Friday, April 22, 2011

A Guided Visualisation: the Magic Board Marker

For many of us unfortunate EFL teachers, the humble board-marker is a mere piece of teaching paraphernalia, a tool to be used in the daily struggle to educate those poor foreign morons in the language of freedom, democracy and untramelled binge-drinking.

However, imagine if it was as elusive as that precious TEFL certificate - Diploma even! Surely we would look upon it with different eyes? Surely ... ah, balls - this guy's gone and done it already...


SCRIPT FOR THE TEACHING GUIDE: (To be read in a gentle trance-inducing voice.) Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths to help you relax. Breathe in the light and breathe out all your tightness. Feel the tension disappear stage by stage from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Let your surroundings fade away as you gradually sink backwards through time and actuality and pass through the gateway of reality into the dreamtime. (When the participants are fully relaxed, begin the next stage.)

Suddenly you find yourself in a different place, somewhere in the countryside, somewhere you remember from a long ago distant time – a time of trust and innocence, far removed from your current everyday concerns. It’s your favourite season of the year and your favourite time of day. A brook leads off into the distance with all kinds of flowers on both banks. Take a minute of clock time, equal to all the time you need, to savour all the sights, sounds and smells of this peaceful place, this place that’s so special for you …..

And now you’re roused from your reveries because you sense you’re no longer alone. You look up from the place where you’ve been resting to see an old man standing in front of you. There’s kindness in his eyes, a smile on his face and he greets you as a friend. Take a minute of clock time, equal to all the time you need, to make the most of this opportunity you’ve been given to meet with this wise old soul …..

"I’ve been expecting you and I knew you’d come. You want your own board-marker, don’t you?" the old man asks.

"Yes, I do!" you reply, without hesitation. Because you know that you’re worthy of this gift and that you will make good use of it.

"Well then, I will give you a board-marker, but remember that you promised to use it only for worthy purposes and not for greed." With this, the old man disappears, and you’re left with the board-marker in your hands. Study it carefully, feel its texture, and note the writing printed on its handle. Treasure it, because its value is immeasurable.

You know it would be all too easy to let the power that you have been given access to go straight to your head. So take a minute of clock time now, equal to all the time you need, to reflect on the uses to which you can put it, for the benefit not only of yourself but also for those near and dear to you …..

Now the time has come for you to return with the magic board-marker - back, back, along the banks of the babbling brook and back to the place you started from. The magic of the board-marker is your own power, the power you have to shape your own destiny – this is the power that has been unveiled to you and that you now hold in your hands. For as long as you believe in this power, its strength will never desert you.

As you retrace your steps along the banks of the brook, once again savour the sights, sounds, and smells of this extra special place, a place you can return to again and again whenever you should feel the need. And as you continue to make your way back, back through the gateway between the two worlds give thanks for the treasure you’ve been blessed with.

Take a deep breath, release it, open your eyes and stretch your arms and legs. Stamp your feet on the ground to make sure you’re really back. Welcome home! Take a few minutes in silence to take some notes of the experiences you had on your journeys, which you can then share with the rest of the group, and make a note of it all in your dream journal.


There's more to follow on this exciting theme soon - and I ain't kidding!!


Anonymous said...

Been fishing in shallow pools again, have you, Sandy?!

Tefl Secretagent said...

This sounds exactly like the school I work in. Not only are board markers the most precious of objects... they also make you feel like your taking on some life or death obligation when they hand one over.


but i'm looking forward to the next story :)

Eve said...

I never really understood my Russian school's obsession with whiteboard markers. Every time I asked for one, the secretaries would look at me like I'd just insulted them. They would give me that dead Russian stare, take FOREVER to get me a new one, and then hand it to me with the greatest reluctance.

Vilges Suola said...

In the Greek school where I worked in 1990, teachers were given ONE board marker and expected to make it last a term. Refill ink was grudgingly provided if teachers had run out by the last week, but it was the wrong sort, and dribbled out of the pen and down your clothes when you took the cap off. The same chain of schools spent a fortune each week on elaborate flower arrangements for the reception areas.

English Teacher X said...

My first job, we had to buy our own. Though they threw in a 15 baht "marker allowance" for people working part time.

Clarence Rhode said...

Back at Windsor Schools, the markers were cheap foreign imports made with the intoxicating ink. A few sniffs and we were jumping off the stairs.

Anonymous said...

Which explains PL's bizarre behaviour over the years. He was clearly starting the day with a whiff of the cheap orange and green ones, and gradually upsizing to the more exclusive deep blues, browns and blacks (which were kept in Paul's personal drawer, of course).

With a large intake of Tippex just before bedtime, he was set for a good night's sleep indeed!

Clarence Rhode said...

Things would pick up around 3pm when Ashley was sent along to Tesco to get some £3.99 Hungarian Riesling. Paul would then bring out his plastic wine glasses and guzzle steadily as he looked at - ahem - the Internet.