Teachers using music to create atmosphere and stimulate creativity, or using mime and drama techniques to build confidence and add body language to speech acts are already drawing from the NLP repertoire. Only recently, however, have classroom activities specifically and overtly based on NLP been developed by ELT practitioners.
Many of these activities also integrate the skills and are extensions or modifications of existing techniques such as storytelling, guided fantasy, role-play and simulation. Areas where NLP can have a real impact, however, are those which explore the relationships between students and between students and teacher, and those which help to create a healthy and positive learning environment:
• Creating rapport
Rapport is the sense of ease that develops when people are interacting with others they feel comfortable with, and is essential for meaningful communication to take place. Rapport is most likely when like-minded people interact. In the classroom, mingle and 'getting to know you' activities, as well as continuous negotiation between teacher and students foster rapport, while communication gap activities and group work reinforce it.
One way of establishing good rapport is to mirror the behaviour of those we wish to influence or to be influenced by. Mirroring of posture, gestures, facial expressions and even breathing can easily be practised in the classroom, while simple drilling achieves the same results with phonological features of connected speech and key lexical phrases. To achieve natural communication, verbal and non-verbal aspects need to be combined in communicative activities. Learners may be asked to mirror the behaviour of characters on television before mirroring each other and the teacher.
• Creating positive states and anchoring
This is about motivation and maintaining positive attitudes to learning. In NLP, a positive state is created through a mental... [continua]
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