My heart isn’t made of stone
By Alenka Miljevi, English teacher at Elementary School Braće Radića. Bračević, Croatia
I have been teaching English for 20 years and my teaching has been changing along the way together with me and my pupils. I have always tried to find new methods and approaches to motivate my pupils to use English in a meaningful communicative way and to learn together with them. As a foreign language teacher, I think there is nothing I can’t use to spark the language use in the lesson, from leaflets to robots, from adds to books.
One of the curriculum topics is teaching pupils how to express their feelings and emotions. During the Covid lockdown the issue of dealing with emotions and taking care of everyone’s well-being was brought to our attention. More than ever, it was obvious that pupils need that kind of support in education.
Pupils sometimes have a problem expressing their feelings and open in front of their peers in the classroom, so we have to be gentle and cautious while dealing with this topic.
The activity that I created for pupils included:
1 Introduction with questions to reflect on – What does it mean to have a heart of stone? How do you feel when you see that someone’s hurt or crying? What is the meaning of different emojis? What do they say?
2 Colouring – pupils coloured the pebbles, made emojis and presented them to the rest of the class.
3 Bee-Bot coding activities
- pupils put a pebble – emoji – in different places and when the Bee-bot arrives to the emoji, a student says the emotion e.g. I’m happy.
- more pebbles are put on the Bee-bot pad, a teacher describes a situation, and a pupil codes the Bee-bot to meet the appropriate pebble – emoji e.g. I’m at home. I’m alone. I don’t know what to do. – I’m bored.
- pupils write situations for different emotions; one student reads a situation and another student codes the Bee-Bot to lead it to the correct emoji.
Asking pupils to describe a situation that makes the Bee-Bot feel differently helps them to open and share their own feelings. During the exchange of situations written by pupils they sometimes don’t feel the same so it is a great opportunity to discuss what makes us feel the way we feel and to foster pupils’ empathy that can be helpful to deal with misunderstandings. So, who says that teaching a language with pebbles, colours, emojis, robots and coding can’t help us to learn a life skill, like empathy.
When we have a small stone in our shoe we stop, open the shoe, and take it out to be able to move forward. We should do the same thing with emotions because our hearts aren’t made of stone.