I’ve been having students in both my mainstream ninth-grade English class and my Intermediate English class visualize being great readers, writers, and speakers (and imagine people praising them for it) twice-a-day for thirty or so seconds each. It’s voluntary, though everyone has to be silent and motionless during that time. About forty percent of the students in my ninth-grade class say they’re doing it, while seventy percent in my Intermediate English class say they are. You can read more about it here.
I had given my ELL students a cloze (fill-in-the-blank) a couple of months ago when we first started, and just scored the results of a new cloze they took yesterday. I’ll have the results from my mainstream ninth-grade class tomorrow.
The first cloze was fairly easy for students, so I made this one a little harder. Even with that increased difficulty, the students who had been visualizing English success daily had an average score of exactly the same both times — 78%.
The four students who say they had not been doing the visualizing scored 70% the first time around. They only scored an average of 43% in this second one — a drop of 27 percentage points.
Of course, this drop might very well just be a correlation, and not have anything to do with not doing visualization. The students doing the visualization might be harder workers in general than those who are not, or some of the students not doing visualization might have been feeling ill yesterday — there could be many factors at play.
Better research than mine, though, has documented that this kind of exercise can provide a positive benefit to English Language Learners in particular.
I’m certainly going to continue doing it in my Intermediate English class — it can’t hurt. And, visualization or no visualization, I need to pay more attention to those students whose scores dropped.
By the way, here’s a video of the arm exercise Jim Peterson did in my class that is described in my book, Self-Driven Learning. You can also visit Jim’s website, Alpha Mind Coaching: