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.
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
– 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!!
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.
Looking south from the third floor library window on the final evening of semester one while completing my final two assignments!
It has just occurred to me that I have only posted about how Kursi Luar Biasa works in middle primary and upper primary classes. I also use it successfully with very young students in a much simpler format. I initially began incorporating it into my younger classes for several reasons and they are threefold: to introduce the concept of a special chair for a special person, to introduce the language ‘kursi’ + ‘luar biasa’ and as a sneaky yet compelling way to review target structures! The exclamation ‘luar biasa’ (awesome) is such a positive one that it is beaut that students are provided with the opportunity to hear it repetitively in their first year of school. It is also useful that the word for a common item of classroom furniture (kursi/chair) is introduced at this point too. Having a Kursi Luar Biasa also provides me with a designated ‘teachers helper’ in my classroom. As most junior primary teachers incorporate student jobs into their class routines and due to the fact that each class’s procedure & system differ, it is considerably easier for me to have my own system specifically for the Indonesian classroom.
Who wants to sit in the awesome chair?
I choose the student using my paddle pop sticks using the language, “Siapa mau duduk di Kursi Luar Biasa?” following it with a comprehension check; “Bahasa Inggris? Siapa mau duduk di Kursi Luar Biasa?” and then after a student correctly translates, reply with, “Ya!! Bagus!! John pandai. Satu poin John! Who wants to sit in the awesome chair?” I repeat the English for my reception students to ensure they hear the translation clearly. I then dramatically choose a stick. I also check that the letters KLB are not written on the stick yet (this is my record system to ensure everyone gets a go) and if all is good, I make eye contact with the student and ask, “Susie mau duduk di Kursi Luar Biasa?” Naturally ‘Susie’ will nod yes and I will restate, “Susie mau duduk di Kursi Luar Biasa!” I do not circle this with reception (prep) students because of the disappointment factor, I just repeat the sentence several times as I write KLB on ‘Susie’s’ stick before returning it to the container. At this age, young’uns are still learning to understand turn taking and I strongly believe in the importance of ‘social skills pop-ups’! When I get comments along the lines of “I haven’t had a turn.”, I answer this by asking the entire class in English, “Who hasn’t had a turn yet?”, emphasising the word yet. The beauty of this question with very young students is that they either can’t remember if they actually have had a go yet or even more likely, want to sit in the chair again so much so that they pretend they haven’t sat in it yet, and also raise their hand! This gives me the opportunity to show the student who blurted out in English that they are not the only one who hasn’t had a go YET, and then reassure everyone that there are still plenty of weeks left in the year and everyone will get at least one opportunity. I do it in English; both to keep it short and snappy (pop-up) but also because I strongly believe in the importance of developing social skills and the necessity for this snowballs with each yearly student intake of reception students.
The Awesome Chair: Boy or girl, Good or ok? Are you clever at running fast?
Once Susie is sitting in the Kursi Luar Biasa, I ask her a few questions based on the language structures their class has been focusing on. At the beginning of the year, the questions are simply “Susie baik baik saja atau Susie kurang baik?” & “Susie perempuan atau Susie laki laki?” With each answer (verbal &/or non verbal) I restate the answer in full. “Ya, Susie perempuan. Susie bukan laki laki.” I usually only ask 3 questions as that is as long as young students can focus. I like the final question to be quirky and incorporate the target structure. Sentences that have been successful include; “Susie mau makan hamburger?” (while holding up a huge hamburger cushion) or “Susie pandai berlari cepat?” (this awesome idea comes from Anne MacKelvie, however I highly recommend waiting till term 4 to introduce it so that you only have to race against a student for a limited number of weeks!! It’s highly compelling stuff for the students but eats into my energy reserves!) If ‘Susie’ says yes, I then wave the class back saying ‘Geser, geser’ (scoot, scoot) to create a running track along the front of the room. I gesture dramatically with my arms to ‘Susie’ saying “Ayo!” (Come here). I then turn to ‘Susie’ and say, “Bu Cathy menghitung satu, dua, tiga. Bu Cathy berkata ‘tiga’, Susie berlari cepat ke kursi/Johnny.” (a nearby end point). I begin to count very slowly but for the first few counts, I change ‘tiga’ to a silly word. eg Satu, dua, hamburger!, satu dua Trent! Each time the student takes off I smile at them and cheekily say to them ‘nakal!’ I then count properly and pretend to run fast theatrically allowing the student to beat me. I then exclaim to the class, “Susie berlari cepat! Susie pandai berlari. Susie pandai berlari cepat.” Meanwhile ‘Susie’ is glowing with her success and struts proudly back to the Kursi Luar Biasa!
