There’s a new bakery that’s just opened at the corner of my street. It’s almost impossible for one not to notice the quaintness and warmth of this little place that is tucked away cozily between two well-known eateries of this town.
Each time I walked pass it to get to the gym, I could never help feasting my eyes on the pastries that’ve all been stacked up so close together that they almost give me the feeling that they’re cheekily huddling in merriment against the cold autumny season.
Oh, and have I mentioned the oh-so-delightful scent of freshly baked bread that wafts around you as you walk by?
I finally decided upon a loaf of multigrain bread. I took it her, paid for it, and she handed it back to me, all packed up nicely. She had a certain twinkle in her eye and smile. Or was it just my imagination? I wondered.
As I walked back home, I couldn’t help thinking about that twinkle. Absorbed in my own thoughts, I absentmindedly put my hands into the package. And lo and behold, guess what I found? She had slipped a piece of muffin into my bag! Aha, so that was the cause of the twinkle! I quickly scanned through my receipt, and no, she hadn’t charged me for it. I thanked my lucky stars, and indulged into this lil treat the minute I got back home.
What did I do, then, in the next couple of days?I went to the bakery again of course!
Oh no, not because of the treat, but because of the gratitude I felt towards her for her act of kindness. This time, I bought a lovely, sticky cinnamon bun. And she did it again. Slipped another lil treat for me into my bag. Same smile, same twinkle, right in front of my eyes this time! My oh my!
AND it’s been happening each time around, until I found myself thinking that perhaps it was some sort of a promotional strategy (can I be blamed for that?).
So, the next time I went, I played Ms. Smarty Pants. I observed her actions eyefully while standing in the line to pay for my fare. To my utter astonishment, no one else got anything!
But when it came to my turn, she did it AGAIN! And this time, it was a piece of chocolate cake.
(Image courtesy of Brett Jordan on flickr)
The Lil Delights that Matter….
I’ve been thinking so much about this humbling, yet touching gesture of the wonderful bakery owner.
How did she make me feel ? — Very special indeed.
Were the lil delights costly ? — Not at all, really.
Did it matter at all that they weren’t costly ? — Absolutely not, isn’t the thought what matters the most?
And how has this thoughtful gesture affected me? — In ways that cannot be described by words. And I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.
Taking The Goodies of Delight into the language Classroom…
You’ve got to admit this. Each one of us, no matter how old we are, LOVES to receive goodies. May it be a piece of cake, or a complimentary gift, anything at all. A goodie is a goodie, isn’t it? But how do we take this concept into a language classroom?
See, it all depends on what you term “goodie” to be. Some teachers may call it rewards, some may call it gifts, and others may call it prizes. There are loads of past research that have provided contradicting evidence on ‘rewarding’ learners. Some say it’s a source of motivation for learners, but others say that learner motivation might dissipate once the reward’s been revoked (Schimdt, R., Boraie, D., and Kassagby, O. 1996).
Well, I don’t intend to divulge into this argument. My only intention is to look at this beyond what research is concerned, more from a humanistic perspective; something coming from my heart; something I’ve done in my classroom and been duely ‘rewarded’ with contentment and satisfaction. And when I talk about Goodies of Delight, I don’t attach a monetary value to it, because I totally understand that not every teacher receives a hefty salary!
So, what are the lil’ Goodies of Delight? Oh, there are loads of it, we just gotta get a bit creative and be that source of inspiration and drive within our learners minds!
a) Inspirational Note slips : Write short, power-packed inspirational notes on colored stick-on papers, stick them as a form of feedback on leaner’s assignments.
b) Quote books : Small, hand carry quote books are very cheap and can be purchased almost anywhere – bookshops, newsstands, used bookshops. Observe learners, lookout for those who’re having the toughest moments in life. Hold them back after classroom, look them in the eye, and give it to them as a gift. Of course, make sure that the language is understandable to the learner! And add a personal touch with a short, inspiring note and your signature.
c) Smiley face stickers : These are really cheap and can be bought in many places. Use them when responding to learners work. The number of stickers can determine how satisfied you are with their work!
d) Sweets : Well, I see some of you in doubt there. Trust me, even the least costliest piece of sweet would catch any learner by surprise. However, I wouldn’t advocate using sweets as rewards for young learners, they might throw a tantrum if they don’t get one!
e) handmade cards : You don’t even have to be very creative or spend too much time on this. It can be on colored papers, with a very personalized note from you to the earner. Pictures can be printed from the internet. Make it funny; make it inspirational; make it thought-provoking. And you could sign off with a funny photo of yourself, re-sized and stuck at the end.
f) personalized messages on fb or other social media : I’m sure you know where to draw the line when personalization is concerned. Be emphathetic, not symphathetic. Relate to them, connect with them. Express your concern genuinely. They’ll know and feel it when you do.
g) Minute Soft toys : soft toys can be given to both males and females. If you look around, you’d surely find some really cool soft-toys that relate to each individual learners. Again, stick a note to it with some positive words from you.
h) Hand-written letter : no matter how advanced we’ve gotten into the digital world, the old-fashioned way never fails to capture the magic of connection. At the end of the term, reflect on each student and write a personalized, short letter to each one of them. End the teaching term with a bang by leaving a huge imprint of yourself in their minds and hearts.
i) Postcards : The key here is how to metaphorically relate the picture in the postcard to how you want the learner to be inspired. Make connections between the picture and your words. It WILL, mark my words, WILL make a difference. Then, give it to them.
The Goodies of Delight have tremendous effects on our learners. It ‘wakes’ them, ‘enlightens’, inspires, motivates, drives, and most of all, gives them a sense of belonging within the classroom. I’ve seen this increase classroom dynamics, rapport, respect, and understanding. It is a great tool especially among learners who’re unable to express themselves outwardly as much as they want to. Most of all, it takes them to great heights and makes them believe in themselves. As a teacher, you actually have a great impact in our learners’ lives. Make each learner feel special. Create that bond with them. You’ll see how it really pays off at the end!
My ideas above might not be new; You’ve probably encountered them at some points in ur life. But if you do have anything newer and funkier, please please do share it with me! I’d love to hear about it…
And, now I wonder…
Do YOU have any Goodies of Delights for me? Surely you know I love surprises, don’t you…..
(Image courtesy of anacik on flickr )