We had Russian visitors again today, but they sat in the back of the room and listened. I was a little worried, since they had said they were impressed by how much the immersion kids knew. They wanted to know how we could teach them that much. Three hours a day since kindergarten adds up!
I explained that this is the normal track, and that the kids are in their first year. They enjoyed our story about a kid who went three different places and stole stuff (then returned it). The point was to practice the phrases, “Excuse me! Forgive me!” because those are the kinds of phrases that students often don’t come out knowing, now that I am not teaching traditionally. That’s not to say that they knew them well earlier, but at least I knew I’d covered them!
The visitors said that they were impressed by how much grammar the kids know and that they were going from past to present tense so well. I was happy too, but I had to admit they don’t really know the grammar. Some of them can explain why some of the endings are there. It’s not like the whole class can, or like they would know all the cases. They know the ones I’ve popped up a few times.
I’m trying to remember that “last three minute” response that was on a Ted talk or in some research. It’s the bit that says that your memory recalls the end of an experience, so if people are laughing and cheering at the end of a lesson, they’ll recall it favorably, and if something bad happens at the end (like a difficult quiz), it leaves a bad taste in their mouths. That’s why I am now trying to give quizzes mid-way through the lesson, not at the end, and am also trying to make the last couple of minutes really fun.