children learning english

Bear can dance!

These days I don’t teach or even train on a regular basis so I’m always delighted to be invited into a classroom.  And as I generally have Bear with me we get children’s immediate reactions as well as their suggestions.

So let me tell you about a class I’m visiting at the moment – 22 ten to eleven year olds  in a regular primary school.   Almost two-thirds of the group are speakers of English as a second language – the remaining third are mother tongue speakers. They have a blended curriculum with an extra emphasis on English.  Bear is linking with a variety of subjects.  Over the next few weeks there are plans to involve him with aspects of maths, art, geography and science.

Up to now Bear has mainly worked with learners of other languages at school so this is a new departure but that’s not why I’m writing about it.

It’s the age group.

Many teachers I’ve worked with over the years have imagined that Bear would not be accepted by children over 8 or 9. Well not so!!

I’ve always found that this upper primary group want to know even more about him than younger learners   – their keenness about the experiences they are facing means that they are open to everything.

I generally take my lead from the children… whatever they are interested in is going to work best.

This present group is no different to the others – on our first visit they wanted to know everything about Bear – including the usuals – favourite foods, games, football teams, how many languages can he understand?

Then a voice somewhere to our left said Can you dance Bear ? We can dance….

Bear had never been asked to dance before!

But he knows that you have to show young learners that you’re willing to have a go.  I mean if he’s not up to learning  something new how can he ask them to try. Bear knows that a bit of example goes a long way…

So …while all these thoughts flashed through his soft furry head he nodded ……Yes … why not!

The music went on … no recording was made of this historic event but we did get photos… the children joined in … TPR set free!

3 Responses to “Bear can dance!”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Bear sure does have a groovy move!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Jonathan. Bear got more daring with every move and the children are now preparing some new dances so it looks like he’ll have to perform again!

  2. Regina Dunne says:

    Hi Mary, I agree that the older children work very well with Bear. The children, teacher and bear are all creating a story together. We are not asking the children to believe he is real. They are willing participants, we all focus on bear and this takes the pressure off the rest of us while we are learning.

    The class did a lot of work today preparing their dances for Bear! We are coming up short on music though. One group nabbed ‘the Bare Necessities’ and now the other three groups are looking for Bear-themed music too!

    Warn him – they are really expecting another cool dance with the hat flips too!

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