I have just finished my first week of teaching Indonesian at my new site. Yes, that’s right, I’ve moved again, and it was the best decision I ever made. After resigning from DECD SA and on the advice of several good friends, I applied for and won a job in Sydney! It has been refreshing working with staff who have my back!!
The main attraction of this job (other than being in NSW), was the potential of being a dedicated TCI/TPRS junior primary teacher. I absolutely love working with JP students – their motivation and engagement is off the chart and consequently their progress is insane. They don’t get hung up on making mistakes, and they give everything and anything a go. It is so rewarding beginning with students usually start with no Indonesian and yet by semester two, our lessons can be 95% in Indonesian!
As always, I have started with Jim Tripp’s “Pleased to Meet You” story. It’s the perfect story to start with – regardless of age – for laying the foundation for future lessons being 95% in Indonesian.
I also love TPR (Total Physical Response) as both a means for keeping students moving and for acquiring verbs. Our first lesson this week introduced berjalan kaki (walk), stop and duduk (sit). Offering young students’ frequent opportunities to move is the secret to increased focus. It sounds like an oxymoron but frequent brain breaks effectively manage wriggles. TPR is a brilliant brain break as not only does it get students up and moving, but also introduces students to structures that will eventually occur in stories e.g. pelan/cepat (slow/fast), berdansa (dance), menyanyi (sing), berlari (run). TPR is a win:win!
Another aspect I introduced last week into my first lesson is calling the roll with Class Dojo. Assessment wise, the data is incredibly helpful for students who are regularly absent from lessons (MiniLit, MultiLit, extra curricula), but it also has another major advantage. It provides me with regular opportunities to target “Apa kabar?” (how are you?) which is usually the first question my students are asked when greeted by Indonesian friends and colleagues. I begin with the basics; firstly baik-baik saja (fine), then lumayan (ok) & finally kurang baik (not so good). These three structures are incredibly versatile and thus are excellent foundation structures.
I strongly believe that we should choose early structures wisely. Look for ones that are easy to say (consider the difference between pronouncing paham and mengerti for early learners), ones that provide a base upon which future structures/ grammar popups can be based e.g. senang sekali (word order) and for intercultural understanding opportunities e.g. kurang baik (less than good). I love ‘lumayan’ (so-so) as it is amazingly versatile. Not only is it useful for explaining how you’re feeling, but is also can be used with adjectives e.g. lumayan besar (sort of big).
Thus, once the basics have been acquired, the roll is the perfect way to introduce other feeling structures that will come up in future stories e.g. lapar (hungry), haus (thirsty), panas (hot), dingin (cold), ngantuk (sleepy) etc.
With JP classes, the aim of the roll is purely acquiring a wide variety of structures, however with MP & UP classes, the aim changes to building automaticity. This is done through adding challenge by timing classes. This starts with classes each lesson trying to beat their own class high score before introducing a whole school challenge to see which class can call the roll the fastest. Can you see the structures needed for this? Brilliant hey?
I really hope that even though my posts will now come from a JP perspective, you will gain ideas regardless. Maybe, in reverse, you will see ways in which what I write about could be adapted into meeting the needs of your cohort. In actual fact, all language learners have the same needs regardless of their age!