Once seated back in the Kursi Luar Biasa, ‘Susie’ takes on the role of ‘Teachers Helper’ and is my first goto person if I need help. This could be taking a message somewhere, collecting something, accompanying a student to buddy class/ the office or if we are playing a game, is automatically chosen to both demo a new game and be the first person to play!
Your Kursi Luar Biasa can be as fancy or as plain as suits you and your teaching situation. I prefer to lay my Batak weaving over a comfy chair as I do not use the Kursi Luar Biasa chair in every lesson with older classes. Sometimes, there is not enough time or it just needs to have a break to prevent it getting tired & stale. The beauty for me of using an Indonesian ‘sarong’ is that it can be whipped off quickly and is then easy enough to throw back on when you have a year 7 class sandwiched between two junior primary classes! This system is also very practical for mobile teachers as a sarong weighs very little in the ‘cart’. Without doubt, the most impressive Kursi Luar Biasa chair I have ever seen is Ibu Anne’s. How gorgeous is it!! Her students absolutely love it. See the link below for the post I ‘stole’ (borrowed) the photo from!!
Have you tried Kursi Luar Biasa with your students? If you have or you just want to ask a question about this post, please write it in the comments below. All your questions and comments are greatly appreciated; not just from me but from everyone who reads this!
‘Pleased To Meet You’ is without a doubt the best story (I believe) to use as a springboard into TCI/TRPS. In my first year of using TPRS, I used the version below of Jim’s brilliant story with all year levels; R (prep) – year 7. A huge thank you to Jim Tripp for his kind and generous permission allowing me to share it with you. The beauty of this story is its simplicity, quirkiness and economic use of language.
The outline in this post is a blend of a unit of work that Ibu Sharon and I created in 2017 for conference presentations and my own classroom practise. It is designed for preliterate students however can equally be used successfully with all other junior primary year levels. I now teach these lessons with both the straight reception (prep) classes and the composite R/1’s. Thus the year ones in these composite classes work with this story twice and I’m guessing you’ll be astonished to hear that I have not ever had a student comment about this!
If you are starting out on your CI journey and your JP students are also unfamiliar with CI, this outline can also see used successfully with all JP levels as not only does this story introduce structures vital for story telling & co-creating stories but it also is a gentle and engaging way to introduce your students to the language and expectations useful in a CI classroom.
The target vocabulary in the junior primary story version includes the following three structures: nama saya, siapa nama, berkata (My name is, What’s your name, said)
The following are also in the story: di (at), dari (from), Astaga! (OMG!), autograph & pingsan (faints) but instead of pre-teaching these, I personally prefer to say the words in both languages (Indonesian first followed immediately with the English translation) & incorporate comprehension checks until I assess they were no longer necessary and then just use Indonesian. With my reception (prep) students I use ‘di’ & ‘Astaga!’ but not ‘dari’ or ‘pingsan’; I use ‘from’ & ‘faints’ instead. We all know our own student cohort best and you will know whether to use the Indonesian, the English or both for these ‘bonus’ words. I can’t stress enough the importance of always minimising unfamiliar vocabulary to avoid student cognitive overload. The only way you can fully understand how stressful this can be for your students is to join a class teaching an unfamiliar language as we did with Blaine Ray at the recent 2019 Australian TCI Conference. Please, please, please keep this in mind when teaching.
To personalise the story, I highly recommend using the name of familiar staff from your school in your story. Changing the celebrity name and the location to suit your current student’s interests will also ensure that the story appeals to your students.
It is also important in all TCI stories that cognates and proper nouns (not common nouns) are used. For example ‘McDonalds’ & ’hamburger’ are easily recognisable cognates whereas ‘rumah makan’ (restaurant) & ‘nasi’ (rice) are not. Cognates & familiar proper nouns are a gift to language learners and teachers. They help us to reduce the cognitive load and facilitate the ‘narrow and deep’ mantra that underpins CI teaching.
One final note regards the intentional lesson structure I use when planning activities in my JP lessons. The younger the students, the more important it is to keep activities short and sweet and for every sitting activity, follow it with an up and moving activity. I call this the up/down/up/down format! Students this age need lots of movement and restricted sitting time!
Here is the JP story version;
Pleased To Meet You by Jim Tripp
Taylor Swift di MacDonald’s.
Pak Taylor di MacDonald’s.
Taylor Swift berkata ‘Halo. Nama saya Taylor Swift. Siapa nama?
Pak Taylor berkata ‘Nama saya Pak Taylor.’
Taylor Swift berkata ‘Pak Taylor? Pak Taylors dari PEPS? Astaga!
Taylor Swift berkata, ‘Autograf?’
Taylor Swift faints
Taylor Swift is at MacDonald’s.
Pak Taylor is at MacDonald’s.
Taylor Swift said ‘Hallo. My name is Taylor Swift. What’s your name?
