Love is in the air
St. Valentine's ideas for teachers; Why I love learning languages - for students; Personal experience - Natalya Zelenskaya
ST. VALENTINE’S IDEAS FOR TEACHERS
Themed lessons are a great opportunity to bring something new into the classroom and take a break from the routine. They give your students an opportunity to get new insights into the target culture and aspects of their everyday life, and also share their personal experiences. Today is St. Valentine’s day and we are happy to share some of our ideas for love-filled lessons! Because we simply adore you 😍 🥰
Our main gift is two lesson plans we have developed especially for you to use in your classroom! One lesson is for A2 Pre-Intermediate level students, and the second one is for B1 Intermediate level students. You can save them to your profile, edit and share with your students. The lessons are filled with various activities, videos, vocabulary, conversation questions quizzes, and are bound to satisfy even the pickiest teacher. Happy St.Valentine’s!
If you still want more ideas for lessons, read on!
Now everybody knows the origins of this beautiful holiday, and students will definitely love to learn some historical facts. There are many videos about where St.Valentine’s day originated and what it symbolises, so you can choose something suitable for different levels. Our favourite is Bet You Didn’t Know channel on Youtube with colourful videos filled with infographics, statistics and cheerful music. They are usually suitable for Intermediate plus students.
Higher levels will love debating about the importance of the holiday in modern society and its inevitable commercialisation. You can find an article or an infographic detailing how much money is spent annually on gifts and presents, and discuss whether it is all worth it.
The Words of Love
Do your students know how to profess their love to a crush? And who the “crush” even is? What about various terms of endearment people use daily in conversations with their loved ones? Elicit these with students and then show them a series of video clips from various films and TV shows where people call each other “pumpkin”, “sugar-lips”, “honey-bunny” and others.
The Dating Apps
Modern love is almost unimaginable without popular dating apps. The topics for discussions are in abundance here - from blind dates and creating your perfect bio to mindless swiping and safety. Even if your students don’t have experience using the apps they may find it interesting to hear other people’s experiences and share their opinions.
An American writer Leo Buscaglia once said: “To love others you must first love yourself.” Bring this idea into the classroom and plan the lesson that will encourage your students to show appreciation to themselves. Ask them to think what they love most about themselves, make lists of songs they listen to when they feel said, discuss what things and activities make them happy, and what things they are most proud of. It will take pressure off the single ones, who usually don’t like seeing happy couples all around, and will suit almost any classroom.
Why I Love Learning Languages
It opens up your mind in so many ways
I’m not afraid to admit that foreign languages are my obsession. There’s nothing better than being able to hear another language and understand it.
I’m a native English speaker who started to learn foreign languages at the age of twelve. It started with French, then Spanish, both of which were offered at my school. When I attended University, I took up Italian and German, while teaching myself Dutch and Japanese on the side.
It may seem like I’m bragging (I kind of am), but I’d also like to point out that I am fluent in none of those languages, except English, and even then… is anyone ever really fluent in English?
There are so many benefits to learning a foreign language. Not only does it open up a whole new world (if that song from Aladdin didn’t just pop into your head, you don’t belong here) but it also stops you sounding ignorant when you go overseas. After all, there’s nothing worse than a foreigner coming to a country and expecting everyone to speak their language.
It also teaches you a lot about your own language: differences in sentence structure, which words come from which languages, et cetera (that one’s Latin, of course). Maybe it’s because I’m a linguistics nerd and grammar excites me, but I certainly see that as a plus; I’m constantly striving to become a better English speaker, and learning foreign languages has helped me with that by opening my mind to different grammar and syntax.
Language can also help you understand other cultures. When you speak another language, you also pick up on different social cues that are inherent in that culture. The way you emphasize certain words shows the importance placed on particular ideas. Language cements a culture together.
Sadly, my country (New Zealand), like so many other colonial countries, has almost erased the indigenous Māori culture. The easiest way to do this was by forcing them to speak English instead of their own language (te reo Māori).
During my school years, this was (somewhat) rectified, by making it compulsory to teach te reo classes. However, because it has been mostly stamped out, very few people are qualified to teach it. Not to mention that white people are super weird about it, even now.
I’m unsure what the rules are around it now, but back in my day it was up to each school how much te reo was taught and in what manner. So while I took a few lessons in my youth, I moved schools so often that I never got an actual foundation in the Māori language. I was more interested in European languages as a teenager anyway; nowadays I regret not being more educated in te reo. It’s a mistake I have yet to rectify.
