Back at Uni….

The amazing rollercoaster ride finished temporarily last night and I now have 5 weeks of NOTHING to look forward to! What do I mean? Well….. I am back at university and have just completed the first semester of my Master of Education – Languages. Literally, just finished! I handed in my final two assignments last night however it wasn’t till this morning that I finally felt the relief.

Have you ever been tempted to go back to uni? If you have, then I wholeheartedly encourage you to look into it. For me, I wish I’d done this years ago. Not only has it been too long since I completed my Batchelor of Education (30+ years), but everything I have studied so far has been significantly more practical and enjoyable; I am itching to put it to the test.

IMG_8832

Looking north west from the third floor library window. Love the various magpies that keep me company!

In semester one, I completed 4 compulsory units;
– Motivation, cognition and metacognition,
– Approaches to research,
– Developing Literacies through intercultural language teaching
and
– Exploring languages pedagogy.
Which one do you think looks the most interesting and practical for teachers? Surprisingly for me, it was the one that I least expected to connect with. It was without a doubt, the first one. This was for many reasons; all of which are fascinating from a teacher/learner perspective, especially when you consider that initially I was ‘amotivated’. Even though the weekly workshop was only 60 minutes long, the pedagogy of the class was spot on and reflected the course content. We covered an interesting selection of topics including self efficacy, Deci & Ryan’s model of self determination, memory and the theories suggesting how  information is processed so as to be transferred to long term memory. Did you know that working memory has a very short 15- 30 second limit for retaining thoughts/information unless it is attached to meaning or constantly attended to eg repeating it over and over (sound familiar?)  Another fascinating fact relevant for us CBLT (comprehension based language teaching) teachers is that short term memory functions best if new information is limited. 7 is the maximum quantity of information that can be processed at any one time in our working memory (Miller), yet when this information is in the form of words, 3 – 4 items is the ideal number. Please keep this in mind when tempted to use unfamiliar vocabulary in a lesson!

While I have loved many, many aspects of my postgraduate study, there have been two aspects that have been very frustrating. The first is the strong anti CLT (Communicative Language Teaching) sentiment and the other is the heavy intercultural language learning emphasis. Both have been confronting because there appears to be little room for negotiation, although I am hoping to push back a little more from now on.

When I first heard Bill VanPatten talk about the anti CLT rhetoric, I really didn’t understand just how strong it is. At the chalkboard, we are largely protected from it in Australia, however at the tertiary level, it is loud and strong. All set readings about CLT were written by ignorant authors whose understanding of CLT is based solely on opinion gained from seemingly flicking through a ‘CLT’ textbook. I’ve discovered that the majority of my class colleagues come from countries whose curriculum is delivered compulsorily through designated ‘CLT’ texts, however I fail to understand how a constant diet of negativity supports them in any way. I hear them say over and over, that their curriculum content and delivery is set by the government, yet they are still expected to design lesson plans and unit plans based on other approaches. How is that good pedagogy?

My other beef has been with intercultural language teaching. While it has been fascinating to have the opportunity to study the beliefs underpinning this and I totally agree that is imperative for our students to develop skills necessary to be culturally competent citizens in our global world, I disagree that it should be to the extent where communicative competence is prejudiced. At the bare minimum, they should be valued equally in a language classroom. Furthermore, I suggest that if we agree that language and culture are tightly intertwined, then CBLT is undoubtedly the best approach to actually achieve this.

An unexpected bonus from my study has without a doubt been my fellow students. One of my units that I fortuitously selected, was also chosen by a TCI colleague (shout out to the inspirational Heather)! This was amazing because it meant we could discuss readings through our CBLT and junior primary lens.  We also collaborated on a TCI/intercultural language lesson presentation for which Heather took a day off school so that we could present together. As this was Heathers’ penultimate unit for her masters, I am so thrilled we had the opportunity to overlap. Her final unit will be conducting and writing up a research paper and as I am in no way ready for this, I will support and cheer her on from the sidelines. A large percentage of my fellow students are largely international students. In two of my classes, I was the only native English speaker and the nationalities represented were vast. Students come from Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Lao, Vietnam, China, Bhutan, Timor Leste, Saudi Arabia and of course, Indonesia! It is brilliant studying with Indonesian students – all are incredibly warm and friendly, so tolerant of my passion for Indonesia(n) and also happy to answer questions about current usage, culture and education. How lucky am I? It was sad though, saying goodbye to Sol who finished his course and has since returned home to Nusa Tenggara Timor and fingers crossed we cross paths again one day.

