Using Puppets with Adults: A letter from Teddy Bear – Guest Post by Victor Mejia

Hi, my dear colleagues! This is probably one of the best guest posts I’ve had yet, so keep reading to see how you can use puppets with adults – yes, you hear me right, ADULT students!

A brave letter from a brave Teddy

Hey there, 

This is Teddy Bear. Don’t tell Victor and Milica, but I’ve hacked this article. You see, it’s very difficult for Victor to think like a teddy bear. He wondered how I felt being in a class of adults learning English since I usually have children, not adults. If I can be frank with you, it was scary. 

I remember that day I was announced. Victor said, “Guys, next class we will have a special guest. He’s not a manager. He’s not a businessman. He’s hasn’t even gone to the university. He’s a teddy bear…”

The room was silent for about a second until one student said, “What’s his name?” Apparently, Victor hadn’t thought about that and said, “His name is…Teddy Bear” Yes, my name is Teddy Bear. 

I’ve known Victor for a long time because I’ve sat in his house being unnoticed and unnecessary. His classes are quite boring because they always talk about work, news, history, and fancy words such as nevertheless or conundrum, whatever that means. However, adults seem to like it because they all give opinions and use those fancy words and phrases. 

The BIG day was here!

Well, the big day was here. I was taken out of the backpack and introduced one more time.

“This is Teddy Bear. He will be joining us for a few classes.” 

Wait, a few classes? I thought it was only one class!  I couldn’t see a child in that room, and smiles were missing as well.

“Today, we’re gonna practice a difficult element of grammar.”

Oh my, grammar.

“When you refer to a singular person or thing using the present simple, you must add an S to the verb.”

Booooring.

“For example,” Victor continued, “Teddy Bear likes to listen to music.” 

I do. I love music!

“Who wants to try?”

I felt so ashamed. Who would want to talk about a teddy bear?

“I’ll go,” said a very serious but elegant lady.

“Teddy looks happy today” I was terrified, but yes, I’m usually happy.

“He enjoys the children’s visits. Teddy has many friends. He makes me smile” My fear turned into an awkward feeling I rarely feel with adults. After that, I was comfortable and accepted. 

I couldn’t wait for the next class – I wanted to be with my new friends. Victor seemed happy because he would say things like, “Great sentence, great question, very creative” However, the climax came when Victor asked the students, “What have you learned these days with Teddy?” I was quite sure that Victor was referring to grammar…

Here are a few things the students said: 

  • It’s ok to act like a kid again.
  • Bringing another reality into the class really helps.
  • It helps me practice the third person use of the verb. 
  • We know Teddy won’t be mad if I make a mistake. 

A word from Alice/Milica

I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed reading every word of Victor’s article. This idea of using puppets with adults may seem insane, but there is a lot of innovative thinking in its insanity. Teaching adult students does not have to be repetitive or rigid, and thinking outside of the box is not only reserved for children. Being connected to your inner child is sometimes more effective than 1000 perfect business materials because guess what? Let’s bet that Victor’s students will remember Teddy for years to come, much more than any other materials they will encounter in their learning journey.

Do Teddy Bears have a place in the adult learning classroom? Well, at least in Victor’s class, they do, how about yours? Share your opinions and/or ideas about using puppets with adults in the comments, or write via the contact page!

About the author of the article – Meet Victor Mejia

Contact Victor Mejia via his LinkedIn profile or follow him on his Instagram! He recently started a podcast for students called One to One, so check that out as well!

In 2018, Victor Mejia had the opportunity to give his first educational conference in Edmodocon. He shared his ideas, ideals, and experiences with the world for the first time and knew he wasn´t so lost after all. As a freelance English teacher, he has more than a decade of experience teaching adults. He believes love is essential in education since he defines education as a relationship between actors and elements. Victor started to use blended learning a long time before the pandemic, which is why he has been able to share his experiences with several teachers in El Salvador in this transition to online learning. 

Despite the pandemic, he is grateful for the time at home with Majo, his wife, and Siloh, his daughter, who has a disability. Victor enjoys lesson planning with not-so-soft music in the background. He enjoys his Kindle and is always excited to jump into the books and explore his theology, education, and disability interests.

About Alice Glass

Alice is a 29 years old English teacher with a B.Ed and M.Ed. with a double minor (English teaching methodology for young learners and Serbian language teaching methodology). She is also a young but published academic researcher, materials designer, and an online ESL teacher for children in her own school, ELLoquent. She is passionate about teaching young learners, environmental education, storytelling & drama, and distance learning. Last but not least, she is a mother of an autistic toddler with SPD.

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