Adding spirituality to teaching English

Something that has struck me while I’ve been finally following my own recommendation to download Australian Radio National podcasts is how many of them are about spirituality, a word which even the religious programmes on BBC radio tend to avoid. It then occurred to me that TEFL is definitely following the BBC/ Church of England pattern rather than the ABC one. As I’m just as bad on the meaning of life as I am on TEFL theory, here instead are some practical suggestions for how we can start to remedy that with our students and fellow teachers.

  • Get students to use rosaries as they drill irregular verbs, I me my mine, etc.
  • Practice “used to” by getting students to regress to their previous reincarnations and report back with “I used to be Napoleon” etc.
  • Get students to remember their previous lives in which they spoke English
  • Do a fatwa debate (as a kind of reverse balloon debate).
  • Pray together for IELTS 7.0.
  • Get all the rest of the class to shout out things like “Tell them brother/ sister”, “Testify” and “Hallelujah” every time someone correctly responds to brainstorming or elicitation.
  • Get students to burn vocabulary lists as they learn them to send the words up to heavenChant together for world peace and more natural collocations.
  • Add bells and smells to your school’s classroom supplies.
  • Get students to communicate beyond the grave in English with the help of a ouija board.
  • Do second conditionals with sentences like “I would declare a holy war if…”
  • Tell students wondering why people in their country aren’t better at English that it is because of woman priests and gay marriage.
  • Do narrative tenses with storytelling on the topic of spiritual quests with key words like “resist sexual temptation”, “near starvation” and “delirious”.
  • Build a confession box in which students can confess language mistakes they have made, before being given 20 Hail Marys and/ or 17 pages of Murphy’s as penance.
  • Suggest to students stuck on the Intermediate plateau that they could sell their soul to the devil
  • Try to reproduce the miracle of the picture of David Beckham in Cutting Edge which cried milk.
  • Instead of correcting students’ writing, heal it with the laying on of hands.
  • Encourage students to only speak to their guardian angels in English.
  • Tell students to give up their old L1 ways and be born again as English speakers, maybe with submersion in the school pool.
  • Get students to proclaim their celibacy until they pass FCE.
  • Have a bonfire of evil grammar-heavy textbooks.
  • Get one of students to speak in tongues, then get other students to speculate on what part of modern lifestyles they are condemning (for modals of possibility/ probability).
  • Get students to speculate on which religions have tolerated slavery, burning people alive, holy wars, stoning, animal sacrifice etc (ditto).
  • Introduce flagellation for making the same error after being corrected more than once.
  • Get Azar to bless every one of his grammar books as they leave the printer’s.
  • Sacrifice a chicken before the end of term test.
  • Add chicken entrails and dancing yourself into a spiritual trance to your lesson on using fortune telling to practise will for predictions.
  • Take psychotropic Amazonian plants before whackier roleplays.
  • Drive all but true believers in Dogme TEFL from your school.
  • Get students to rank depictions of Mohammed by how many people dying in riots they deserve (maybe in a pyramid ranking debate).
  • Get students to rank sins by how long people should spend in purgatory because of them (ditto).
  • Summon an English-speaking ghost and get your students to interview them.
  • Exorcise the demons of basic grammar mistakes (“Out demon, out!”).
  • Pray to Saint Michael Swan over a copy of Practical English Usage, then open on a random page to choose what today’s language point will be.
  • Encourage the use of King James Bible English.
  • Get students to divide themselves into smaller and smaller sects each week depending on their beliefs about language learning and teaching.
  • Elect a pope of TEFL who can decide which beliefs about teaching will be blasphemous from now on.
  • Introduce stoning for people who are still giving 15-minute grammar presentation monologues at the end of their CELTA course.
  • (More) persecution of people who have Trinity certs.
  • The ducking stool for teachers who are so loved by their students that they must be using witchcraft on them.
  • Destroy all graven images in EFL textbooks.
  • Nominate TEFL saints then try to collect two language learning miracles so that they can be proclaimed as such.
  • Set up altars to John and Liz Soars, Jeremy Harmer, etc.
  • Set up a holy relics shop in IH Barcelona.
  • Set up an “Old Believers” school with beards, horse and cart, Cambridge English Course, the first edition of English File, etc.
This entry was posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Adding spirituality to teaching English

