Show the students a photocopied list of many different animals (mammals,
amphibians ...), and ask them to choose, individually and without speaking,
an animal they would like to be for a day. Give them a minute. Then
(something they won't be expecting), get them to write a few sentences,
once again working alone, about their day, or their thoughts-as the animal
they have chosen. Give them a few minutes.
Needless to say, you will be surprised by the imagination of your students,
many of whom, I believe, love to indulge in moments of escapism-something
us teachers know all about!
For example, I had a group of five female students, three of whom chose to
be dolphins, one an eagle, and the last a bear.
What I got from one girl:
"I am a bear and I live with my friends in a mountain. I am happy, but when
I see a hunter I attack him, but when I see a tourist I shout at him".
"I am a dolphin, but I am sad because they have put me into a pool, where I
cannot move like before ...".
Now, what you can do is get the students to read/tell their story, adding
in extra bits as they go along.
Now, you can ask them why they chose this animal, and then go on to pick up
on what they said, expanding it into a session of exchanges between the
students, involving yourself if you feel like it.
Get a blank page and draw a circle in the centre. Then, place the words
"animal in captivity" inside the circle. Give each student a copy of the
page and tell them to do an INDIVIDUAL brainstorming exercise on the words
in the circle. That is, get them to draw lines from the circle, each line
leading up to a word or image suggested by the animal's situation. Give
them all a few minutes to do this.
This, we can call a word-map, or even a mind-map.
Next, get each student to read out the ideas that came spontaneously into
their heads as they thought. You can all marvel at the number of
differences-or similarities that arise, and go on to discuss the matter of
Don't forget to question students on why they put in such and such a thing.
Watch out for strange concepts!
Put all the pages together so that the students can somehow see the work
carried out by the rest.
Perhaps now, as a group, they could all focus on the main aspects of
animals in captivity.
You could then move on to debate issues like endangered species, whale
(B) TIGERS KILL TOURISTS (B)
Get the students to debate, or role play, the following incident: Two
German pensioners alighted from their car in a Spanish nature park in order
to get a better picture (christ!) of the tigers, who were relaxing in the
shade of a tree at the time. They were, bluntly, torn apart. There were
signs up in many languages warning people to stay in their cars ...
Should the animals be put down?
Should they be in nature reserves in the first place?
Here, you could mention the pros and cons of having a domestic animal-a
Submitted by Gerard Counihan