I spoke about the idea of having an Untrophy at my talk “Encouraging children to communicate in English” at the IATEFL-TESOL Chile Conference “Communication, culture & community” in July of this year.
My Untrophy is a potato with a flag in it saying: Speak in English! English, please! and other messages my pupils understand.
An UnTrophy is given to a pupil who is speaking L1 all the time. This pupil can then pass it on to the next person they hear speaking L1. The person holding the UnTrophy at the end of class has a forfeit to do – tidy the classroom and clean the board or simply being the last to leave class. You could get your students to write forfeits and then they have to pick one out of a bag, but it has to be something they would do themselves. My forfeits are never things like more homework in English as I don’t want to make homework into a punishment.
I received an email from Cindy Cifuentes Canouet, one of the participants from the conference with how she and her pupils in 7th grade developed the idea further. Cindy wrote: One day one of the girls brought two eyes for Mr. Potato because she was sad that he couldn’t see! The next day, another girl asked me if she could take Mr. Potato home because she wanted him to have a mouth and a hat! And so on and so forth… They don’t want to leave Mr. Potato in the classroom at weekends!!!!!
As you can see from the next photo, there is now a Mrs. Potato! Two potatoes on the ‘Speak in English’ patrol! I ask myself if there will be any new additions to the family and if they will keep up the family tradition of being on ‘Speak in English’ patrol! Could Mr. & Mrs. Potato’s children be used to monitor behaviour and be on ‘Be good in class’ patrol? or ‘Be nice to others’ ?
Parental permission has been given for these photos to be posted on the blog.
I want to say a big THANK YOU to Cindy and her class.