The day began with an AIM demonstration by Sarah Slee.
AIM (Accelerated Integrated Method) is a language program which originated in Canada by Wendy Maxwell. On the surface, AIM & TPRS seem quite alike but when you dig a little deeper, as we were generously given the opportunity to do, the differences though subtle, are many.
Here is the definition for AIM which can be found on the AIM website:
Sarah teaches French at a nearby primary school using this methodology and like us, began at the start of 2015. She has the total backing of her school leadership which has been wonderful because the kits do not come cheaply. We drooled over the kits she brought along. Each kit costs around $500 and includes a CD Rom, blackline masters, a teachers handbook and a big book of the story upon which the kit is based upon. Each part of the kit is chocker block full of ideas and suggestions and also comes with a teacher script for each and every lesson as well as a variety of assessment checklists!! The CD Rom includes high quality media resources including songs, story reading/ productions etc which recycle and extend the vocabulary being targeted for each story. The early years kits are based on familiar stories like Henny Penny & The 3 Little Pigs while the kits for older students are based on unfamiliar stories. AIM kits are available in several languages however Indonesian is not one of them. After watching the introductory video (also available on the website) we participated in a lesson. Sarah sat in front of us (we were in a horsehoe in front of her) with her book open on her lap to the very first lesson as none of us speak a word of French. She then led us through the very beginning of this lesson where she said a word/phrase while simultaneously gesturing and we repeated the phrase/word and copied the gesture. It was very challenging and really gave us a taste of what our lessons are like for our own students! It was a wonderful experience and went much longer than we both anticipated when planning the day! As you can imagine we were all totally blown away by the number of resources available to Sarah in each kit because we have absolutely nothing and have to create everything ourselves using the resources created for other languages as the base line! We also liked the idea of the gesture data bank AIM has as we believe that if we developed something similar, it would help students who move from school to school in our region. There are surprisingly quite a few!!
The next session was my presentation about circling. I revised what circling is and the prescribed format as per the links I gave in a previous post. We then watched the Blaine Ray/Carla Tarini YouTube video before having a go in pairs with one of the sentences from our ‘Spongebob mau minum’ (Spongebob is thirsty) story. The oppportunity to create a bank of sentences based on the circling format (statement, ask a yes question, ask a no question, ask an either or question and then a question that elicits more detail) with a partner provided a welcome opportunity for discussion which then led to a whole group general discussion about the specifics of story asking. We have, to date, began our stories with a focus on the target structures for several lessons before introducing the story itself. Some students find this excruciating because they enjoy the story telling so much that they become impatient with the percieved unnecessarily long lead in time! So with our next story, we want to see if we can par this down and begin the story asking earlier! Stay tuned for our reflections…….
After lunch, we were joined by Michelle Kohler (Flinders University) to discuss the Australian Curriculum in relation to designing TPRS assessment tasks. Michelle drove the 1 hour trip to PEPS straight from teaching preservice teachers at Flinders Uni and then headed straight off afterwards for another meeting, so we are incredibly grateful for her finding the time and energy to fit us into her very busy day! Michelle was closely involved with the creation of our Indonesian Languages Curriulum and it was insightful to discuss with her how language teachers are being required to assess and report against it. She was disappointed to hear that most principals are requiring Indonesian teachers to report against the Achievment Statements. She reminded us that ACARA is not an outcomes based document as SACSA was. The Achievement Standards are a reference point for typical student learning. They were not designed to drive assessment. Here is an extract from the DECD Guideline: Reporting on Australian Curriculum in DECD Schools Reception-Year 10 (v2)
Achievement Standards should be treated holistically, rather than as discrete elements to be achieved.
Michelle then led us through the strands clarifying each:
2.1 Systems of language
2.2 Language variation and change
2.3 Reflecting on the role of language and culture.
This gave us an opportunity to look at each from a TPRS/TCI viewpoint.
This is my extremely brief perception of how we cover each:
1.1 – kursi luar biasa, general story telling/asking,
1.2 – Movie talk, vPQA,
1.3 – Story asking/telling, free writes,
1.4 – popcorn reading, paper airplane reading, choral translations, comprehension checks,
1.5 – grammar pop-ups
2.1 – language discussions (in English) about vocabulary, grammar &/or spelling etc noticed by students in stories/ books.
2.2 – use and discussion of cognates and the increasing prevalence of English found in modern Indonesian eg kriket, komputer etc
2.3 -informal and formal discussions we have with our students before, during and after school visits by Indonesian nationals to heighten awareness of cultural and religious differences between Australians & Indonesians as well as between Christians & Muslims.
Please feel free to add to these by commenting below.
As you can probably tell, it was a fantastic day. Having the opportunity to collaborate together about issues relevant to our specialist learning area and invite guest speakers who can help us increase our experitise was so invaluable. My next task is to survey all who participated for feedback to help plan our next district SFD!