The most exciting thing that happened last semester was finally holding in my hands a copy of Bill VanPatten’s book ‘While We’re On The Topic‘. While a hard copy of the book itself is not too expensive, postage to Australia is. I know I could get a e-version, but this is a book that really needs to be in paper form. A copy of his book is apparently not available yet from any other Australian university so this copy was borrowed from Iowa University!! Heather has since requested that Flinders University invest in a copy – can’t wait!! IMG_8932

 

I have enrolled in three units for next semester. The first two are compulsory subjects (as were all I studied in first semester) and the third one is my first optional unit. I had planned to enrol in the introduction to second language acquisition but unfortunately it is only offered in first semester. I look forward to enrolling in it next year!
My semester two units are:
– Visualising language learning,
– New technologies and e-pedagogy in foreign language education,
– The psychology of learning and instruction.

I am thoroughly enjoying being a uni student again and am so looking forward to next semester. I absolutely love the writing and readings (when not bagging CLT) although do feel guilty that my blog is more neglected than I expected. Maybe this semester with one less subject and a greater familiarity of the system I will be able to share ideas that are relevant to TCI.

IMG_4380

Looking south from the third floor library window on the final evening of semester one while completing my final two assignments!

Hand Clapping Rhyme Ideas

Luh Sriasih shared on the Indonesian Language Teachers in Australia Facebook Group a post about hand clapping rhymes and right down the bottom is a video showing how they are done!! Have a look at them all because there are sure to be ones that you could incorporate into your lessons successfully with your students either as a stop and listen strategy or adapt for sneaky reps of target structures!!

Here is the video:

 

The  cultural aspects of the video are fascinating too. Lots of intercultural understanding opportunities here. Remember the answers don’t have to be right or wrong, it is purely about encouraging suggestions that demonstrate an attempt to respectfully ponder and understand the differences between ourselves and others. The ability to put oneself in another’s shoes and regard other cultures with empathy is vital.  Differences exist all around us; even in our classrooms.
Questions could be about:
-is it a private or government school? How can you tell?
-why are the boys sitting towards the front of the class?
-Is there a gender balance?
-is the classroom similar or different to yours? why? how?
-why are the students yelling?
-why are some rhymes more popular than others? How can you tell?

 

Which ones do you think will work with your students? My favourites are the semangat and the Coca Cola rhymes! I particularly like how they clap it out so quickly!! While we can encourage students to clap this quickly, it is important that the spoken parts are drawn out SLOWLY!

screen shot 2019-01-28 at 7.31.16 am

screen shot 2019-01-28 at 7.31.27 am

Then in the comments I found another suggestion:
Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 9.24.04 am.png

Do you have any hand capping ideas to add to this? Please add to the comments below including the age level you use them with!

I’ll finish up with some that I’ve used many times and with classes 3-7.

This one is one of several taught to us by our wonderful AIYEP visitors! We miss you all!

and finally, this one that I adapted from various sources to incorporate more high frequency vocabulary:

 

Indonesian Folktale – Kancil dan Buaya

I have been focusing on this folktale this term with my year 1-3 classes. The first and last time I taught this story was back in 2015 and it has been fascinating looking back over my lesson plans from that time as it was the first year I taught using TCI.

I’ve been having so much fun with this story that I want to share with you a few of the pre story ideas I came up with for the story. Probably though, before I go any further, I should share with you the TCI version of the folktale that is based on the one that Annie, Sharon & I co-created in 2015.

Ada kancil.

Kancil tinggal di hutan.

 Di hutan ada sungai.

Kancil berjalan kaki ke sungai.

Kancil lapar.

Kancil lihat mangga dan mau seberang sungai.

Kancil tidak bisa berenang.

Kancil lihat buaya di sungai.

Buaya lapar.

Kancil berkata, “Halo buaya. Ada berapa buaya di sungai?”

Buaya berkata, “Kurang tahu.”

Kancil berkata, “Ayo buaya, antri. Saya mau menghitung.”

Buaya antri.

Kancil seberang sungai dan melompat dari buaya ke buaya dan menghitung.

 Satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima, enam, tujuh, delapan, sembilan, sepuluh!”

Kancil putar dan lihat buaya.

Kancil tertawa! Ha! Ha!

Buaya marah. Grr. Grr.

Kancil senang sekali makan mangga.

Kancil terlalu pandai.

Translation: There’s a mouse deer. The mouse deer lives in the forest. There is a river in the forest. Cancel walked to the river. Mousedeer is hungry. Mousedeer saw a mango and wanted to eat it. Mousedeer can’t swim. Mousedeer saw that there were crocodiles in the river. They are hungry. Mousedeer said, “Hallo crocodile. How many crocodiles are in the river?” The crocodiles said, “Don’t know!” Mousedeer said, “Line up so that I can count you.” The crocodiles lined up. Mousedeer jumped from crocodile to crocodile and counted. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Mousedeer turned and looked at the crocodiles. Mousedeer laughed. Ha! Ha! The crocodiles were cross. Grr. Grr.  Mousedeer happily ate the mango. Mousedeer is too clever!

