Circling Demo Videos 

Thanks Karen for your comment about English circling demos. Nothing like watching a demo in either English or a lesson for raw beginners in an unfamiliar language to fully grasp the skills of circling. 

A few points to remember firstly:


 I’ve done a quick search on YouTube and here are a few that I recommend. I’ll keep adding to this collection as I find more!! 

Watch and let me know what you think!! 

Here are a couple of videos of teachers teaching a class for their first ever language lesson: firstly Michele Whaley teaches Russian: 

Here is Eric Herman teaching English: https://youtu.be/nRu-3TR8A2M

Advertisements

Meeting Blaine Ray in Sydney

Annie and I are heading home after 2 unforgettable days in Sydney with Blaine Ray. What an amazing time and I still can’t believe how fortunate we have been.


Firstly how lucky were we to have Blaine Ray to ourselves almost for 24 hours! We did share him on Tuesday with Stef and her son Daniel, but considering that she is heading up to the conference in Brisbane this Friday, this was a bonus! We were able to pepper him with questions and then listen to his explanations while taking notes. It felt like our own personal workshop specifically tailored for our needs and level. Words simply cannot express how amazing this was and we’ll always be indebted to Blaine for his kindness and patience. 

Secondly, we were able to practise our note taking skills ready for next week’s inaugural TPRS conference on the Fleurieu Peninsular with Terry Waltz & Lizette Liebold! It has been fascinating comparing our notes and seeing the huge gaps in my notes where at times I must have become so engrossed in the conversation I forgot to write anything down! Annie has diligently cross referenced both sets of our notes and created a version that incorporates everything and then on top of that has presented it out beautifully.

(This is from Blaine’s advice that whenever you get universal agreement with a response, never accept it. Choose the opposite and surprise them! Never accept the obvious; eliminate the expected!) 

And thirdly, it was simply a lovely break spending 2 nights in Sydney and being a tourist in such a beautiful city with like minded people. We spent most of our time together either walking or eating along the scenic waterfront. Except for the initial trip to our hotel from the airport, all of the travel we (Annie & Cathy) did in Sydney was either by ferry or by train and this is definitely the best way to travel. The ferry system is efficient and relaxed. It was just lovely sitting or standing on the ferries enjoying the gorgeous scenery and the cool breezes with the added occasional bonus of sea spray. The trains too were great. So much quicker and took us directly to the domestic terminal which was in direct contrast to our long and tiring trip on arrival which took at least an hour of zig zagging throughout the CBD streets of Sydney. I’m so grateful that Annie talked me into exploring alternative travel options for our return to the airport!


What a generous and gracious person Blaine Ray is. He happily and enthusiastically shared his knowledge with us and was genuinely impressed to discover that we are 2 of 3 language teachers on the south coast who have been teaching with TPRS in since 2014. He told us afterwards that he had presumed we had only recently heard about TPRS and therefore surmised that our discussions would lack any deep TPRS connection. In fact we spent every single minute chatting about various aspects of TPRS and Blaine answered all of our questions and gave many demos to illustrate his points. He also encouraged us to share all that we learned; a huge relief because I couldn’t wait to write up this post!  I particularly appreciated his personal stories which clearly illustrate his open mindedness towards improving TPRS, unlike others who have created a successful model and then constantly ‘protect’ the model/concept fiercely. Blaine told us of several instances where he had witnessed or discussed with a practising TPRS teacher a successful idea of theirs, which he  immediately saw the value of incorporating it into TPRS procedure and then gave that teacher full credit for that update! Alina Filipescu is one such teacher and after seeing several of her youtube videos, I fully understand why Blaine Ray would be impressed by her teaching.

