Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

Start With Meeting Them Where They’re At: #Authres to Comprehensible Input…


uniqloIt was a great #langchat last night. Amy Lenord (@alenord) and Kris Climer (@krisclimer) led us through a structured discussion on using Authentic Resources (#authres) for Comprehensible Input. I was happy to be a participant, and not a moderator, on this one as I am still expanding my #authres use. This is partially because accessing #authres is complicated in an Asian language when students’ character knowledge does not fully meet what is used in regular communication in the target language country.

#langchat last night inspired me to rework the introduction to ‘large’ numbers – that typically we do in Yr2 (along with the Chinese characters for them). Suddenly the ‘old way’ was not my preferred way and I looked for #authres I had on hand to use.

The #langchat discussion had for me several key points

1 – Meet Them Where They are At – Without access to a computer lab and Japanese store sites I took advantage of  the flyers for hip clothing company Uniqlo that I picked up on my last trip to Tokyo. The visuals hooked the students well before we even began.This is stuff they’d actually wear! Then we moved on to…

2 – Use to Inspire/Reinforce Learning – After a song to introduce the numbers students were then invited to find items for sale and ask their partner  “How much”. We started with hundreds and moved up gradually to entire prices. For really high prices/numbers I put up a couple of pictures of expensive cars and airplanes with prices underneath them.  After more practice with prices, and students making up their own to quiz partners we moved on to…

3 – Extend the Activity – In Context –  “If you were shopping how would prices come up?” Well – when you went to buy. So my students were introduced to basic shopping phrases – “I’ll take this and this” “How much is it all together” “It will come to (amount)” etc. Not a lot – but enough to keep them interacting in an authentic way.

The journey to #authres starts with the willingness to look for the ‘real’ to bring the language learning into an appropriate context. I always ask for pamphlets, brochures and store flyers as souvenirs when I know people will be visiting Japan. As a side note I use the Uniqlo site in Yr 4 in another situation – to actually look at more complicated shopping/bargaining interaction – so this is a great ‘preview’ for them.

Thanks for the inspiration again #langchat!


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