Friday, July 29, 2011

At the End of the Day

When I went to New Zealand I discovered a wonderful little book written and photographed by Trish Puharich called "At the end of the day". This book describes what happens in a much-enjoyed class massage circle. A group of children form a circle and massage each other's backs using a range of finger and hand techniques.

"Why don't do something similar at the end of my English language classes?" -I thought. And I did it! It worked great with my "youngs", mixing instructional TPR and some psycomotricity elements in a very relaxing way.

So, I decided to make a mini book for myself to be published in our school e-magazine. “I'm really sorry Trish but I couldn't ask you permission to borrow your idea”. Thanks a lot!

Oh, yes! And what's more gave me some more ideas that I will put into practice very soon!
Just some few quotations to support this “massage circle activity at the end of the English language class”:

I believe in action and activity. The brain learns best and retains most when the organism is actively involved in exploring physical sites and materials and asking questions to which it actually craves answers. Merely passive experiences tend to attenuate and have little lasting impact (Gardner, 1999, p. 82).

When drama and movement are integrated within the daily curriculum, engaging and numerous learning experiences transpire for early childhood learners (Chauhan, 2004; Royka, 2002)

Besides being "fun" for most children, kinesthetic activities can help young learners, especially English language learners, develop decoding skills, fluency, vocabulary, syntactic knowledge, discourse knowledge, and metacognitive thinking (Sun, 2003).

Teaching language skills through drama and movement gives children a context for listening and meaningful language production, provides opportunities for reading and writing development (Chauhan, 2004), and involves children in reading and writing as a holistic and meaningful communication process (McNamee, McLane, Cooper, & Kerwin, 1985)

The brain learns best when it is dynamically involved in exploring, inquiring, and analyzing (Gardner, 1999).

Of course! Using movement and action, roleplay and drama, facilitates the brain to learn and to retain information and it provides a stimulating environment for most young English Language learners. These experiences help children build literacy skills such as reading, writing, listening, and language production.
You can integrate movement and actions in your daily classroom instruction, using techniques from Total Physical Response (TPR) and Language Experience Approach (LEA). “These strategies enable teachers to effectively employ kinesthetic experiences through all content areas and support learning as an active, physical process”. (1)

  • Gardner, H. (1999). The disciplined mind. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Chauhan, V. (2004). Dramatechniques for teaching English. The Internet TESL Journal, 10(10).
  • McNamee, G.D., McLane, J.B., Cooper, P.M., & Kerwin, S.M. (1985). Cognition and affect in early literacy development. Early Childhood Development and Care, 20,229-244
  • (1) Sue A. Rieg, Kelli R. Paquette (2009) Using drama and movement to enhance English language learners' literacy development
  • Sun, Ping-Yun (2003). Using drama and theater to promote literacy development: Some basic classroom applications. The Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication Digest #187.

PUHARICH, T (2000). At the End of the Day. Welllington:Learning Media (New Zealand) ISBN: 9780478123609. Story and photographs by Trish Puharich 


  1. Hi Enric, your blog is great! I'm definitely putting into practice the massage circle activity.
    Check out my blog, it's so great to share resources and ideas!

    1. Thank you Sara! I just had a look to your blog and... Wow! It will be one of my next future recommendations. It is great to be in touch with people that loves this amazing job of teaching English as a Second Language to Young learners!