His explanation and demonstration of the 5 steps of teaching a sentence is a procedure I aim to focus on this upcoming term. I particularly would like to work on this to ensure that I am story asking rather than story listening. I can finally understand how we can create a class story based on the target structure. His advice of writing out a script beforehand with a few planned surprises (should the student ideas be too predictable) would help as my mind goes blank when I am in front of a class. He did reassure us though, by saying that once you get started and students get the hang of suggesting the unexpected, we will begin to build up a bank of great surprises perfect for our cohorts that can be drawn upon when needed. I liked his mantra of rejecting the expected; I can fully understand now that choosing an idea that is sooo off the planet ramps up the class stories to make it even more compelling. Blaine demonstrated this with us all at Watson’s Bay with a sentence about a chicca called Annie. He circled this sentence using his 5 steps with us as the class. Whatever we suggested, he would shake his head and reject it with a disappointed look on his face and so we would dig deeper to outdo each other to come up with even better unpredictable ideas. However he continued to reject our suggestions and would then use his own which were always better than ours. I also loved his comeback when I told him that his story didn’t make sense to me; “This is my story and if you don’t like it, go and write your own story.”

Here are the 5 steps of teaching a sentence:

  1. Annie was a girl.
  2. Annie, are you a girl?
    (If the actor doesn’t have the language to answer in the target language, she/he can either read it or mouth it while the teacher provides the voice.)
  3. Yes, I am a girl.
    (The actor must answer in complete sentences confidently as this provides input for the class and is also a clear indicator of the extent to which the whole class ‘gets it’. Any errors or hesitation are indicators that more repetition is necessary.)
  4. Yes, you are a girl.
    (teacher verifies the response)
  5. Class, Annie was a girl.
    (Teacher speaks to the whole class)


This leads on nicely to Blaine’s comments about actors. He made it very clear that choosing good actors is critical. He explained about having auditions to select the best actor which is an idea I’ve tried but not while focusing on the target structure which would be an awesome way in which to add additional input, rehearse the structure and develop student confidence. A good actor must be enthusiastic, must want to try and must have the mindset that this is a cool class. We loved his line that actors have the opportunity to be in the movie rather than to just watch it!

If however, the actor is not performing (maybe he/she is shy or reluctant to act in an exaggerated fashion), try whispering in their ear hints or even demonstrating the required action and if they are still unable to act in the engaging manner required, it may be necessary to replace them. Choosing a bad actor gives negative messages to all the students about our subject. Blaine’s statement that every teacher has a battle for the students hearts resonates for me in my school where we can have up to 5 specialist teachers on top of their class teacher and other support staff. He says the way to win their hearts is through comprehension and play!


Our meals with Blaine were spent juggling our plates & cutlery with our notebooks & pen. Meal times were perfect times to focus on specific aspects of TPRS. The first evening, Annie took notes while I hesitated to pull out my book. Afterwards back at the hotel, I quickly wrote down all that I could remember and was horrified at how much detail I couldn’t remember. From then on, as soon as Blaine began talking, I would whip out my note book and note down the salient points using some of the shorthand I haven’t used since teachers college lectures! 


Over our first al fresco breakfast in Pyrmont, Blaine discussed circling. Questions are the backbone of TPRS and are the key difference between TPRS teaching and everything else. He told us of studies which showed that TPRS teachers ask 3-4 questions a minute whereas legacy teachers rarely ask ANY questions. Questioning is critical because it gives students the opportunity to rehearse while giving the teacher the opportunity to get repetitions on just one sentence.

Here are his 7 rules of circling:

  • Never circle in the same order (too predictable)
  • Use either/or on any part of the sentence (subject, verb, object)
  • Always have a bias towards asking negative questions as they are more challenging
  • Use your question words and point and pause to give processing time
  • Add information to the sentence to create a new sentence. Either circle the longer sentence or part of the longer sentence; whatever is necessary for your students and this is evident through your actor. Eg. Girl wants a monkey, Girl want a big/small monkey, Girl wants a big monkey that speaks Chinese/dog,
  • add a new character (parallel character)
  • add yourself (teacher)