A million years ago, when I was still at University, we had a guest speaker come into our Spanish class. She was telling us about her work as a translator, and halfway through her speech switched from English to Spanish — and I didn’t even notice.
I would hardly call myself fluent in Spanish, but I still understood everything she was saying; I barely registered that she was speaking a language that I didn’t grow up with. When I figured it out, I felt euphoric. I felt as if I’d crossed some sort of line into the world of fluency. It’s hard to explain how amazing that feeling is; I’ve spent the rest of my adult life trying to chase that high.
My language learning has fallen a little to the wayside over the past few years, now that I’m self-educating as opposed to attending classes. I still take time to immerse myself in the languages I’m learning: I might read a book in French, or watch a telenovela for Spanish practice. Since we can’t travel at the moment, my favourite way to learn is through video games; the interactivity really helps imprint the language into your brain. I’d highly recommend it.
As much as I love other languages, I’m glad I grew up with English. Apart from being so widely spoken, it would also be a complete nightmare to learn if you didn’t get started at a young age.
Even native speakers have trouble with it: seriously, have you seen social media, ever? I’ve seen more than one status update stating that “Winter is Cumin”, which makes me wonder what the food is like in the Game of Thrones universe (I’m funny, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). I sincerely hope people don’t write their CVs the way they post status updates.
But enough snobbery; the point is, English is a very difficult language, so I’m glad I never had to learn it from scratch and I applaud you if you did.
If you don’t speak any other languages, I strongly recommend you give it a try. Take a night class, or if you’re extremely motivated, buy a language-learning kit and learn one in your own time. I promise you won’t regret it.
Learning another language takes a lot of time and dedication, I’ll admit that. But for me, being able to have a conversation with someone in their native language — or even just being able to understand them — makes it all worthwhile.
Why do you love learning languages? Share your ideas in the comments!
«Do you plan themed lessons for your students? Why (not)? What would you plan for a St. Valentine’s lesson? Why do you love English and teaching?”
Hi everyone! My name’s Natalya, and I’ve been teaching English for over 10 years. I’m a bilingual teacher, as I had spent 10 years of my life living in
Australia before returning to Moscow. I have a CELTA certificate with a pass B grade and I’ve got many exciting hobbies and interests including art, writing, fencing, and psychology. I love spending time with my friends, I drink more coffee than I probably should, and I’m a big fan of Tolkien.
Why I love my job!
You know, if you take a look at the number of students and lessons I’ve had throughout my teaching experience, you’ll be able to see that over those 14 years I’ve created and held more than 10 000 lessons! That’s unimaginable! But for me, it’s been an incredible journey. I get to use my creativity to make the best lessons I can for my students. I guess that’s why I love teaching so much. I believe that if you enjoy the topic, the activities, and the overall contents of your lesson, then your students will most certainly enjoy them as well. That’s why I adore creating all kinds of lessons, including themed lessons for special occasions.
Planning themed lessons
Why do I enjoy planning themed lessons? Well, there are a few reasons. First of all, I think it’s important to immerse students into a festive atmosphere once in a while. That way, they’ll be able to express ideas, emotions, and thoughts that’ve come to their mind during this special day. It just doesn’t seem fair to avoid talking about the ongoing occasion when everyone’s out on the street celebrating! Imagine it! Your student is in a jolly mood, wanting to spill it all out by discussing their emotions with you, and you’re asking them to concentrate on the same old grammar topic. That can make students feel like it’s “Groundhog day”. It just seems so natural to allow people to express their opinion, even if they don’t celebrate this day.
Secondly, I believe people should get to know the culture and traditions of the people who speak the language they’re learning. Learning a language is a lot about communication. And students need to be able to maintain conversations on a topic Native English speakers are familiar with and enjoy.
St. Valentine’s day lesson
People have so many opinions regarding St. Valentine’s day around the
world, so I would definitely allow my students to do some kind of survey, a speaking activity where they’d be able to express their ideas freely. Also, I would get them to learn some new romantic vocabulary, watch a video about St. Valentine’s day traditions around the world, and at the end maybe, help them create a Valentine’s day card for their loved one in English! I bet they would have a lot of fun doing that. 😁
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