Language Sensei

Thoughts on The Journey of Teaching Languages

What Exactly Are They Reviewing?

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Football teamThere is a lot of talk in my professional circles at this time of year about ‘review’. With the two month holiday drawing down and the Sept.3 start of classes looming the question of whether to/how much to go over is always a timely one. Last week my #langchat PLN spent time discussing it – and, true to form, my personal view of the role of review came to me in one of my quick and spontaneous 120 character tweets.review tweet

So what are my “Rules Of The Road” that need revisiting at the start of the year?

Self-Sufficiency – Your teacher is a resource, a guide and someone who can clarify and support in the classroom. Most of your real use of the language will happen outside these 4 walls. So, you are the person who must know where your resources are, how to locate what you need and, most importantly, when to go to them for support.

Supportive Sustained Interaction – You will not always understand what is being communicated to you, and someone will not always understand you. How do you make it work? What are your strategies? Do you repeat? Use gestures? How about rephrasing or supplying examples? How do you sustain a conversation – what are your follow-up questions to learn more about the topic/person?

Target Language Work – You are being asked to work in the Target Language (in my case Japanese). Your partner, or group, expects you do this, just as you expect it of them. You will not be asked to do something that you do not have the skills to do – so relax and use what you have in your head (and at your fingertips). You will improve your skills, accomplish the task, and – unbelievably – have more fun if you stay in the target language.

Incidental Chatting – If you finish something when others are busy you are to not to sit there mutely awaiting instructions. No – this is your time to practice those ‘small talk skills’. What is your partner doing after school? What did they do this morning? Do they like broccoli? How do they feel about a particular subject? If you’re stuck you can use some of  the ideas on our conversation sheet. Imagine – you can sit and talk with someone about everyday things…just like a real person might!

Welcome back to the journey…glad to have you on the road again!

Colleen

 PS If you are interested in connecting with other MFL teachers – why not join us for our weekly #langchat Thursday at 8pmEST? Topics discussed are suggested by participants and are voted on weekly. It’s the best personal Pro-D you can do from anywhere!

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