Focusing on the positives

I have just had a new intake of young people who are all
absolutely amazing  but are all unfortunately seriously lacking in confidence. Therefore I decided to run a session that would hopefully start to change the students perceptions of themselves.

All of these students are unemployed and have started the basic skills
course that I run in the hope of up-skilling and finding employment. Therefore I disguised the confidence building session in the guise of writing covering letters.

Today I’m going to blog about the starter activities.

The students had spent the previous session job hunting and they’d
all found vacancies that they wanted to apply for. I started the session by discussing how everybody finds it difficult to sell themselves. We then talked about how the job and apprenticeship markets are really fierce and how the students would really have to point out what is good about themselves and why they are they are suitable for the vacancies that they are applying for in order to stand out from the crowd and secure employment.

We began the session by brainstorming positive personality words such
as reliable, hardworking, punctual, trustworthy and approachable. The students then created an individual mind map detailing their positive personality traits and any other personal information that made them suitable for the sector that they are applying for; including how looking after their younger siblings related to a career in childcare.

The class then discussed how any one can write positive things about
themselves and how employers want to see examples to prove that what they are saying is true. The students then bullet pointed examples under the positive personality traits.

The students then used their mind maps as inspiration and began to
write their own covering letters.

The students really enjoyed the brainstorming activity and
particularly the opportunity to discuss and focus on the positive aspects of


My favourite piece of kit

Post-it notes.

Post-it notes are one of the cheapest, most colourful and useful pieces of teaching kit that I own. You can write on them, leave them blank, stick them to walls, floors, pieces of paper… Their uses are varied and plentiful. Post-it notes are also a fantastic tool for creating kinesthetic activities as the tutor or students could write words on the post-it notes then move them around to create sentences, questions, statements or stories etc

I  have found post it notes to be an  invaluable tool especially when I’ve needed to create fun and interactive resources against a restrictive time frame.

Recently, as part of a lesson on interview techniques to L1 and L2 learners, I used  post it notes as a way of challenging the learners to create answers to interview questions by moving the words around to create new sentences which formed model answers to the interview questions.


To extend the life of the resource, photocopy the sheet once the post-it notes have been jumbled up and laminate the photocopy. Then the students can cross words off once they’ve been used and the resource will last much longer than the individual post-it notes will.

I originally jumbled up all of the words up on the page but my learners found this to be extremely challenging therefore it is more effective to group the post-it notes by questions.