Australia Update

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25 thoughts on “Australia Update”

  1. That is a really wonderful blog post! It’s great to hear of other teachers of Indonesian getting involved, and the 1:1 coaching process sounds like it’s working really, really well. Very cool.

    1. I want to echo what Diane said… that was a great post Bu Cathy and shows a whole lot of understanding of what the method is all about (reps and comprehension and novelty and aliveness and more!). How exciting that this is all happening! And how lucky you are that you get Catharina in this capacity… she is surely an elementary TCI queen.
      By the way, I LOVE your adaptation on Pleased to Meet You, which maybe goes above and beyond what I’d consider an adaptation, because what you’ve done is create an entirely new twist on the “punchline” so to speak. Brilliant!

      1. Jim I use your stories exclusively. It’s given me such a peace of mind as they can easily be simplified to suit young kids, and are homerun stories. I can focus on all the skills I need to improve without worrying too much about the plot. I have learned so much from you, Jim and Diane, and will share it the best way I can with Bu Cathy, Sharon and Annie eventhough some things get a little lost in translation +I’ve taken the freedom to adapt some stuff to better suit elementary. Also, Ben has been given me too much credit lately: I am no queen, expert or guru. Far from. I just listen carefully, take notes and try to imitate.

        1. Catharina, I read lots of your comments and posts in the PLC, and you definitely have acquired a lot of wisdom about CI and adapting it to your very young students. You deserve the credit Ben and others are giving you whether or not you feel like it yet. I suggest it’s like language acquisition; it’s unconsciously acquired, so the acquirer doesn’t realize what’s happening. Others recognize your expertise, so go with that.

  2. Skyping is wild: Bu Cathy, Annie and Sharon in their classroom in Adelaide while I’m in my kitchen in New Jersey. 16 hours time difference. They are starting a new school year full of energy and enthusiasm. I’m hibernating. Mainly, we are trying to inspire each other, and share ideas + I know 11 words in Indonesian by now. Thank you Ben for setting it up. It is wondeful to connect with other teachers, and learn from one another.

  3. I am genuinely excited about this. Catharina you and the others doing 1:1 Skype coaching are to be commended. I don’t know if others are aware but Jody is working from Mexico City with a person in Thousand Oaks, CA. Isn’t Judy working from France with someone in Canada? Skype in my view is limiting in sharing true ideas, but if is the best we have we have to use it. We are using technology well. Conference funding is all but drying up. Bu Cathy’s blog article will be read by many here, and so we can get a feel for what is happening in Australia. Those Indonesian teachers down there will be reading her blog. Catharina will continue over time to instruct and learn from Bu Cathy, and over time things will change incrementally. We live in a fantastic world.

  4. …Catharina firmly believes that it is best to begin with vocabulary useful for classroom organization and instructions….
    That is exactly what Julie told us in the Learning Lab on Wednesday. She gave two reasons for teaching classroom vocab and instructions as the first thing with new students:
    1. She could then use the objects in the room to get circling on the whatever verbs she wants to teach all year, because the objects are handy and in the room. For example, if she wants to teach the verb “carry” in January, she puts up a Power Point slide of the question, “What do you carry in your notebook?” Underneath the question are all of the classroom objects they learned in August. The kids are not fazed by the classroom words and so their minds are left free to focus on Julie’s many reps on “carry”. It’s flat out brilliant and it came from Julie attending our CO state conference where Carol Gaab was the speaker, which I mentioned in another post here yesterday, and how what Carol said broke down TPRS at that conference “changed her life”. Carol is not just an expert on reading, but on all aspects of this change – she covers everything and does it so that new people fully understand.
    I find it most interesting that we are right now in the process of articulating what a Scope and Sequence should look like. We can add what Julie and Bu Cathy have done under Catharina’s guidance to our template – teach the classroom object first.
    2. The second reason to teach classroom objects is because we have to. I guess the reason for that is that in case any of our students are in a classroom in another country and can’t find the pencil sharpener, they can ask the teacher where it is. (I think our reason of using classroom objects to teach verbs throughout the year is better – to teach verbs.)
    Bu Cathy: now we are hooked and are going to want in coming months an equally complete and well expressed description of all the rest of your Skype sessions with our PLC elementary rock star as this one just published.

    1. “teaching classroom vocab and instructions”
      Yesss. I do some of this, but not enough. Here’s another BIG reason: you want to use this vocabulary every day in classroom management, transitions, and in giving instructions. So you either have to pre-teach it in order to be comprehensible in the target language or else you have to resort to L1. We teach it first and we can then stay in the target language all the time, creating more of a comprehensible L2-only environment.
      I think this vocabulary can be well taught with TPR. So what are these essential verbs and vocabulary?
      verbs: stand, sit, turn on, turn off, open, close, listen, read, speak, write, take, take out, we’re going to, stop, wait, move
      nouns: chair, desk, door, paper, pencil, lights
      What else do we need to say a lot? (besides the biggies we already use: has, wants, goes, gives, is)

      1. With little kids I also teach: draw, erase, work, be silly, put and take off, pick up
        Thank you Eric. This will be very helpful for Bu Cathy, Annie and Sharon.

