I’m going to be very honest right now. I have been loving MovieTalk in my classroom this year. But sometimes, I have wondered whether it truly “works.” That’s because I’ve only heard myself do it, and then I’ve read scripts in English. I haven’t been able to feel it the way that we get to feel TPRS work when we go learn bits of other languages or attend workshops that give us days of Chinese or Spanish.
Today I can tell you for sure: MovieTalk works. Our First Friday bunch got together with the goal of coaching one another through some MovieTalk. A student teacher was up first with a funny little video. She used French to tell us what was going on in the movie. I had to interrupt her right away. “I understand everything!” I was so excited! And she’s a student teacher…one who walks on water, obviously, but we don’t always expect stellar teaching in the first year. Then we watched a Water Boy movie in Japanese for a while. Again, we understood everything. Then it was Russian, then German. In German, where I have acquired more of the nouns, I found myself picking up verbs.
I can almost not believe this. I can understand how my kids picked up words after hearing them one time now. I can’t remember the French for “leg,” but I can remember these: cook, dog, woman, man, cake… and I can say them! I can understand a whole bunch of verbs and a few adjectives, but at this basic level, acquiring a few nouns is probably where I’m best, because I am a true beginner. (I won’t let myself go off on a tangent here about order of acquisition, that maybe we acquire nouns we’re interested in first, and more slowly verbs…)
The second most interesting thing about this experience is that I should have been dead tired (after a day of state Russian competition; I organized the judges and ran the competition room. It’s hectic). I was thinking I was crazy to have scheduled this meeting on the same day. But once the movies started and I was understanding everything, I was alive and energized.
It’s going to be a while before any of us knows enough about MT to know how to coach it. That will take a different kind of mind, but then we’ll be able to take off running!
My colleagues in the ASD rock. I am incredibly lucky to know these teachers who care enough to turn out on a Friday for a couple of hours and practice our craft. And the geniuses of the CI world also rock. They have been giving us the tools to help people acquire languages…for real…at last.