Pak Taylor said ‘My name is Pak Taylor.’
Taylor Swift said ‘Pak Taylor? Pak Taylor from PEPS? OMG!
Taylor Swift said, ‘Autograph?’
Taylor Swift faints
Junior Primary Lesson Outlines
LESSON 1. Target Structures:
nama saya (my name is)
Welcome:(A huge thank you to Diane Neubauer for her permission to use an adaptation of her wonderful introduction here)
Halo Kelas! Welcome to Indonesian. My name is Bu/Pak (Mrs/Mr)_____. Can you say that?
(Repeat very slowly) ‘Bu/Pak _____ . What do you think Bu/Pak means? Ya! Bu/Pak
means Mrs/Mr and if I was a man/woman, my name would be Pak/Bu ______! Pak/Bu
How do you feel about learning Indonesian?
I think learning Indonesian is cool too.
Some students feel nervous/ worried about learning Indonesian. They think it is
going to be hard. Do any of you feel more like that? Thank you for telling me this.
I’m going to share with you a few things which will help you enjoy learning Indonesian and also help you learn it faster.
Go through the rules briefly: JP – Dengar, Diam, Duduk (Listen, Quiet, sit down)
Do you know any Bahasa Indonesia?
What do you think learning Indonesian will be like?
TCI Activity # 1: Roll
I always begin calling the roll with the statement ‘Ayo mengabsen’.
followed quickly by pop-up English translation; That is Indonesian for let’s call the roll.
I call the roll using class dojo.
Greet each child with a wave & a halo with their name.
Encourage students to reply with Halo Bu Cathy.
TCI Activity # 1: Class Expectations Direct student attention to the 3 monyet poster. Discuss briefly what they are doing? Sitting, listening and being quiet! Explain that the monyet are being very clever and they are reminding you of what you need to do to learn Indonesian. Clarify that when students are doing the right thing they can earn positive class dojo points and when they are not doing the right thing, they will get a negative class dojo point. I then refer to the poster throughout the lesson and give class dojo points to students doing the right thing!
(see TPT for a free copy of this poster – acknowledgement to Annie Beach for her impressive artistry)
TCI Activity # 2: Introduce the target structure ‘Nama saya’
1. Say ‘Nama saya’.
2. Explain ‘Nama saya’ is Indonesian for “My name is…”
3. Students echo the teacher with various voices. Voice ideas include growly, squeaky, opera, whisper, very slowly ( I really love saying the structure slowly because it provides youth the opportunity to clearly enunciate it!). Notethat ‘listen & repeat’ is strongly discouraged in CI classrooms however I have found that junior primary students thoroughly enjoy it because of the quirky voices. It is a compelling way for them to hear novel repetitions of structures and the more unusual the voices, the more engaged the students become!
4. Provide the gesture.
5. Do one more comprehension check. (what does ‘nama saya’ mean, close your eyes and do the gesture for….)
TCI Activity # 3: Circling ‘- Nama saya’ (Remember to speak SLOWLY)
Here is the script that I used with my 2018 reception classes:
Say ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy’ and point to myself.
What do you think ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy” means?
Ya; ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy” means, “My name is Bu Cathy.”
Hold up a Dora The Explorer (or any soft toy character that is easily recognisable by that age level).
Nama saya Dora.
Ya! Nama saya Dora.”
Comprehension check: Nama saya Dora means My name is Dora!
Is that right? Is her name Dora?
Point to myself:
Nama saya Bu Cathy!
Ya! (thumbs up)
(Pointing to myself) Nama saya Dora?
No!! Nama say Bu Cathy
Nama saya (their teacher?)
Nama saya Jett? (Use a student’s name from the class)
Nama saya Bu Cathy?
Ya!! Nama saya Bu Cathy!
Nama saya Mrs Turley or Nama saya Bu Cathy?
What do you think ya means? That’s right – yes!
Hold up monyet puppet and say:
Halo kelas! (Waving his hand at them) and then:
Nama saya Big Bird??? Monyet shakes his head no.
Nama saya Cookie Monster??? Monyet shakes his head no.
Nama saya Monyet?? Monyet shakes his head yes!
Ya!! Nama saya Monyet! Monyet nods his head yes!
What does ‘Nama saya Monyet’ mean?
Ya!! Nama saya Monyet means, my name is Monyet!
Monyet again asks, Nama saya Jett? (student from the class)
Simultaneously with the class, negate this saying bukan!
Nama saya Monyet!
Nama saya Bu (their class teacher)?
Simultaneously with the class, negate this saying bukan!
What does ‘bukan’ mean? Repeat again shaking head. Ya!! Bukan means no.
Monyet again; ‘Nama saya Monyet’.
Nama saya Monyet or Nama saya Jett?
Ya!! Nama saya Monyet!