Prestory telling:

My structures for this story have been:
Kancil- mousedeer
bisa – can/able to
seberang sungai – cross the river

Other structures that were covered through TPR & brain breaks include:
berenang – swim
tertawa – laugh
antri – line up

structures not covered; just translated whenever it was said;
kurang tahu – don’t know

 

To introduce the kancil/mouse-deer, I googled pics of them which I shared with the classes. There are also a few great youtube clips. This is one of my favourites:

 

Easily the best fun I had was introducing the structure ‘bisa’. My first lesson was a hoot thanks entirely to Ibu Anne. I added to my powerpoint, pictures of people doing things and then asked the class, “Siapa bisa….” ( Who can…?) When students put up their hand to indicate that they could do the said skill, I stated, “Bu Cathy mau lihat!” (I want to see it), Students happily got up and demo’d their skill in front of the class. The actions included playing violin, playing drums, gymnastics, singing (I gave them a microphone for this!), dancing (firstly waltz, secondly floss, thirdly line dancing) and then finished with flying! The flying was hilarious. In between 2 lines of  students, I placed a chair at one end and I stood at the other end with my arms out-stretched, asking, “Siapa bisa terbang ke Bu Cathy?” (Who can fly to Bu Cathy?) Everyones hand went up! Students  then one by one, volunteered to stand on the chair and fly to me! After each effort, I would sadly state, “Oh, tidak bisa terbang! (Oh, can’t fly!)” This was such a great lesson! The creativity of students to fly to me was awesome!
For the followup lesson focusing on ‘bisa’, I struck gold when I popped into the performing arts classroom and discovered receptions students learning how to do pair balances with our brilliant Performing Arts teacher, Natalie Bond. Here are a couple that I have used successfully:

https://twitter.com/chsinfantjunior/status/921033969570865152

http://year4sedgeberrow.blogspot.com/2013/09/enjoying-gymnastics.html

Google ‘simple pair balances’ and there are heaps! I have to add here though, that I was very fortunate in that Natalie did all the teaching of how to do each safely, how to work out who does what and that they each needed to take it in turns if one partner had to do a different action to the other.

My next target structure that I introduced was ‘seberang sungai’ (crossed the river). I intentionally added this into the story because it is a phrase that is so easily adaptable. It could become seberang {ruang} kelas (cross the class {room}) or even seberang jalan (cross the road). After much thought and research on the internet, I knew I wanted to have the students crossing a make believe river. Most ideas I found required equipment/props I didn’t have or would be bulky to pack up & store between lessons. I hit upon an easy yet successful substitute by fluke during one of the lessons. I noticed that as students stood up to move to one side of the ‘river’, there were cushions on the floor! Light bulb moment! I asked my star student (the one sitting on the Kursi Luar Biasa) to spread the cushions throughout the river and then told the remaining students they were all kancil who wanted to ‘seberang sungai’. I explained that they had to jump from cushion to cushion and if they fell in the river, they became a crocodile. (kancil melompat dari cushion ke cushion. Kancil jatuh di sungai, jadi (become) buaya di sungai). I add the English after words not yet acquired. This was so engaging, that students sat quite patiently waiting for their turn to seberang sungai! It also gave me heaps of opportunities to say ‘seberang sungai’ over and over again.

My follow up for ‘seberang sungai’ was to show a few pictures I found on the internet of Indonesian students crossing rivers to get to school which provided great opportunities for intercultural PQA.

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.28.33 pm.png

I also found a few pictures of crocodiles crossing rivers at Cahill Crossing in the NT and then cheekily finished up with this picture:

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.34.42 pm.png

Students were indignant when I circled ‘kancil seberang sungai’ and laughed when I explained that there is a make of car in Indonesia called a ‘kancil’!!

Look what I have also just found!! How cute! Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.32.11 pm.png

 

I enjoyed introducing  ‘berenang‘, ‘antri‘ & ‘tertawa‘ – via TPR & Brain Breaks.

‘Tertawa’ (Laugh) is in a great Indonesian song/rhyme that has been a huge hit with students of all ages. I found it on youtube originally but have adapted it significantly from a CI perspective. It goes like this:
Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 11.24.01 am.png

Here is my 2017 year 2/3 class demonstrating it:

 

Antri (line up):
For this, I incorporated ideas I learned while observing Annabelle Allen at iFLT 2019. I simply ask the class to ‘antri, tinggi sampai pendek’. (line up, tallest to shortest). This is very hard for students to do without talking, so once again, I used Annabelle Allen’s technique of stopping them and demonstrating ways in which they could achieve this using the Indonesian they know, then letting them go again. The first time I did this, I had to stop them several times to give kudos to those students who were using Indonesian – such a positive way of getting in those sneaky reps! Other ‘antri’ ideas include;
-hari ulang tahun (birthday months) – although I did have quite a few students who didn’t know theirs!
-mau punya buaya (wants to own a crocodile)
-nama, A sampai Z (by name, A to Z)
If you can think of any more – please add the ideas in the comments below. One I planned to do but abandoned because I anticipated too much English discussion was foot size. I think this would work better with older students!