  1. Before embarking on adding “spirituality” on teaching English one has to be informed on the religious and spiritual views of one’s learners.
    As a Muslim I can share with you that the following can NOT be discussed in a class with Muslim learners:

    – Get students to use rosaries as they drill irregular verbs, I me my mine, etc.
    – Practice “used to” by getting students to regress to their previous reincarnations and report back with “I used to be Napoleon” etc.
    – Get students to remember their previous lives in which they spoke English

    Get all the rest of the class to shout out things like “Hallelujah” every time someone correctly responds to brainstorming or elicitation.
    Get students to burn vocabulary lists as they learn them to send the words up to heaven
    Chant together for world peace and more natural collocations.
    Add bells and smells to your school’s classroom supplies.
    Get students to communicate beyond the grave in English with the help of a ouija board.
    Do second conditionals with sentences like “I would declare a holy war if…” – (DEFINITELY NOT, there is no such thing as Holy War in Islam.
    Tell students wondering why people in their country aren’t better at English that it is because of woman priests and gay marriage.

    Build a confession box in which students can confess language mistakes they have made, before being given 20 Hail Marys and/ or 17 pages of Murphy’s as penance.
    Suggest to students stuck on the Intermediate plateau that they could sell their soul to the devil
    Try to reproduce the miracle of the picture of David Beckham in Cutting Edge which cried milk.
    Instead of correcting students’ writing, heal it with the laying on of hands.
    Encourage students to only speak to their guardian angels in English.
    Tell students to give up their old L1 ways and be born again as English speakers, maybe with submersion in the school pool.
    Get students to proclaim their celibacy until they pass FCE.
    Have a bonfire of evil grammar-heavy textbooks.
    Get one of students to speak in tongues, then get other students to speculate on what part of modern lifestyles they are condemning (for modals of possibility/ probability).
    Get students to speculate on which religions have tolerated slavery, burning people alive, holy wars, stoning, animal sacrifice etc (ditto).
    Introduce flagellation for making the same error after being corrected more than once.
    Get Azar to bless every one of his grammar books as they leave the printer’s.
    Sacrifice a chicken before the end of term test.
    Add chicken entrails and dancing yourself into a spiritual trance to your lesson on using fortune telling to practise will for predictions.
    Take psychotropic Amazonian plants before whackier roleplays.
    Drive all but true believers in Dogme TEFL from your school.
    Get students to rank depictions of Mohammed by how many people dying in riots they deserve (maybe in a pyramid ranking debate).
    Get students to rank sins by how long people should spend in purgatory because of them (ditto).
    Summon an English-speaking ghost and get your students to interview them.
    Exorcise the demons of basic grammar mistakes (“Out demon, out!”).
    Pray to Saint Michael Swan over a copy of Practical English Usage, then open on a random page to choose what today’s language point will be.
    Encourage the use of King James Bible English.
    Get students to divide themselves into smaller and smaller sects each week depending on their beliefs about language learning and teaching.
    Elect a pope of TEFL who can decide which beliefs about teaching will be blasphemous from now on.
    Introduce stoning for people who are still giving 15-minute grammar presentation monologues at the end of their CELTA course.
    (More) persecution of people who have Trinity certs.
    The ducking stool for teachers who are so loved by their students that they must be using witchcraft on them.
    Destroy all graven images in EFL textbooks.
    Nominate TEFL saints then try to collect two language learning miracles so that they can be proclaimed as such.
    Set up altars to John and Liz Soars, Jeremy Harmer, etc.
    Set up a holy relics shop in IH Barcelona.
    Set up an “Old Believers” school with beards, horse and cart, Cambridge English Course, the first edition of English File, etc.

  2. lmissbossy says:

    You’re my candidate for the Pope of TEFL 😀

  3. alexcase says:

    Thanks Ms Bossy. In that case, International Express is anathema, and pre-teaching vocabulary can have you excommunicated!

  4. alexcase says:

    Hi Arshad. Does that mean there are some you could use???

  5. Mike Harrison says:

    You’re only gonna have arguments with the Archbishop of TESOL if you become TEFL Pope though, Alex.

  6. alexcase says:

    Blasphemer!

Leave a comment (link optional and email never shared)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s