Kursi Luar Biasa Update…

A few posts ago, I shared with you my adaptation of Bryce Hedstroms special person idea. Here is an update on how this has been going so far this term:

The kursi luar biasa (special chair) is definitely the most popular chair in my room! Students make a bee line to it when they arrive. They sit their expectantly, waiting for the spot light to shine on them and the 2 times I got carried away with other things and didn’t get around to interviewing them, they were soooo disappointed! However their frowns turned upside down when I promised them in front of the class that they would have first choice of sitting in the kursi next lesson!  

This week my questions finally began to gell and my peseverence is beginning to pay off. While the students in the kursi luar biasa love the attention, it remains tricky trying to keep the others engaged. Occasionally we get a student who has quirky answers to which we all listen avidly and intently but this doesn’t happen often mainly because I am still learning how to ask the right questions in the way that facilitates this! Then this week, I discovered that asking students to raise their arm instead of stand up keeps the discussion moving a lot smoother. Some students enjoy zoning out and regard it as passive defiance when I ask a question like, berdiri kalau tinggal di Port Elliot (stand if you live in PE) and then remain seated enjoying the quizzical looks of classmates. However asking questions like; angkat tangan kalau tinggal di Port Elliot, angkat tangan kalau tinggal di Goolwa etc (raaise your hand if you live in PE), has increased student focus while getting in multiple repetitions on key structures and has more students responding. Is this because I am trying something different or is it because it requires less effort from the students? For me too, it just flows so much better.  Try it!! 

Another positive has come with the introduction of the word ‘tahun’. This week I decided to have a subtle focus on the word tahun during kursi luar biasa when asking the student how old they were. I put it up on the board, and after asking the question, berapa umur? (How old are you) I repeated what the student said adding the word tahun. Using ‘tahun’ wasn’t a requirement for the student, I just wanted to put the word out there in case it came up in future coversations with Indonesian  (native speaker) visitors. Then I had a brain wave! With the word tahun, I could ask students a follow up question to tinggal dimana? (Where do you live?) with “Sudah berapa tahun tinggal di _______?” (How many years have you lived in ____)  With the older students, these questions that are a bit more challenging really keep them all focused. You  can almost hear the cogs turning in their heads and the satisfaction that comes with comprehension. 

I just love the way that kursi luar biasa covers so much of the Australian Curriulum requirements regarding student interests, family, pets, hobbies, etc.  It is such a great way to cover those topics in a personlised and meaningful way for students and also in a way that is narrow and deep! When I think of all the years I used to teach “kenalkan” (let me introduce myself) as my term 1 theme and then feel disheartened with how little my students retained from year to year,  it confirms for me the benefits made from making the switch to TPRS in my classroom.  

3 thoughts on “Kursi Luar Biasa Update…

  1. Catharina Greenberg says:

    Wow. Fabulous! Wish I could learn Indonesian with you. Sounds difficult to me, but that is relative of course.

    I learned from Michele Whaley (Russian/German TPRS teacher in Alaska) something similar, although her students are older/more advanced.

    Everyone sits on a chair in a circle (or stands in my case). One student stands in the middle and says i.e. I am hungry .Now all the kids who are hungry must switch spot (gently, without shoving-bumping) quickly, and the kid left without a chair goes in the middle. He/She goes on to say i.e. I play the piano. All the kids that play the piano switch spots and the kid without a seat must say something relevant about him/herself. and so on.

    My Little kids cannot yet output so well. Therefor I say the statement They either jump, switch spots or take a mini step forward No one stands in the middle Sometimes in 1/2 groups not to let it get out of control. It gives us great practice on the 1st pers. sing (I) that does not get enough reps in general. Fun, quick, easy, no prep.

    I think this is what you do as well but sometimes with a raised hand. (i will try that)

    I did the “close the door” story this week. just fabulous.so much fun, easy, repetitive. i used a card stock door (painted and all) with a round cut-ut for the face. Cutest thing seeing their little faces poke through.

    And I used the timer to stay in TL. THANK YOU THANK YOU for the reminder. I remembered it today, and it worked beautifully. Wow. Kids are so funny. A little timer with healthy competition and they buy right into it. For now at least.

    Best. Best. Catharina


    • bucathy says:

      Soo lovely to hear your comments on my post. Thank You for all your great ideas. I love them. This weekend I have planned a couple of activities to further get repetitions on the open/close the door story next week. I was thinking to seat the students in a circle, so your suggestion of asking questions and if true, students stand and swap seats would work so well. As a followup, I could say sentences like:
      1.Saya berumur sepuluh tahun (I am 10 years old)
      2. Saya tinggal di Port Elliot (live in PE) etc and for those students it is true, depending on their age & level of maturity, will either ask them to swap chairs or just stand.

      I am curious about the card stock door! What is it and how did you actually use it in your lessons? Is it something you can buy or did you make it? It sounded like it was a terrific prop!!

      Terima kasih banyak & Merci beau coup!


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