 

Berenang (Swim) is easy to incorporate into TPR & mata-mata (spy). In terms 3 & 4 for mata-mata I have been trialling a variation of this to keep it novel. Students love this part of the lesson and woe betide if I forget it! It isn’t strictly great TCI as it is largely listen and repeat, but for junior primary aged students, I have found it a terrific way to begin my lessons and get them thinking in Indonesian and can also be an impressive demonstration for visitors of just how much these young’uns have acquired!
So this term, I have a slide in my powerpoint of the language we are focusing on currently. It looks like this:
Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 11.45.19 am.png

I limit the number of words so that it isn’t too overwhelming for the students with poor literacy. I then ask them each to choose one word for which they know the gesture. I remind them that they are not to speak, the class speaks. The mata-mata take it in turns to gesture and the class calls out the Indonesian word that it represents. Overall this has been a successful adaptation however there have been a few students, generally those with poor literacy skills, who misunderstand the instructions and make up their own gesture. Unfortunately this results in everyone calling out a random word, often in English! I am hoping that with lots of modelling and student demonstrations, this will gradually decrease!

Storytelling: 
I told the story towards the end of the term several times. The first time using pictures on a powerpoint and the second using student actors. The best thing about this story is that it easily accommodates an entire class of actors. I randomly choose the kancil using my class collection of paddle pop sticks, and the remaining characters in the story are acted out by whoever wants to. The remaining actor parts include:
hutan (forest)
sungai (river) &
buaya (crocodile).
I do not limit the. numbers of any of the above parts because any variation becomes an almost parallel story!! The first class acted out the story so well, I asked them to do it again the following lesson do that I could take photos of them to make a class book. The book looks amazing! My kancil was very expressive.

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.41.04 pm.png

It’s now the school holidays, and I am looking forward to planning fun activities based on this story for next term that will provide plenty of opportunities for assessment ready for the upcoming term 4 reports.

 

 

Intercultural Understanding & TCI/TPRS

After writing the post about the South Australian Education Minister’s visit to my Indonesian language classroom, I sent both the minister, Susan Close, and the Premier, Jay Weatherill, a link to the post. Last month we received the following email from the DECD Chief Executive, Rick Persse, in a reply on behalf of Jay Weatherill.

fullsizeoutput_a58

Isn’t it wonderful that as a direct result of us attending the Country Cabinet, all levels of DECD are now familiar with TPRS pedagogy! How exciting is that?

We decided to concentrate on his concern that TPRS does not completely address the intercultural understanding aspect of the Understanding strand within the Australian Curriculum: Indonesian. We began by taking up his offer to contact Maribel Coffey, which we did both by phone and email. She promptly replied to our email with a kind offer to put us in contact with Gianna DeLeo and Rosa Garcia, 2 Languages Project Officers from her team.

Gianna and Rosa readily agreed to come out and spend a day with us to help us identify the intercultural learning gaps we may have and then provide practical strategies that will help us improve our teaching practise in this regard.

In preparation for their visit, both Gianna and Rosa researched TPRS which we truly appreciated. They were familiar with Stephen Krashen; every TCI teacher’s hero. Having an understanding of Krashen’s hypotheses and TCI meant that Gianna & Rosa could focus specifically on intercultural understanding in a TCI context without needing a TCI 101 along the way.

We arranged that Gianna & Rosa would visit us each in turn to observe us teaching a lesson, finishing up at Victor R-7 where we would all gather to discuss their observations and feedback.

For my lesson, I demonstrated ‘Kursi Luar Biasa’ (KLB) – largely because Annie & Sharon encouraged me to do so – but also because it is one of the most engaging ways I know to cover many of the curriculum content descriptors. Because KLB involves asking students personal questions, it provides students with a platform to talk about themselves, either truthfully or not! I actually prefer it when students lie (suggest bizarre answers) because it ramps up the engagement a hundred percent and makes it totally compelling!

Thanks to the wonderful sharing community that TCI is, I have now incorporated a PowerPoint into my KLB lessons due to Ibu Anne‘s generosity. Last term I visited her in Victoria to observe her teaching (and co-present at the Victorian Language Teachers Association Conference) and was blown away with how much more compelling her KLB lessons were with the written and pictorial visuals. Here is a page from my powerpoint to give you an idea:

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 9.27.38 am.png

Overall I was satisfied with the way in which I demonstrated how I incorporate intercultural understandings into my teaching. For example, the snake and dog pic in the above slide are included because they are 2 animals most of our Indonesian visitors have been significantly frightened of!

After the last lesson, I packed up my room quickly and raced over to Victor R-7 where everyone was already waiting for the conversation to begin.

Firstly Gianna & Rosa began by stating how impressed they are with the teaching that they had observed in our classrooms. They used adjectives like ‘exemplary’!! They both too commented on the high levels of student engagement in our rooms and the large amount of spontaneous Indonesian spoken by our students in class!

