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A study in expressing feelings in poetry
Vineri, 08 Februarie 2013 20:38



Profesor Ştefănescu Adriana

Colegiul Tehnic „Regele Ferdinand I”, Timişoara



In expressing feelings, some of the pupils have to fight the tendency of becoming too explicit and thus spoil the meaning. On the other side, most of the children that were taught in a traditional way expect to have all at hand, so that they wouldn’t be forced into implying their personal opinions.

This study is about offering ways to render people’s feelings and attitudes towards life, as one of the main aims of the curriculum for the ninth graders is to describe everyday existence. It also tries to find solutions on describing what pupils have to say when it comes to rendering their feelings.


            Let’s start with a question: “How do you feel?”


            This activity is mostly a theoretical one and tries to build the foundation for the work they are going to achieve. It deals with expressing present feelings and classifies them into categories. 

Time: 50 minutes

Level: upper-intermediate

Materials: pen and paper, blackboard

Aims:    - give examples of attitudes and moods 

            - make a classification of feelings

Type of lesson: revision


            For this activity students didn’t have any practical part. They had only discussions at the end of which they came up with different solutions.

            At the beginning of the lesson the students were asked to express the way they felt that day. More of them were bored as the English class was the final one. Some of them were anxious to go out as the weather outside was rather tempting. For the latter group anxiety was associated with loudness and noise. For me it was the right moment to put the word “bored” on the blackboard and ask them to give me other words expressing feelings that ended in “-ed”. They came up with quite numerous examples. Then I asked them to switch to another category of adjectives, those that ended in “-y’. At last, I made them give examples of adjectives that belonged to neither of the two previous groups.

            After we tried to classify them in terms of form, I asked my students to speak about adjectives that are different in meaning, that is the adjectives with positive and negative connotations. For the negative examples they mentioned two groups: the ones that are preceded by the prefix “un-“and the ones that take the suffix “less”. That was our debate about the classification that they could achieve in terms of adjectives.

            The following part of the lesson was meant as an introduction in the technique of showing vs. telling. As I previously stated, my students had given me names of different states of mind that they were in at that moment. Thus, it was the opportune moment to make my students think and talk about these in another manner. I asked my students to choose one of the adjectives that were scattered on the blackboard, regardless of the category they were put in, and make a statement in which he/she described the feeling chosen without stating the word “feeling” or the corresponding verb. The statement had to contain effective clues so that we could eventually guess the feeling they wrote about.

            At first the students were shocked and said they could not do such a thing because they had no idea how to render a feeling with concrete words. I had anticipated the reaction, that is why I made them understand the exercise as a kind of riddle that was supposed to be funny. I also mentioned that the guessers and also the most accurate writers would be granted extra points (in the first year of high school the students are very concerned about their grades, especially because their families reward them for their merits during the summer holiday) because I noticed that once you promise them chances to improve their grades they all get more enthusiastic and try harder to achieve their goals. The students liked this idea and started to write their “riddles” the way they could imagine.

            At the end of the activity I asked for a few volunteers and a got quite many as they were very eager to impress the others. Here are some interesting examples:

“I am like a chicken with flu”. (=dizzy) (Vladi)

“I look like a priest at a funeral.” (=bored) (Nicoleta)

“I could eat a pig.” (=hungry) (Gabi)

“I could drink my sweat.” (=thirsty) (Valentin)



1. Bălan, Radu and Carianopol, Miruna (ed.). Pathway  to English, English my Love (Student’s Book 9th grade). Bucureşti: Editura Didactică şi Pedagogică, 2004

2. British Council. Creative Writing, Handbook for English Language Teachers. Bratislava, 2001

3. Brumfit, C. J. and  Carter, R. A. Literature and Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986

4. McRae, John. Literature with a Small "l". London and Basingstoke: Macmillan Publisher Limited, 1991


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