windows of the mind

 In Emotional Intelligence in ESL classrooms


When your advanced students have read «Windows of the Mind» whilst listening to the audios and have completed after reading assignments like group discussions, written tasks or role-plays for instance, allow some time to enjoy this Mindfulness practice in the classroom connected with the senses that will not take too long and will create an emotional connection within the group.




Considering the students seemed to have enjoyed this chapter the most, «A Nose for a Story» has been selected as today’s in-class extensive reading activity. In fact, «smell» is understood to be the sense that was first developed in our reptilian brain. One effective way to connect with the present moment thus helping the brain to reset, de-stress and renew is through the senses. It has also been proven that bringing awareness to exteroceptive senses and bodily sensations [Mindfulness] can develop our cognitive learning skills and that our abilities to engage in tasks can improve when emotions are involved. The theory of senses and how emotions can be created through sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch is highlighted during this practice.


As a warm-up activity you can ask your students to watch this extraordinary talk on «the sense of smell, memory and emotions» by Dr Nazareth Castellanos at the Prado museum (Madrid, Spain) which they will surely find fascinating.


Present this activity by building up as much excitement and curiosity as possible.

So bring a nice box into the classroom and carefully leave it on the table in the middle of the room. Invite students to stand up close around the table, and brainstorm what they can imagine is in the box. Then open the box slowly and ask them to take one of the contents each [unlabelled perfume bottles] and use adjectives describing their sensations and perceptions as they smell the scents.

As the chapter is about writers you can provide this link with vocabulary prior to the task.

When they have taken their time to choose their favourite perfumes and are emotionally connected to the activity and their classmates, encourage them to share to whom they would like to present these perfumes and why. For instance, «this perfume would suit my daughter ideally because of its sweet fragrance and its pleasant scent».


The activity can be perfect for the run-up to Christmas.


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