We then began to deconstruct ‘intercultural understanding’ using examples that Rosa & Gianna had observed in our classrooms throughout the day.  They firstly congratulated us on how well we already integrate intercultural understanding into our TCI lessons and then offered us advice on an additional aspect that if incorporated, would elevate our practise to an even higher level.

Rosa handed us each a copy of the Investigating Pedagogies for Language-and-Culture Learning (see link below) which aims to outline the relationship between the TeFL Framework, ACARA: Languages & The Shape document and “in doing so highlights  the intercultural orientation to language learning” (page 1).

This paper outlines the characteristics of language learning incorporating Intercultural Understanding – referred throughout as intercultural orientation.

Intercultural language learning is an orientation to language learning that represents a change in both the stance (the way we conceptualise language learning and the thinking that informs practice) and practice in the teaching and learning of languages and the pedagogy that supports such a change.

This intercultural orientation:

  •   respects the diversity of learners, teachers, contexts, languages
  •   focuses on the act of learning: student learning, teacher learning, community learning
  •   recognises teaching and learning as social (both intrapersonal and interpersonal), cultural (both intracultural and intercultural) and cognitive
  •   highlights both participation/action and reflection on the part of students as participants in communicating in the context of diversity
  •   recognises the powerful role of language and culture in learning; in fact, as  the foundations of all learning
  •   sees both the process of communication (as the major goal of language learning) and the process of learning as interactive processes that entail the reciprocal interpretation of meaning
  •   recognises the integral relationship between teaching, learning and assessment
  •   understands learning, teaching and pedagogy to support language learning as including processes of inquiry for both learners and teachers.This intercultural orientation shapes the three key concepts that inform Languages education: language, culture, learning, and focuses on developing capabilities that are essential in the 21st century.

page 2

 

The specific skill that Rosa & Gianna recommend we hone centres around providing students with opportunities for intercultural and intracultural reflection. Rather than providing explanations to students about differing cultural practises, throw it back at the students and encourage them to consider the reasons themselves. An example of this could be around Indonesian etiquette which requires objects to be received and passed with your right hand, never your left hand. My students have often commented on this and previously I simply explained the reasons. Rosa recommends that instead, teachers could ask deeper questions to encourage students to look beyond the difference and instead consider it objectively and rationally. Questions could include asking why Singaporeans use their left and right hands but Indonesians don’t. Is this practise practical and when would it be sensible in Australia? Is the use of toilet paper or water better for the environment? Why do Australians use a water based toilet system when we are the driest continent in the world?

In other words, asking rich and thought provoking questions that encourage students to develop self awareness and self understanding through honest reflections around not only the comparisons between different cultures but also the differences within cultures.

 

…reflection is not a simple process of commenting on things such as the enjoyment or not of an activity. Specifically, it involves reflection on such matters as:

  •   the processes of interpretation – how we interpret/understand things as we do
  •   the assumptions that provide the basis for interpretation – why we   interpret/understand things as we do
  •   our perspectives in relation to those of others
  •   our positioning in relation to that of others
  •   our expectations in relation to those of others
  •   our judgments in relation to those of others.

This kind of reflection is a necessary part of stretching students’ intellectual thinking and of ‘fostering deep understanding’ and exploring the construction of knowledge (3.2 and 3.3 of Domain 3 of the TfEL Framework).

 

Thus the teacher helps students navigate through multiple conceptions, assumptions, perspectives and personal understandings to help them arrive at new understandings that take into account the perspective of others in a productive way. This document acknowledges that this is an intricate process because student reflections happen spontaneously in the moment and requires engaging with specific student responses and ideas. as such it can’t be planned in advance but needs to be managed as it arises.       (page 46)

Rosa explained too about flipping information to help students look at a cultural practise from another perspective. The example she gave was the western tradition of birthday cakes. Imagine a culture that puts fire on decorated food and then gives it to a child who then has to extinguish the fire by putting it out themselves by blowing on it before it can be eaten by anyone! Sounds quite bizarre when stated like that!

We were assured that these classroom conversations do not necessarily need to be long and detailed but more like a grammar pop-up and in doing so would become an engaging brain break. I really like the idea of prompting students with ‘why’ questions to encourage them to consider the reasons underlying different cultural practises. It truly resonates with me and I look forward to impromptu opportunities whereby I can ask deep and meaningful questions to encourage rich reflective and reflexive student thought. It is definitely an expertise I intend to develop! Surely this is how schools create open minded and respectful global citizens.