Repeat this with other student names from this class and each time, Monyet waves to that student!
Continue circling with other cards/props until you feel students have sufficiently grasped the target language or the students are becoming restless.
TCI Activity # 4: Fun Target structure Repetitions(to get more repetitions of the target structures use games, fun rhythms or songs that do not contain any unfamiliar vocabulary.)
Choose one of the following ‘nama saya’ activities:
1. Clapping: Clap hands twice and then knees twice while simultaneously saying intimate to the clapping; ‘Nama saya Bu/Pak ______,’ then repeating the clapping rhythm for the students to echo you, in time with the rhythm. Continue using students names by going around the circle with the students echoing! In the second round, encourage individual students to say it using their own name with the class & you echoing.
2. Piccadilly Circus – students stand in a circle with one child in the centre holding a soft a ball. They walk/run to someone in the circle and say as they hand over the ball, “Nama saya _____”. The 2 students then swap places & the person with the ball then walks/runs to someone different and says “Nama saya ________”. You can vary this game by asking students to sit down after they have passed off the ball or you can add another different coloured ball and play it with 2 balls. 3. dum dum dah dah – (replace dum, dum, dah, dah with Nama saya)
LESSON 2. Target Structures: Siapa nama? – What is your name?
TCI Activity # 1: Roll (Getting to know the students and familiarising them with how each Indonesian lesson begins)
I always begin calling the roll with the statement ‘Ayo mengabsen’ and again follow this immediately with a pop-up English translation; That is Indonesian for let’s call the roll.
Call the roll using class dojo and as with the previous lesson, greet each child with a wave, a halo and their name while encouraging students to reply with Halo Bu Cathy.
TCI Activity # 2: Review & Expand Student understanding of Class Expectations Review the 3 monyet poster and the benefits of sitting, listening and being quiet in Indonesian lessons!
TCI Lesson Activity # 3 – Nakal/Pandai (Introduce your preferred behaviour management system. Here is a link explaining in more detail how I manage my very successful JP behaviour management system.)
Discuss nakal/pandai and reiterate what is pandai in kelas Bahasa Indonesia and what is nakal di kelas Bahasa Indonesia. Link to tiga monyet and give class dojo points to students being pandai.
Introduce and sing together the following song to reinforce tiga monyet.
satu, satu, duduk, duduk, duduk.
dua, dua, diam, diam, diam.
tiga, tiga, dengar, dengar, dengar.
satu, dua, tiga, duduk, diam, dengar.
Put a stick up on the board next to the pandai poster using blutack and again reinforce diam, dengar, duduk.
TCI Activity # 4:TPR (Total Physical Response)
1. Revise meanings for berdiri, duduk. (stand, sit) &
2. Introduce perempuan/ laki-laki (girl/boy).
3. Explain/translate ‘perempuan’ is Indonesian for “girl” and ‘laki-laki’ is Indonesian for “boy.”
4. Students echo the teacher with various voices. Voice ideas include growly, squeaky, opera, whisper, very slowly ( I really love saying the structure slowly because it provides youth the opportunity to clearly enunciate it!).
5. Brainstorm for a gesture for the structures (e.g. girl = hand pretending to puff up hair & boy = stroking beard or drawing a moustache)
6. Do one more comprehension check.
Here’s my script from my 2018 reception classes:
Jett (student name) laki-laki.
Jett laki-laki? Ya Jett laki-laki.
Julie laki-laki? Bukan. Jett laki-laki.
Jett laki-laki atau Julie laki-laki?
Ya Jett laki-laki.
Repeat for a female student. Repeat using SpongeBob. SpongeBob laki-laki atau SpongeBob perempuan? Comprehension check. and move to incorporating laki-laki & perempuan:
Jett perempuan atau Jett laki-laki? Ahh, Jett laki-laki! laki-laki duduk.
Jess laki-laki? Jess perempuan? Ya! Jess perempuan! Jess perempuan duduk!
**Comprehension check often**
TCI Activity # 5: Circling – ‘Siapa Nama?’
From a bag, take out 2 puppets and begin a puppet show:
Bert: Halo kelas!
Bert: Nama saya Mr Banana.
Teacher says: Is that right? No!!
Bert: OK! Nama saya Bert!
Bert: Siapa nama? (to puppet 2 – SpongeBob ). (Comprehension check)
SpongeBob then asks a student sitting at the front, Siapa nama? (comprehension check).
SpongeBob (to Bert): Nama saya Jett (repeating name given by student).
Bert: Bukan!! Bukan Jett.
Bert points to Jett and says ‘Jett’ while nodding head. Points to SpongeBob and shakes his head saying, ‘Bukan Jett’. Points to Jett again and while nodding & waving says, ‘Halo Jett!’
Repeat for several students.
