Kursi Luar Biasa

I read of an idea in which individual students enjoy being interviewed just before Sharon pointed out that we haven’t fully covered aspects of the 3-4 & 5-6 curriculum regarding student personal information.  To me the idea of a special star student seemed a terrific way to not only cover this aspect of our curriculum but would also give middle and upper primary students the chance to shine and enjoy the limelight answering questions about themselves to a captive audience.

I have also been toying with the idea of how to widen student knowledge of Indonesian exclamations, so I decided to combine both together with ‘murid luar biasa’ and translated it to students as ‘the awesome student’ however this didn’t feel right, so in the second week I changed it to kursi luar biasa and for some reason, it felt better. Luar biasa is now the new Indonesian catch phrase and has been used constantly – to my delight!

I took the secretary chair and covered it with the beautiful Batak shawl Pak Pahot gave me in February and transformed it into the kursi luar biasa.

  I explained to students that anyone can sit in the chair with ‘first in, best dressed’ (rewards students who get to class on time) however once they’ve had a turn, they can not sit in it again util everyone who wants a go has done so.
While I only trialled the kursi luar biasa for 2 weeks, it was hugely successful. I began with our stock kenalkan questions and was pleasantly relieved just how much students have remembered even though we haven’t had a ‘kenalkan’ focus since term 1 2014!! This reaffirms my belief in the power of TCI/TPRS.  Next I started thinking of other questions I could ask students and that proved challenging. Questions that incorporated language structures they were familiar with and ones that students could answer using just the language they have acquired so far.

While I had thought my questions were largely lame, all students who have chosen to sit in the kursi luar biasa chair must disagree with this because there has been no shortage of volunteers. What I have enjoyed in particular is the opportunity to talk to  just one student and learn something surprising about them. I learned that one of my families has a pet snake, which was compelling for the class as well as for me!! It was pure gold because I could circle this information to include other students by asking if they too owned a snake, who was scared of snakes, have you seen a snake, are there snakes at school etc. E.g. Jodie sudah lihat ular di sekolah or  Jamie mau lihat ular di sekolah? Another student told us using ‘gado gado’ that her budgie had died that morning because her grandmothers dog had killed it. I’d never have known if not for her choosing to sit in the chair that day. But the most heart warming part of this was when the entire class said with compassion, “kasihan” that I knew the kursi luar biasa is well worth continuing with.

The session goes for as long as I feel that I  have whole class engagement and once I run out of questions or the class starts getting restless, we stop and move on. It is the perfect way to ask students personal questions in context and get repetitions of this language. I am looking forward to honing my questioning  techniques next year as well as developing a bank of questions which not only rely on known language structures but also lend themselves to open-ended answers.

Questions I have used so far include:

Tinggal dimana?

Umur berapa?

Siapa nama?

Kelas berapa?

Punya adik?

Punya kakak?

Siapa nama adik/ kakak/ ibu/bapak?

Punya anjing/kucing/tikus/burung?

Suka warna apa?

Suka makan apa?

Kemarin kemana?

Mau punya apa?
Feel free to add suggestions!!

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