Thank you so much Maribel Coffey, Rosa Garcia & Gianna DeLeo. We really appreciate the support and encouragement we received from you all. Rosa and Gianna are both wonderful ambassadors of the Languages team. The entire experience was invaluable and we are so grateful that both Rosa & Gianna could spend time with us to work on addressing intercultural understanding in a TPRS classroom context. The conversations we had were thought provoking because developing cultural respect and empathy in students is of a critical importance in relation to global relationships. We are all excited to implement the advice given to us and develop our expertise in asking reflective questions.
We also really hope that early next term, Rosa & Gianna can visit us again to provide us with feedback on our updated practise and understandings to double check we are on the right path.  We will also be scrutinising our school calendars to ascertain when our next Partnership Closure day is before inviting Rosa to again share her impressive expertise about intercultural understanding with the Fleurieu TCI PLN.

 

To finish up, I just had to share this quote from page 4 f the Investigating Pedagogies for Language-and-Culture Learning! If we could just tweak it slightly though so that the first ‘learn’ is changed to ‘acquire’……

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.16.06 pm.png

 

 

 

Agen – Using Films in CI with Judith Dubois

Agen has been absolutely amazing! In 15 minutes, an evening coaching session is starting downstairs in our hotel which I’d really love to get to, so hopefully I can quickly squeeze this in before heading off!

I would like to blog about the sessions I’ve attended here at the TPRS Conference in Agen, both to clarify my own personal understanding and also share what I gleaned. I hope I can do them all justice and explain them clearly.

At today’s workshop titled Using Films With CI, Judy Dubois had us all sitting in a circle in one of the rooms at the school situated behind the gorgeous Cathedral de Caprais. Pic

Behind Judy, through the window, was the back of the cathedral; so gorgeous.IMG_4467

Judy began by asking us who has ever used film with their classes and several people raised their hand. She next asked all those who have, to share their ideas. Here is the collection I noted that I believe would be successful with primary aged students:

  1. Students need to earn points in language classes to watch a film in the target language – thus being rewarded with input – and set the subtitles to Indonesian! Written and aural input.
  2. Movietalks – watch before stopping at significant places to PQA. You can then create an embedded reading from this conversation.
  3. Judy shared how she also used the dialogue from a scene discussed in class by typing out the significant sentences, printing them off and then cutting each sentence in half. Students work in pairs to match up the halves and then put them into the correct order! The completed text becomes a synopsis of the scene which is by now fully comprehensible!
  4. Diane Neubauer recommended Simons Cat clips with their repetitive actions.
  5. Carrie had a great idea for preparing for a relief teacher. Before the absence, show students a trailer for a film and discuss with students their ideas about what the film could be about. With the TRT, students watched the movie and then upon return, the language teacher again shows the trailer and pretends they want to know more about the movie – thus having the students do a group retell of the story!!
  6. Great idea to show familiar movies to students dubbed in the target language! e.g. Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings, Disney
  7. Very important to remember that the films shown in class must be enjoyable for several reasons but most importantly; you, the teacher, will not want to plan a unit around a film you detest watching!
  8. Take a screen shot of a movie scene (preferably one with action) before showing students the film and have them predict what the movie might be about.
  9. Judy only uses films in her classes that use the language that she is teaching. Students don’t hear the language if they are reading English subtitles.
  10. Diane recommends having (Target Language) subtitles on while watching a film because it allows you to stop a film and discuss/PQA/comprehension check/read the language at the bottom of the screen. A good way to explain common Indonesian phrases that are unfamiliar to non Indonesian people. The focus of the film is what is needed for comprehension and whatever is not important is simply translated.
  11. Judith’s goal with using films in her classes is to motivate her students to continue watching the films independently in their own time for pleasure!
  12. Judy recommends ‘The Mighty’ as a film to watch with students as there isn’t that much conversation. The Black Stallion is another film with minimal talking.
  13. Great to use a film that was made from a book because of the discussion created when comparing the 2. e.g. Hunger Games.
  14. Quirky commercials would be perfect for movie talks.
  15. Stop the film when there is a close up of a character not speaking – maybe listening to someone else or thinking – and PQA what is he thinking?
  16. How cool would it be to study a film in fourth term and then finish the year by showing the full film to the students?
  17. Plan movie talks for tricky/tiring times of the year and minimise the workload where possible to do exactly the same film with all year levels!
  18. Have a text for students taken from the film with a sentence missing from it. Give the sentence to students and they have to listen to the dialogue of the movie again and again to see where it fits in.
  19. Hand out to students the dialogue between the characters from the film and students have to add in the names of the characters speaking.
  20. Very important to come up with ways for the students to listen (willingly) to the dialogue in the films repeatedly in compelling ways.
  21. Students have to create the script for a scene. Requires listen repeatedly to the scene to get it!
  22. The background context of the story is ongoing and as students move through the film, it becomes very familiar and contributes to comprehension – setting, characters, storyline. 
  23. Take a screen shot of a character. Ask a student actor to become that character and then the teacher interviews them with scripted questions that help students gain a deeper understanding of the character.
  24. One day someone will make a better film of the wonderful book Holes!