SpongeBob: ‘Nama saya Bu Cathy?’
Teacher: Bukan. Nama SAYA Bu Cathy!!
Bert: Siapa nama (to SpongeBob). (Ramp it up by being theatrical!!)
Teacher: Siapa nama? (to SpongeBob & again to the class)
Encourage class to answer.
Bert & SpongeBob say together: SpongeBob!
SpongeBob: Ya, Nama saya SpongeBob
TCI Activity # 6: Fun Target structure Repetitions
1. Raja Monyet (monkey king).
Students sit in a circle, with
one child in the middle with his/her eyes well covered. Select another student who will be the ‘Raja’ (king) and give them a name, which is familiar to your students. For this story, the ‘Rajas’ name would become Pak Taylor or Taylor Swift! The student in the centre is then invited to choose 3 different students (one at a time) and ask each, “ Siapa nama?”(What is your name?). All students except for the ‘raja’ answer with “Nama saya & their own name”(My name is _______) but the Raja answers with ‘Nama saya Taylor Swift.”(My name is Taylor Swift) With this answer, everyone must swap seats. Teacher can then choose a new ‘Raja’ and a new person to sit in the middle.
2. Last year I wrote a song that uses a very slow ‘skip skip, skip to my Lou‘ tune:
Nama saya Bu Cathy!
3. I also created a new game which is perfect for reps on siapa nama & nama saya with junior primary students:
Students walk together in a circle around the room in the same direction with music playing. When the music stops, each student has to drop to the ground like a rock with their eyes closed and their face facing downwards. ( It is important when explaining how to play this game that students understand that if they are not tucked up like a rock, they can’t be covered with the sarong, so I recommend before playing, ask a student to demo curling up like a ‘rock’ beforehand with their face facing the ground.) I walk with the students while the music is playing and when the music stops, and all the student are curled up like a rock, I cover one student with the sarong. As soon as I ask, “Siapa nama?”, students can sit up and walk over to the student covered by the sarong and stand around him/her without touching the sarong (or student) and answer my question. I restate every answer with ‘Nama saya (suggestion)?’ and if I say the right name, the student under the sarong jumps up! This became one of the most requested games last year!! Over the year, I gradually phased out the music and incorporated TPR language into the game and sometimes, I even covered two students with the sarong!!
TCI Activity # 7: Farewell Song; (Tune: If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands)
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa murid-murid/ anak anak (or simply kelas _______)
Sampai jumpa Bu/Pak_______,
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
LESSON 3. Target Structures: berkata – said
TCI Activity # 1: Roll
At this stage, I simply say their name and when they answer, I just greet each person with ‘halo (+ name). At this stage of the year, this is purely for me to start attaching names to faces.
TCI Activity # 3: Introduce the target structure ‘berkata’
1. Write ‘berkata’ on the board. (except for reception/prep classes)
2. Explain/translate ‘berkata’ is Indonesian for “say/speaks”
3. Students echo the teacher with various voices. Voice ideas include growly, squeaky, opera, whisper, very slowly ( I really love saying the structure slowly because it provides youth the opportunity to clearly enunciate it!).
4. Brainstorm for a gesture for the structure and choose one that replicates the one you personally want or was chosen in a previous class.
5. Do one more comprehension check, (close your eyes and do the gesture for….).
TCI Activity # 3: Circling
Create a powerpoint of characters who have saying that are well known for your student cohort. What worked well for me was adding an animation for the ‘saying’ to delay the text until after you have brainstormed as a class and included heaps of reps of ‘berkata’. If students can’t remember exactly what the character is known to say, I prompt with ridiculous suggestions. e.g. Dory berkata, “Let it go”? And I don’t just say ‘Let it go”….. I sing it theatrically!! Boy, does that get a great response!!
For my junior primary students the following were very successful:
Spongebob berkata ‘Krabby Patty’.
Elsa berkata ‘Let it go.’
Pikachu berkata ‘Pika, pika.’
Bob the Builder berkata ‘Can we fix it? Yes we can!’
Dory berkata ‘Just keep swimming!’
TCI Activity # 4: Target Structure Reps Activity
To get more repetitions of the target structures and provide students with a chance to move around, use games or fun rhythms that only contain familiar vocabulary or cognates. e.g.
Students stand in a circle. Teacher says a sentence from the powerpoint and the students each mime it. Teacher then regards the selection of actions while repeating the sentence over and over before celebrating the students who have demonstrated it creatively and theatrically. Incorporate comprehension checks when necessary.
This activity is excellent for priming students for ‘All the World’s a Stage’ which benefits from OTT actions.
TCI Activity # 5: CI Activity – Tell the Story “Pleased to Meet You’ using puppets/soft toys/actors Using the props that you feel most comfortable with, tell the story, circling & triangle each new detail for which students require repetitions. Remember the most important tip that Blaine shared with us at the conference; add characters not new sentences! Note:With reception aged students, I recommend telling the story and save co-creating for older students.
