Danny Singh’s session began with some wonderful scenes from the film A Touch of Spice, which we were going to discuss further during his presentation, on how it is connected to language teaching and learning.
The first significant point Mr Singh made was how memory is intrigued, by revealing that even though he had first watched this poetical film in its release year, 2003, he still remembered every detail and wrote an article based on it eleven years later.
During his talk, he presented us with the three aspects he saw emerging from the film; the political, with the portrayal of the Greek minority of Constantinople being deported and forced to live in a country they did not know; the educational, with knowledge being passed down from grandfather to grandson, using spices to teach everything, even astronomy; and of course the aspect of love, and how it can be hindered, along with all other aspects of life, due to government and political intervention.
The particular scenes where the grandfather teaches the solar system to his grandson, inspired our presenter to design and implement a multi-sensory lesson for two young learners, which he described to us in detail. Using several different spices, he invited his young learners to describe them by looking, feeling, smelling, tasting and listening to those spices as they were sprinkled onto paper so they would produce language and develop their skills through realia. He then asked them to keep traces of those spices in their notebooks, so they could reproduce that language later. The importance of building teacher-learner rapport was underlined by Danny Singh having a favourite spice in common with the younger learner and a complete opposite with the older one.
The attendees were then involved in a lively discussion, offering alternative aspects of the film, personal observations and further ideas to use while teaching.
The session closed with a TPR activity, which got all attendees moving and laughing.
It was a wonderful presentation which provided us with powerful images and sounds, as well as a handful of ideas to use in our lessons, while reminding us that we can make our teaching more effective if we allow ourselves to be resourceful and creative.
By Christina Chorianopoulou
Interview by Theodora Papapanagiotou
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