What has Changed In My Classroom Since Agen?

Anne asked me this morning this question! It’s a good one because so much has changed as a result of my week in Agen and yet it is hard to pinpoint exactly.

Spending a week in Daniel’s Breton class is one of the major reasons why I’ve adapted various changes into my teaching. Becoming a learner of a language as a beginner is something I urge all language teachers to try because if you are like me, I can’t remember what it was like anymore. Experiencing the importance of repetitions and needing EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I no longer begrudge saying words over and over again anymore. I am no longer concerned about a repetition being boring. I know that each and every time I speak, there is someone in my room who needs to hear that word once again.

One more change I am working on is speaking slowly. I am now even more aware of the importance of this. While I really like Robbert Harrell’s tip of tapping slowly on your leg,  like a metronome, I have yet to try it in class. One day, I’ll remember! As a learner, I really needed Daniel’s slow pace. It was vital for comprehension, it kept the affective filter low and also gave me enough time to scan the word wall when necessary.  While on the topic of slow, I also would like to mention how Daniel would occasionally challenge the fast processors by speaking directly to them at a slightly faster pace and then turn to us slower processors and repeat it slowly! Repetition followed by slow! We lapped it up!

Daniel would ask students for suggestions while story asking and each one was written up on the board if necessary. This practise differentiated and valued each and every suggestion. My suggestion of a kangaroo was a cognate and did not ever need to be written up on the board but dianvasou (stranger) definitely went up! I now do this too! Through this practise, I can point and pause which is a useful tool that helps to slow my speech down! Previously, in avoiding going out of bounds, I avoided incorporating new words into our story asking/ kursi luar biasa, but now I embrace it and have started collecting words that appear frequently and/or are useful for student engagement and would be great to incorporate into future stories!

Probably the biggest area of change is that I am incredibly more relaxed about my lessons. After watching Daniel, I have more confidence now following student led directions in lessons. With my older classes, since my return, I now spend each lesson focused on kursi luar biasa. One student sits in the kursi luar biasa (the awesome chair) and I interview them. I make it clear before we start that the student may choose to tell the truth or lie! As soon as that is established, you can feel the ripple in the air of engagement and immediately the rest of the class are on board. We start off with nicknames. I ask the student seated in the kursi luar biasa if he/she has a nick name and then ask the class what they are, checking after each if it is one of their nicknames. It’s hilarious! One class came up with 12 nicknames for Shaun – one of which was Sunday! It was so left field we all collapsed on the floor laughing! It is so exhilarating teaching like this! We incorporate all sorts of things into the interviews including grammar, pronunciation, intercultural comparisons (ACARA requirements) – it is awesome. Once I’ve done a few more, I am going to create a reading using the sekretaris notes and maybe incorporate one of Laurie Clarq’s embedded reading ideas and finish with an uplifting clip from youtube. Cool hey?

Another thing that has changed for me is that in meeting such an amazing bunch of people, I know there are many people in this world who have my back. It is the most amazing feeling being in and amongst CI/TPRS colleagues and feeling that sense of support and community. I definitely felt it with our PLC and online before Agen, but to feel it in another country was truly incredible. Knowing that I am a member of such a warm global community gives me the confidence that supports me each and every day before I step into my classroom! When you are amongst TCI legends who validate and encourage, you feel invincible. This is what gives me the confidence to incorporate all of the above into my teaching.

Tweaking a pre TPRS cooking unit – again…..

For the second year in a row, I finished with a cooking recipe instead of a story for the year 6/7 classes. This cooking unit is a tradition with my year 6/7 students and it is the only pre TCI/TPRS unit I haven’t binned! This is for several reasons: Firstly it is a food based theme which students constantly love and therefore hopefully is becomes a memorable final unit for my year 7’s before they head off to high school and secondly it ties in nicely with our annual end of year school pasar (market).

As this is a unit I have done with my upper primary students for as long as I can remember, it has been tweaked significantly over the last 2 years as I continue to make it more TCI friendly. Last year was my first attempt which you can read about here. This year’s tweaking though was much more successful (in my opinion) which I can only put down to my ongoing reading and listening to all things TPRS/TCI.

The biggest improvement came quite simply; tweaking the recipes that the unit is based upon.

I always begin this unit by asking each class to brainstorm for recipes they would like to cook. Then the class votes on them all, knowing that the recipe will  be cooked twice; once for students to eat and enjoy themselves and then again to sell at the pasar.  Students suggested dishes are usually based on food they have enjoyed at previous pasars’ or dishes they enjoyed eating that had been made by visiting Indonesians. This year the 3 6/7 classes chose 3 totally different recipes; mie goreng telur Ala Ibu Mia (yummy savoury noodle pancakes), dadar gulung and klepon.

Once each class has decided on what they want to cook and sell at the pasar, I find a recipe for it because the unit of work for each class is then based on that recipe.