TCI Activity # 6:CI Activity – All the Worlds a Stage In pairs, students act out the story as it is told to them by the teacher.
Here is how I introduce All The Worlds A Stage to students for the first time:
1. Students stand in a circle. I say the sentences in order, starting at the beginning. Each student mimes that sentence exactly. I acknowledge the students who do a brilliant job of this, encouraging creativity and exaggerated actions.
2. Then I ask students to duduk before explaining that “Cari satu teman dan duduk” means “Find a friend and then sit down’ and that the last two people standing will automatically become partners. (If there is an odd number, either I will offer to be that persons partner of they will be told to join in with a pair and make a group of 3. This depends on the activity. For ATWAS – I invite the student to be my partner.) We practise finding a friend a few times to both review the language and the process.
2. Once the class is sitting down with their friend, I ask the class to watch my demo. I turn to my ‘friend’ and say in English, do you want to be SpongeBob or do you want to be Bu Cathy?” I answer their response with ok! Then I ask my ‘friend’ to do another demo. Again I ask them ‘Do you want to be SpongeBob or Bu Cathy?’ Whatever they answer with, I say sadly and pretend to cry, “Oh, I wanted to be that.” We then discuss as a class what to do when both want to be the same character. I usually model saying to my ‘friend’ you be Bu Cathy this time and I’ll be Bu Cathy next time. OK? The best thing about doing ATWAS twice is the REPETITION!! Score!
3. Partners choose who they will be. I then say in Indonesian, SpongeBob berdiri. SpongeBob duduk. Bu Cathy berdiri. Bu Cathy duduk. (This is largely to double check that there is one of each character in each partnership as well as being the perfect opportunity to sneak in some sneaky TPR).
4. I then say very slowly, sentence by sentence with as many reps as possible & acknowledging awesome acting;
“Bu Cathy berdiri.
Nama perempuan Bu Cathy.
Bu Cathy di MacDonalds.
Bu Cathy duduk.
Nama laki-laki SpongeBob.
SpongeBob di MacDonalds.’
Bu Cathy dan SpongeBob berdiri.
SpongeBob berkata, “Halo! Nama saya SpongeBob” (pause for students to echo).
“Siapa nama?” (pause for students to echo).
Bu Cathy berkata, “Halo Spongebob.
Nama saya Bu Cathy.” (pause for students to echo)
SpongeBob berkata, “Bu Cathy? (pause) Bu Cathy? (pause again) Bu Cathy from Port Elliot Primary School? (pause again).
Bu Cathy berkata, “Ya. Nama saya Bu Cathy.”
SpongeBob berkata, “Astaga! Autgraf!”
Bu Cathy autographs (I encourage students to write on their friends hand with a finger!)
The above is repeated once more from step 2 but before we start, I explain that each pair needs to check if either wants to swap characters. If one person wants to swap, they must swap but if no one wants to swap, they can stay the same!
TCI Lesson Activity # 7 – Nakal/Pandai Menghitung! comprehension check! Count the tally in Indonesian and then if the pandai tally is more than the nakal tally, remove the stick from the board and ask the class, “Siapa nama?” Restate suggestions with ‘Nama saya Jett?” Bukan! I also throw in laki laki & perempuan here to give clues.
eg Nama saya Jett? Bukan. Saya bukan laki laki. Saya perempuan.
Once we have guessed the name of the student on the stick, they can choose an item from the Treasure Box.
Farewell Song; ( Tune: If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands)
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Sampai jumpa murid-murid/ anak anak (or simply kelas _______) Go
Sampai jumpa Bu Cathy,
Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa, Sampai jumpa
Lesson 3 & Beyond…
This lesson’s main focus is the parallel story. I love to make PowerPoints from my parallel stories using well known characters and then record myself telling the story. This can then be uploaded to YouTube for students to listen to firstly in class and then repeatedly in their own time at home.
Here is an example of one of my adult co-created parallel ‘Pleased To Meet You’ story.
I haven’t uploaded a junior primary one yet. The one I made last year was not successful because I used Ronald MacDonald & sadly in every class there were students who were familiar with an M rated film about an evil clown, so it won’t be used again let alone uploaded!
From this point, I usually base my lessons on TCI activities suitable for preliterate students that are fun ways to get. more repetitions on the parallel story.
I also highly recommend continuing to incorporate TPR to build up a classroom context vocabulary with words such as putar (turn), duduk di kursi (sit in a chair), berjalan kaki (walk), antri (line up), berdansa (dance), stop, melompat (jump) & berlari (run). Restrict this list of words to those that will help you minimise the use of English in the classroom and also words that you know will be necessary for future stories! There is no single list of TPR words because we all teach differently!!
