Archive for the ‘ESL/EAL’ Tag

Boys and dancing

Last week at the Language School, one of the girls in Upper Primary was adamant that what our class composition really needed was dancing. She was enthusiastic, a couple of her girlfriends were enthusiastic, but others in the class were just as adamant in their refusal.

However, we needed to work in the room all together, and I knew that if I set the three girls dancing at one end of the room, and the rest of the class working with instruments or singing at the other end, it would be too distracting and no-one would get any work completed. “Let’s divide into two groups and we’ll all work on the dance together,” I suggested. There were four phrases of lyrics that the dance would accompany. Each group would devise moves for two of the lines, then we would combine.

What I discovered in this process was that, despite the initial reluctance that most of the boys had shown, several of them (two of the newest boys – from Iraq and Sudan, and two of the Chinese boys) were in fact very happy to be dancing. We devised a heel-thumping, air-punching, hand-clapping accompaniment and they were completely committed to each and every move.

That early lack of enthusiasm was perhaps about keeping with the peer group – especially for the newest boys. They may not have understood my initial question about whether they’d like to  dance or not – maybe they knew it was about dancing, but thought I might be asking them to dance a solo, or something – but they would definitely have picked up on the way the majority Chinese boys in the class were laughing and pushing each other and hiding behind each other by way of demonstrating their reluctance.

Now that we have a dance in the middle of an instrumental piece and song, we have the challenge ahead of us of working out how on earth to stage it, so that they don’t all start falling over their instruments when the get up to dance. That is next week’s challenge!