A former student came to visit yesterday. She spent her recent junior semester in…Ukraine, Moldova, Trans-Dniester, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia (former Soviet republic), but that’s a whole different story. We got talking about what happened when students went off to college Russian programs. She said she mentioned to a recent teacher that she’d never learned any grammar.
A moment for self-justification…I’m sure that I did grammar pop-ups, but it’s true that only recently have I realized that I have to occasionally label the names of the cases and verb tenses so that if kids do go to college Russian, they won’t think we never did grammar.
The teacher in this case was dumbfounded that my student had never studied grammar. She said, “But what did you do in class then?” My student said that she’d learned stories, songs, poems…the teacher admitted that they were holding the conversation in Russian and that must mean something…
In the same vein, a co-presenter and I were putting together an upcoming session, and she said I could just read with the group through a demo story. This time, the shoe was on the other foot. I said, “But what do I do with just the story, if I’m not asking it first and making a parallel story for later?”
Alaskans, is there anyone who would let me practice a workshop session on you? I need to feel how it’s going to work.