At this level of schooling, open assessment of preliterate students will be based entirely on observation due to students inability to read and write.
Here are a few recommended closed assessment strategies perfect for this age group:
Listen & Draw – Teacher says a sentence from the story, students listen to the sentence and then illustrate the sentence to demonstrate comprehension. While the students are drawing, teacher observes who is drawing and who is not. By asking one of the students who is drawing to translate the sentence into English, provides evidence that the sentence was comprehended successfully while also providing a comprehension check for those who had yet to begin drawing.
Simon says – Teacher says a word (eg duduk) but precedes it with ‘Simon says’ (replace this with Bu/Pak & your name) if the students are to do the action. If the word is said alone, the students do not move.
Note: Traditionally, all students who do the incorrect action are asked to sit or stand out. I try to avoid this if possible and permit the students to continue playing the game. Much more enjoyable for everyone and also ensures all students are participating; thus providing more observation data!
Create a class book – Organise the story so that one sentence is on one page. Print the pages on A3 and distribute randomly to students – if more students than pages, arrange duplicate copies. When the illustrations are completed, reduce them on the photocopier to A4 (you’ll be amazed at how much this improves the illustrations) and then bind.
Optional – laminate each page. Credit Annie Beach & Amy Vanderdeen for this strategy.
For older JP students other assessment tasks could include:
Unjumble words from a sentence taken straight from the story.
Create individual book copies – Use the booklet setting on the photocopier with a sentence from the story on each page. Students illustrate one page at a time while the teacher reads the text out. It becomes very clear very quickly which students have acquired the language. (Students can then take the booklet home to read to parents, siblings and pets!)
If you have any other CI activity ideas that could be added to this unit of work, please add them to the comments below!! All contributions gratefully accepted!
Yesterday after about many months, I finally finished the Indonesian Scope & Sequence for beginner Indonesian TCI teachers and have uploaded a PDF version to TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers). This document began when I decided to document the order of stories I use in my classroom. The reasons for this are many. Firstly to systematically confirm that the stories did in fact build on each other from a vocabulary standpoint, that the story outcomes aligned with the ACARA Achievement Standards (as per the directive from school leadership in regards to reporting to parents), that the top ten + sudah/belum were equally encompassed and finally to create a document that could be shared with colleagues.
One of the hardest parts of beginning the TCI journey is finding a good place to start and then the second hardest part is knowing where to go next! This list of stories hopefully helps with both those issues.
The stories listed in the Scope & Sequence will be gradually added to this blog. The first set of stories have already been added. Search for them in the top bar above this post. Click on “Scope & Sequence Stories” and they will open up in the order they were listed.
I am hoping that within my blog are many ideas that you can try for each of the stories. Search in the Target Structure TCI Activities page, (look at the top of this page) or look to the right of this post and scroll down the topics list till you find the TCI Activities category where when clicked will list all my posts that contained activities that I have used with students. You can also search for story titles in the search bar.
For an idea of how I have used a story with classes, this post I wrote last year gives you an outline. It is based on the traditional story Kancil & Buaya. I prefer to pre-teach unknown target structures and it is so important that these be limited to no more than 3. Anymore than 3 students start facing mental overload and incomprehensibility. My favourite way to pre-teach new structures is using quirky pictures; the quirkier the better. It certainly ramps up engagement! Search Google Images for your target structure & add the words ‘pic + funny’ and you’ll be surprised what turns up. Be careful though doing this at school! Googling ‘terlalu besar’ (too big) images for Judith Dubois’ Jacket story is not something I recommend if students are nearby!
Thank you to everyone who purchases a copy of this document. I truly hope you find it helpful. Please contact me if you have any comments about it.
Remember this quote Margarita Perez Garcia share with us at the 2019 TCI Conference;
I have just returned home after a very exciting meeting and half an hour later, I am still grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I am on such a high that I want to share it with you!!
Last Friday, Annie added our 3 names to the invitation list of the Country Cabinet State Government visit to the Fleurieu.
The aim of the Country Cabinet visits is to provide regional residents with a community forum so they can speak directly to the premier and his ministers about issues directly relevant to their region. We were thrilled that this would provide us with an opportunity to speak with the SA education minister, Susan Close.
Last year we heard her speak at the MLTASA conference about the importance of language learning. All the language teachers were delighted to discover that we had such a powerful ally in our state government.
During our car trip home after the conference, we decided that it was a priority to speak directly to the minister about TPRS but could not find a time that suited us all. It was a gift to hear that she was visiting our region and schools this week.