It’s all about asking different people different questions based on the same structure. If it feels boring, ramp it up by adding another character, a celebrity, a celebrity’s pet cat. Adding something new makes it more interesting. Speak to each character. Eg. Are you a cat? What languages do you speak? You are very clever. Each new piece of information can be added to the sentence being circled or just circle the new addition depending on the level of actor confidence and continue till the actor ‘sooo gets it’! If a student actor hesitates or has errors in their answer, this indicates that the class also needs more circling on that sentence. Blaine requires actors to respond in complete sentences to provide further output for the class however class responses are limited to one word responses. In this YouTube video you can see him demonstrating this:

 https://youtu.be/9DRblDN2sXY

Just as critical though are student responses. He told us about Alina Filipescu who coaches her students to give powerful responses. I am definitely going to investigate that idea as I agree it is a skill that needs explicit teaching. 

Answering questions demonstrates comprehension and understanding.
Blaine has 3 procedures for evidence of student engagement

They are:

  • Respond to new statements with ‘ahh’.
  • If I ask a question, respond in the target language.
  • If I ask a question and you don’t know the answer, guess in the target language. Surprise me with your guess and if you don’t surprise me, I will surprise you!

This conversation led us neatly onto the 2 Rules for Students in class:

  • NO social talking
  • Never speak negatively about this class.Regarding point 2, Blaine recommends teaching early on a phrase such as, “I like this class” (Kelas Bahasa Indonesian keren) and whenever a student speaks negatively about the lesson or class, insist they repeat this phrase while reminding them of rule no 2. Personally I can’t remember anyone stating publicly in class that they dislike my classes or lessons, I just get occasional glowering glares or disengaged expressions which I usually do not draw attention to and work harder to turn their attitude around. For one student this happened when she became the class artist.

 

A major theme that underlay every discussion we had with Blaine was student confidence and teacher patience. He highly recommends all language teachers experience learning a totally new language to fully enable us to  empathise with our students. Teacher thinking about language learning is usually wrong. We have forgotten just how it feels to be a learner and why students want and need patience from their teacher. Teachers can not make their students learn any faster, the only way we can help with their acquisition is to provide more repetition.

Always respond with love and patience until your students CAN:

C= Confidence

A= Accuracy

N= No hesitation.

 

We want new language learners (slow processors) to become confident fast processors which is the goal of TPRS. Writing translations up on the board can make a big difference with this. Did you realise that your brain starts from the point where it is confident? How much sense does that make! It explains why we can hear the same talk/ explanation several times and yet pick up different facts each time! This is relevant for language learners too! Each time we repeat a structure, it solidifies in the learners mind and helps them become more confident. Every learner is different and begins at a different point. TPRS students are at one of the following stages:

~ understanding

~ getting it

~ soo getting it.

Obviously it the final stage we are aiming for with our students!
 

Post Script:

This post is my grasp of Blaine’s explanations. I hope it is true to his understandings and should there be any errors, I fully accept that they are evidence of my ongoing and constantly developing comprehension of TPRS. 

Teaching Spanish w Comprehensible Input- Haste Not Waste

An awesome blog written by Señora Hitz. The blog includes many awesome suggestions and those I believe are appropriate for Aussie teachers can be found on my TCI activities pages found on the home page in the top right hand corner. 

Posts like this, for me, help me to stop and reflect upon an important aspect of TCI/TPRS teaching. They help me to remember and appreciate what second language acquisition is truly like for my students. I hope it helps you too not only with understanding SLOW but also the many facets of SLOW. 

Read and contemplate the truths of ‘Haste a Not Waste’. 

Two Introductory TCI/TPRS Workshops -MLTASA & CLTSA

Over the weekend, Bu Annie, Ibu Sharon & I attended 2 conferences; 1. MLTASA (Modern Languages Teachers Association SA) in the morning and 2. CLTASA (Chinese Language Teachers Assoc) in the afternoon. When we first heard that both associations were holding their annual conference on the same day, we were incredibly disappointed as we were committed to present at MLTASA while Ian & Caitlin (2 TCI Chinese teachers from QLD) were presenting at CLTSA. Luckily our presentations did not clash and we were able to get from EDC to Napier House in good time. However the locked door into Napier House cut short our celebratory hand pumps and thankfully Ian had his phone on! 

