Learning

I love TPRS, because it’s always possible to do it better, yet there’s also a limitless source of ideas to keep improving because of blogs, listserves, and colleagues’ support. Earlier today, a group generated a bunch of ideas about how to handle mixed classes with AP.

We were discussing ways to address listening, because we all know that kids need to hear other people speaking the target language. Allison said that there are German sites where video news is aimed at teenagers…I found a YouTube segment in Russian about teenagers putting on news shows, even though I didn’t find any Russian video news for teens. There are lots of different places to get listening materials, now that we have the Internet. You can google any subject in the target language and get videos to play. Of course, we can also play short segments of movies, or use the CD’s that came with textbooks, or the listening exercises on line…my problem is not a lack of sources for audio, but the ability to quickly find material that will be comprehensible and compelling for a group.

Just as with any form of input, I pull out the high frequency structures in advance and play around with them–PQA, stories–and very often I will ask the story that they’ll hear, so that they have at least the structure of the piece in advance. Strangely, kids are always surprised to find the similarities between our discussion, our class-written stories, and the ultimate piece of reading or listening. On the other hand, I guess that’s a good thing…maybe it means I’m not as predictable as I think I am.

Back to those ideas that got generated…we discussed that an easy way to do listening or reading comprehension is to ask kids to write down X number of facts they remembered from the piece (maybe people were saying just to have them write down everything they understand in English). I could see that perhaps it would be an issue of memory if the kids don’t have the reading in front of them or a chance to hear the listening several times. I’ll have to try it as a twist on listening assessment. That would keep me from the necessity of typing up quizzes and probably make it easier for me to justify my time searching and finding appropriate segments. I think we also said that the AP kids could do those summaries in the target language, prepping them for at least the Spanish AP — Angie mentioned that they have to write a synthesis of a reading for that test.

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