Tonight the 3 of us joined the throng at the Victor Rec Centre enjoying a BBQ dinner cooked by the brilliant Lions Club. It was lovely seeing such a huge cross section of people representing the Fleurieu. We caught up with friends while munching on sausage sandwiches (or in my case, a veggie patty) while waiting for the cabinet to arrive.
We had deliberately chosen seats at the back of the room to give us an excellent vantage point from which to peruse all who entered. Annie immediately spotted Susan Close as she arrived. We allowed her time to grab a sausage sandwich before making a beeline for her and totally monopolising her until she had to make her way to the front.
Susan was very gracious and listened intently to us as we explained to her about TPRS and all that we have achieved down here on the Fleurieu for language teachers. She asked many questions (when she could get a word in!) and was delighted to hear that she will get the opportunity to observe TPRS in the classroom tomorrow during her school visit.
It was so exciting to have the opportunity to speak directly to the minister of education about TPRS, a largely unfamiliar methodology in Australia, that has the potential to reverse the decreasing numbers of students choosing to study languages across secondary and tertiary sectors in Australia. We took great delight in sharing Ian Perry’s amazing 2016 student retention numbers as evidence of this!!
Let’s hope our chat and the brief observation opportunity tomorrow will tweak her curiosity enough to investigate TPRS further. It would be awesome to have her support!!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Usually in Kursi Luar Biasa, (literally – the amazing chair [special student interviews]), I ask students personal questions about themselves (age, likes, pets etc) followed by a quiz. The quiz is a benar/salah style quiz. I began at first by asking students to stand if the statement I said about the ‘amazing student’ was true or sit if it was false, however I soon discovered that this became a sheep following exercise; if one stood/ sat then the majority followed suit without any thought. So the quiz became, stand if it is true for you and sit if it is false for you – as this requires greater focused listening & personal accountability. So if I say, ‘Susan tinggal di Victor Harbor’ (repeating one fact that Susan had told us about herself), the students who also live in Victor, stand. If I say, ‘Susan tidak tinggal di Mount Compass’, then all the students who don’t live in Mount Compass would stand, while those who do, sit!
As Kursi Luar Biasa (KLB) is largely a short one on one conversation with just the occasional questions addressing or about other students (to ensure comprehensibility and/or to encourage listening), engagement levels from the older students have decreased noticeably this semester. I have racked my brain for ways to ramp it up. I scoured Bryce Hedstrom’s Persona Especial posts for suggestions appropriate for this age level as well as being suitable for Bahasa Indonesia (the Indonesian language) and tried those that had potential (see past posts) but there were still students using this session as a zone out time. As they are generally quiet, I’ve accepted it because it has allowed me to focus on the ‘awesome’ person and to keep the spotlight right on the student who chose to sit in the chair! I also justify it to myself with the thought that while they are not listening with the intent to understand, they are still being exposed to Indonesian.
Yesterday, a year 7 boy, J, changed all that! He had us all following closely his hilarious answers and the entire class was 100% engaged and following the discussion closely! After The interview had finished (stopped by the recess bell), I asked the class for a rating out of 5 (using their fingers) and 98% rated it 5/5 while 2-3 rated it 4/5. I got exactly the same score for overall comprehension of the entire conversation! J began by telling us where he lived and about the people in his family (great opportunity to revise one of the new target structures from the story that lesson) and then when I asked him about the sport he plays, we learned that he plays centre forward for Goolwa Hockey Club and is the leading goal scorer (dua juta gol!). A student who actually does play for Goolwa, was shaking her head and making it clear with body language that J does NOT play hockey for Goolwa!! He started wildly embellishing (when asked what team he plays in, he stated the under 18’s – a grade that doesn’t exist in our local association), he had everyone’s attention. We also learned that he plays in the AFL for Port Power and after pulang sekolah (another target structure from the earlier story – go home from school), he eats and then goes to Adelaide to train! He also claimed that he was a talented surfer, almost as good as Mal (a fellow student who is an extremely talented surfer and has participated at the national level). This last claim had his friends rolling on the floor with laughter!! He also made ridiculous claims about playing in the NBL! It was the most enjoyable KLB interview I’ve had in a long time and one I encouraged the students in that class try again!
Previously, I have discouraged students from stating fictitious information about themselves because I’ve always considered this part of the lesson as an awesome way for me to get to know my students better. However, my brain is generally on overload and I am finding, I’m embarrassed to admit, that unless a student tells me something really unusual or moving, my back to back lessons all merge into a vague hodgepopdge and I forget who said what. Yet I still see a value in beginning this way, especially with the middle primary year levels. It is a safe way in which to support students with repetitions of the vocabulary and language structures needed to answer personal questions or to talk about themselves to others. It provides them with a solid foundation upon which, when they are older, they can start being creative and quirky!!
I am so looking forward to next week when I can encourage the other year 67 classes to be wild and wacky.
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!
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:
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,
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!