The MLTASA conference began with a plenary by Sean Keenihan, who spoke about ‘the role and value of Languages education in schools – a business perspective’. Sean wears many hats and most relate to his Chinese proficiency, dating back to his high school days. When asked how to encourage students to learn a language he reflected with this: after graduation as one of hundreds of lawyers, he was the first from his year to be employed and this was entirely due to his bilingualism. His graphs illustrated recent growth figures in the SA tourism sector and he also talked about the growing state of global business. These two sectors are a just 2 of many that have a huge and growing demand for bilingual employees and thus being bilingual is giving many job seekers  an X factor, making them highly desirable in a competitive job market. Apparently only 30 of the 700 2015 SA lawyer  graduates were employed! I wonder what their X factor was? 

Our workshop, ‘Teaching Languages with TCI/TPRS’ was to be held in the larger room at EDC due to the large number of participants who had signed up for it. What an awesome way to begin!! We began by asking participants to bring their chairs to the front of the room and to sit in a semi circle facing the screen. As this was our first ever presentation and indeed our first ever attendance at MLTASA, we had no idea what to expect. One thing we were looking forward to was an audience of largely non Indonesian speaking teachers, who would experience our demo lesson from a student perspective and therefore hopefully feel the power of TCI even more dramatically than our Indonesian speaking colleagues. Our presentation began with introducing ourselves, outlining our TCI journey, and giving a brief explanaton of the acronyms TCI, TPRS & TPR. Due to the short amount  of time we had available and that we were a little late starting (domino effect of the 2nd plenary speaker running over time), our introduction was minimal. We felt that a demo would be more powerful than heaps of information. 

Our demo focused on the Pleased To Meet You (written by Jim Tripp) story. We began with establishing meaning of the target structures (siapa nama, nama saya, astaga, berkata – what’s your name, my name is, OMG, said), before giving a circling demo on siapa nama & nama saya. Sharon then established the ‘Stop – I don’t understand!’ gesture before telling the story. Afterwards she did a comprehension check and everyone gave her a thumbs up!! We had a little time for questions and we were very relieved that attending MLTASA was a high school French TPRS teacher!! It was awesome to connect with Zelda who has been working alone for 2 years – we take our hat off to you! Zelda was able to respond to questions that came from secondary language teachers – a cohort we have had the greatest difficulty connecting with as we have no secondary experience. Our promise to them that TPRS was designed initially for secondary students by a secondary language teacher rarely helps. Zelda’s contribution and support was invaluable.  

It wasn’t till much later, that Sharon realised that in our nervousness, the reduced workshop time and our determination to leave punctually, we forgot to mention anything about the unit of work we had created around this story to help participants trial a unit in their classrooms!! Oops. So if you were one of those participants and you would like a copy, contact me via my learn link address on the handout and I’ll happily forward it to you. 

We arrived at Napier House just before the post lunch conference sessions were about to begin, to our relief. Ian & Caitlin opened the locked doors which gave us time to quickly introduce ourselves to each other and chat briefly while heading upstairs to the auditorium. The entire afternoon schedule had been assigned to Ian & Caitlin! Imagine your only time constraint being getting to the airport in time for your flight home! We were slightly in awe and also a teeny (OK- a lot) envious!! Maybe next year, we need to ask for a double workshop session? 

Ian & Caitlin spent the first hour talking to a powerpoint which introduced TCI/TPRS to their audience of Chinese teachers. The powerpoint thoroughly explained TPRS, outlined how it differs from traditional/currrent language teaching methods, included several short videos of Ian teaching highly engaged year 7’s, year 10 free writes (290 words) , cold character reading , students talking positively about learning Chinese via TCI methodology, students reading unfamiliar texts fluently and a short yet highly engaging demo by Caitlin establishing meaning for ‘wants to eat’. As a student, I could immediately see the value of having the target structures clearly written on one side of the smartboard page and on the other side were other necessary vocabulary just as Diane Neubauer does.I hadn’t actually understood the beauty of this until that point! I also think I need to investigate buying a clicker gadget next year – it would be so convienent to turn the powerpoint pages from wherever I am in my class room!  

