NOSTALGIA is one of the most under-rated ESL learning tools


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When we think of nostalgia we tend to think it only refers to old people, old people sitting on a park bench with their old friends talking about the old times.  But the truth is that nostalgia doesn’t have a time limit, we can experience nostalgia from something that happened not very long ago. The only thing that we do know about nostalgia is that it does have to have something to do with another time involving another situation, another environment and ultimately something that was very pleasant.

Good teachers naturally know that getting students to talk about themselves, their families and their experiences is the key to getting people talking. Let’s face it we all love talking about ourselves. But to look at it from a ‘nostalgic’ point of view is something quite new.

Get students to consider also times from long ago back in their country, back in their old home town, back into their world that was, not only just what is. The best form of nostalgia is when you have two students who experienced something similar from that time. Let them in English talk to each other about the same wonderful event, and jog each other’s memory about what the details were.

For example perhaps there are two students who experienced a great movie a few nights ago. They both found it funny and exciting. Let them share with each other in English what they both saw, let one finish the others sentences, or fill in the gaps on the really good parts. This is a kind of nostalgia that can really enhance someone’s English because two people are working on the same event to share with the class.

If students don’t share with the class, the exercise can be shared with the teacher at least for the teacher’s ability to assess the English.

Whether the students share or don’t share with the class, nostalgic exercises can genuinely be a wonderful way to get people talking, talking in English and discovering new vocabulary.

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