This year when I dug out the recipes, I was horrified with the amount of unfamiliar vocabulary each recipe uses! This became my first job – to pare down the recipe to its most basic form and to incorporate as much acquired language where ever possible. Unfortunately with recipes, what cannot be altered, is the list of ingredients and one recipe had 10 ingredients, most of which were unfamiliar!

Here are the stages that the method part of the dadar gulung recipe has changed over the past 3 years:

Pre TPRS  Dadar Gulung Recipe:

2014

  • Aduk kelapa, gula jawa, air dan garam. Goreng sampai air hilang.
  • Taruh tepung, telur, pewarna, santan, garam, santan dan air. Aduk sampai halus.
  • Panaskan wajan. Mengisi sedikit minyak.
  • Tuang 2Tb adonan dadar. Goreng sampai dadar kering. Angkat.
  • Ulangi sampai adonan dadar habis.
  • Ambil satu dadar. Mengisi satu sendok makan intinya. Terus lipat dan gulung.
  • Ulangi sampai dadar dan intinya habis.
  • Selamat makan.

 

Post TPRS Dadar Gulung Recipe

2015

  1. Campurkan air, garam, gula dan kelapa. Goreng dan aduk. Angkat.
  2. Campurkan tepung, gula, garam, telur, pandan dan susu di mangkok besar. Aduk.
  3. Panaskan minyak.
  4. Kasih satu sendok besar campuran dadar dan goreng dua menit.
  5. Balik dadar dan goreng satu menit lagi.
  6. Angkat.
  7. Ulangi.
  8. Taruh campuran kelapa/gula di dadar. Lipat dan gulung.
  9. Selamat makan!

 

2016

  1. Aduk kelapa parut, gula merah, air dan garam di wajan. Goreng, sampai tidak ada air. Angkat dan taruh di piring.
  2. Aduk tepung, telur, pewarna pandan, susu dan garam di piring.
  3. Panaskan wajan. Kasih sedikit minyak.
  4. Kasih 2Tb dadar. Goreng. Angkat dan taruh di piring.
  5. Lagi
  6. Ambil satu dadar. Kasih satu sendok inti. Lipat dan gulung. Taruh di piring.
  7. Lagi sampai tidak ada dadar atau inti.
  8. Makan

 

With the 2016 recipe adaptation, my focus structures became taruh (place/put), aduk (stir/mix), piring (plate) & wajan (frypan). Words like ‘inti’ are not high frequency, so I simply had the translation for that and other such words posted up on the baord to assist comprehension and reduce confusion.

My second task was to introduce the list of ingredients. With dadar gulung, there are 10 ingredients! In order to get as many repetitions on each ingredient, I created power points, showed students the ingredients, let them taste, smell & handle the ingredients where appropriate (tasting coriander was not very successful but it sure helped them to remember it), Plickers & played the drawing/matching game I outlined in my 2015 post.

I love using PowerPoint when introducing new target structures. I go crazy with the transition features whereby you can have a picture/word on the screen and then with a touch something is added or changed to the page in a quirky way.  Most pages have 3 items which with a touch are layered onto each page. This included the English and Indonesian word for each ingredient and a picture to clarify meaning. The order that each came up on the page varied but generally the English word appeared last. The PowerPoint is then not only useful for introducing a list of new words but also for reviewing the list. To keep up the interest, pictures can be changed, slides rearranged and transition styles altered. Including pictures of past students is popular although can be distracting! Here is a link to the PowerPoint I used for dadar gulung.

While the main target structures for all 3 class recipes was ‘aduk’ and ‘taruh’,  ‘piring’ and ‘wajan’ were purely support/minor target structures, I was amazed to discover at the end of the unit how the acquisition of the former was sketchy and needed a few gesture prompts yet wajan and piring needed no such prompts. In fact students were using them in their English discussions while cooking!

For the first time ever, on the day of cooking, I only handed out the Indonesian version of the recipes to groups. The only person who received an English version was the group support person if they had one. Groups that invite a support person (older family member/friend) are permitted to cook elsewhere in the school which I encourage as it reduces the power load in my classroom and hence the overload switch cutting off power! I was so impressed with the groups that remained in my room and their successful comprehension of the Indonesian recipe.

Unlike last year, I was extremely pleased with how the cooking unit progressed this year, especially considering it is such a busy time of year. Reducing the unfamiliar vocabulary down to just aduk & taruh made such a difference. While aduk isn’t high frequency at all in the classroom context, ‘taruh’ certainly is and consequently I have already started incorporating into my lessons with the younger students.

I’ve also thought about the idea of having a year 6/7 cooking text that younger students work towards in Indonesian class during their 7 years of primary school, so that many of the words like ‘taruh’, ‘lipat’, ‘gulung’ can be built upon in a more challenging text.

Dadar Gulung

img_0510

Mie Goreng Telur Ala Ibu Mia

img_0521

Klepon