For All Teachers

Group Pulse

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  1. Have the group form a circle, facing the center.
  2. Demonstrate the “schwa” sound; a schwa is the name given to the middle sound in a language. In English this is a relaxed, unstressed open sound. It is the word “huh” and can be any length from a short pulse (“huh”) to a long sigh, “huuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh.”
  3. Now ask participants to hold hands all the way around the circle. Select one to start by squeezing his or her right hand. The partner to the right will respond by squeezing their right hand as quickly as possible.
  4. Continue this squeeze/pulse around the circle. Everyone can see it travel through everyone’s hands like an electrical current.
  5. Once everyone is familiar with this, continue with closed eyes.
  6. Now introduce the “schwa” sound everyone did earlier. When the pulse comes to each participant, the response is a hand squeeze as well as an open “huuuuh” at the same time.
  7. Make sure everyone keeps their eyes closed. They will hear the open sound travel around the circle. This can be very unusual, especially if the sound is a little long and blends with the next person in the circle.
  8. Ask participants to be as quick as possible in sending the pulse as soon as they receive it. It must feel instantaneous, like an electric signal.
  9. Eventually, it might happen that the entire group makes this sound almost simultaneously.

TIP: The ‘schwa’ is the central sound in English pronunciation. Through this exercise the participants will learn it without having to concentrate on it.

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