Ian & Caitlin stopped talking after an hour to give everyone a break and they were immediately swamped with people asking questions! The amount of interest was brilliant.  During their presentation, I could hear teachers around me commenting to each other quietly but unfortunately it was all in Chinese. 

During this break, it suddenly became clear, that the next session would have to be shortened significantly to prevent Ian & Caitlin missing their flight home to QLD. Particiapants were quickly called back into the auditiorium to answer any last minute questions. In no time at all, they were being presented with bottles of SA wine and the mad dash to the airport began. 

Thankfully we had offered to take them to the airport as this provided us all with a precious window for solid 2017 planning. We all acknowledge the need to arrange high quality training in Australia asap and are keen to collaborate on this by inviting a guest out to Australia next January to provide us all with much needed expert training before the 2017 school year begins! It would be awesome if the person  who comes out, is happy to travel as then we could offer training in a few states which will be much more affordable to participants! If this all happens, would you be interested in attending and how much would you be prepared to pay to participate? Considering our only option at the moment is a flight to either America or Europe ($$), it would be considerably cheaper and so much easier if this eventuates! Please comment below with any thoughts. We need your feedback! The more interest, the better! 

Student Free Day notes…..

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:

1.1 Socialising

1.2 Informing

1.3 Creating

1.4 Translating/mediating

1.5 Reflecting

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!

Membagi Ide Bagus – Student Free Day Links for Circling & Assessment

I would like to share with you a variety of links which we will either be covering at our PLC Student Free Day or will be useful as a follow-up afterwards. This hopefully will make it easier if all the links are together so that we can refer back to it later or pass on to others who were unable to join us.

Our schedule for the day will be:

8:30 – 9:00am meet and greet, grab a cuppa

9am  Aim (French) demo with Sarah Slee

10am Circling workshop

11am break

11:30am Strategies to assist with recording student progress

1pm Lunch

1;45pm Assessment & ACARA
– Assessment and reporting parameters and issues
– Designing assessments to reflect the AC intentions and AS
– Connections between TPRS & the AC

4pm finish

 

Links include:

Circling

1, Martina Bex has a great post entitled, What is Circling and it includes a free PDF hand out.

2. Terry Waltz has  circling cards available through her website, Mandarin Through Comprehensible Output as well as a Prezi demonstrating how to use them.

3. TPRS Q & A also has a post called What is Circling And How to do It?

4. TPRS Q & A is a great blog and this post entitles What Does the Goddess Laurie Clarq say about Circling is well worth reading.

5. A French Demo At a Blaine Ray Workshop – Carla Tarini is being coached by Blaine Ray on how to circle.

6. Circling does not always go smoothly or predictably which can be said of just about anything involving children and/animals, so they say! Keith Toda wrote a blog entitle Circling Troubleshooting which will help you identify why your circling efforts may not feel successful!

7. Here is another great video! This one is of Terry Waltz working with students for their first Chinese lesson. Here you can see Terry demonstrate a multitude of skills one of which is circling!

8. TPRS Lesson Demonstration – Great PDF which breaks down of circling

Assessment

1. Martina Bex posted recently, End of Term Assessments which although definitely aimed at high school teachers, included some great ideas & interesting clarifications.

2. Fluency Writes (Free Writes) by Judith Dubios on her fantastic blog called TPRS Witch can be read here: http://tprs-witch.com/fluency-writing-2/ This post explains both what fluency writes are and why they are so useful.

3. Bryce Hedstrom’s Blooms Taxonomy for Foreign Language Instruction

 

Looking forward to our Student Free Day!! See you there and thank-you for supporting it!

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!!