Almost Midterm Reflections

The end of week four has just arrived, thankfully, as I am so exhausted. Our community has a variety of nasty viruses in circulation at the moment which has had in some classes, a devastating affect. I just hope the sore throat I feel coming on is just the result of my previous class which consists of several challenging students!

This term, I approached my story slightly differently to how I have done so before. The main target structure for the current story is bisa (can/ to be able to do something) but I also wanted menyanyi (sing) & mencium (kiss/smell) to be taught explicitly too because both are great TPR words. I love the way Eric Herman uses TPR,to introduce target structures and know that I will be able to get good mileage from both words during brain breaks.

I firstly focused on bisa. This took about 2-3 lessons. I began by focusing on the skills and abilities that students identified having and then had a fun lesson asking students, “Siapa bisa handstand?” If students raised their hand, I then asked them, “Billy bisa handstand?” and if they didn’t raise their hand I would go right up to the student, look them in the eye and then ask suspiciously, “Jill bisa handstand?” I then circled their answers briefly before inviting the student to the center of the chairs which were arranged in a U for this lesson. The student then did the handstand and I was able to get many repetitions of bisa. Billy bisa handstand? Billy atau Bobby bisa handstand etc! One class asked me, “Bu Cathy bisa handstand?” To which I answered,”Tidak bisa.” yet they insisted I show them, so we all had a good laugh because I could barely got my feet off the ground. More repetitions of tidak bisa!!  Such a fun and relaxed lesson.

My lesson on mencium was a culture break – because it was largely in English. We talked about the differences between mencium and kiss/smell and also why in Indonesian, mencium means to kiss and to smell. This collaborative blog has a post which clearly explains the various ways in which Indonesians greet each other. I had students pair up and practise hand shaking (gentle and finishing on your heart), mencium (cheek to cheek while doing a gentle smell/sniff) and also kasih hormat kepada guru (holding the teachers hand to the students forehead). We also demonstrated all 3 greetings at a whole school assembly with a group of young students finishing up the demonstration by showing respect to our principal. It was a hoot.

I  next did Martina Bex’s wordle activity as outlined in my previous post. The link to this and other activities is on the new TCI activity page, found in the top band of the homepage. All these activities meant the lead in to the story took much longer than it did in terms one and two. Because bisa is such an important word in Indonesia and comes up constantly in a variety of contexts, I really believe it was vital to devote several lessons focusing on it. Also now that I am into my second semester of TCI, I feel a lot less pressure to cover topics/target structures quickly which has been a wonderful revelation. It is so empowering to be able to focus on student acquisition as apposed to keeping up with a rigid term overview. 

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