of the two authors. I feel confident is saying that they do not know what they have done!

Thank you Jane and Susan, for this book and for In Your Hands, which came out a year ago.

Mario Rinvolucri (Editor)

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