      2. An idea for these classroom-use verbs if you have literate students: make a chart, target language + English meaning. Maybe for littler ones, a picture of the action would work.
        I have an “Action Words” chart in my room so I can give instructions and laser-point what I mean until they understand. Nouns I just hold up the object or point at it, or gesture it. I use that chart a lot and don’t have to teach “look at” or “speak” or “read aloud.” I need to add “draw.”

        1. Yes Julie had excellent posters of adverbs and connecting words mainly up on the walls and whenever she used one she did a fantastic job of making sure she laser pointed right at it for about five seconds. It really added to the richness of the discussion.
          There is also that way of using the fist and the other hand together to teach prepositions. I always use that when being observed because it gets boxes checked. I used to do that too fast and try to say too many preps at once but now I get that I need to slow down when doing that technique.
          You need to remember to stop, teach the preps relative to the fist, usually left one bc most people are right handed, and then after going through the prep sequence remember where you were in the story.

        2. Yes! In the style of a “Word wall” but for the action words only. Great idea!
          In Breckenridge Jason Fritze used prewritten big flashcards. If Jason said “una culebra” (snake) he would lift up the big flashcard for the students to see while pointing to the drawing of a snake with “una culebra” written below. Jason was well organized and prepared, and knew before hand what words may come up in his squeleton story. This trick in particular, works well for teachers that must haul their stuff around school and don’t have a designated wall space.

  5. I liked reading on Bu Cathy’s blog how we can use pictures to get reps. We really went many years without that powerful tool until recently and now I am seeing it in Julie’s classes, Mark Mullaney’s, Diane Neubauer’s etc. Some of us have been using images for years. It’s become as popular as circling and makes getting reps either via the comparing with students. By calling up an image to support the introduction of a verb, we stimulate the kids’ minds in ways we can’t even imagine via the comparisons made, as per what Bu Cathy wrote that she learned from Bu Catharina:
    3. Have pictures of celebrities, staff and students and hold them up asking, Nama saya Billy? Nama saya Bu _______ (their teachers name).
    I wish I could credit everyone, but I can’t remember who it was (who was it?) that said to have pics of celebrities up in the front of the room for this purpose. Jim or Eric?

    1. Here’s another reason pictures and photos help: if the teacher gets “stuck” and can’t think of a question to ask with at least one target in it, just look at the image again and see what else you can ask. Also, the students will point out things they see, and that’s always worth following up.
      I have found that new words charts I use (when I’m introducing new targets, usually Monday) and images work both help me: if I start to run out of ideas or start to drift away from the targets, I look back at those and can find something else to ask — or I go to the next picture.
      Last week I asked every student to send me one or two photos that they would find interesting & fun to discuss at the beginning of classes. Semester 2 start-of-class reports has more variety and flexible to it as a result. (I had a lot of students really that had a hard time understanding what kind of photos were wanted — several of them were trying to find the serious, academic aspect. They get it better now that the classes have done this.)

    1. Not to split hairs Ben, because any idea of Eric’s is worth stealing for sure (!!), but we’ve been talking about the power of pictures up in front to generate compelling characters for stories for several years. I remember back when you were having a few of us write blog entries Ben, and one I wrote was called “Wallflowers” and there were a ton of awesome comments from PLC members about how we were using pictures to get CI flowing well.

  6. No doubt Jim and you are totally right. We have been using pictures with all the cool new ideas here like (I think it was Keri who thought of this) the Verb Slam Activity, and a host of others. But the reason I am reacting like I never saw this before was ultimately the HOW of the use of pictures which goes back to Carol and Julie and if you ask Diana a bunch of others in DPS. It was Julie’s teaching style, the power of it, the efficiency the off the chart engagement that made me think I was seeing something knew. I would sneak looks at Diana during the classes and she was just beaming. I saw PQA working with pics working with reading working with output in a different pictorial format, if I may be allowed that term, and it was the riff on using basic pictures that blew me away. So I have in fact been using pics for years as well but my students never came into a three dimensional focus like Julie’s, chattering away in Spanish and making me think I had jumped up into little corner of comprehensible input and output heaven and it was all because of the arrangement, the HOW Julie did it. But yeah your point is well taken.

    1. I was only talking about the use of prominent pictures in the CI classroom, not necessarily what Julie what doing… I don’t think I get the gist completely of how she was using pictures and reading and PQA to get the kids talking… I’m really excited to understand it better, and then steal it. 🙂

      1. Yeah right behind where I am sitting is a clipboard with the play by play that Julie used. I just need to reach back and put it next to the keyboard here and start my detailed report. I agree – it is the order of things, the style of it all, that grabbed me. It’s always in the details. I’ll get that posted. But remember I think I will get some video access because Julie did in fact video the class the next day for the DPS teachers being trained, and Diana has already promised me access to that and also the 2014 Denver iFLT footage of all the language teachers there.

  7. What fantastic feedback and discussion. Thank you everyone so much! The value we have all received here in SA from skyping Catharina has been (and will be) immeasurable. I will be forever grateful to both Ben for suggesting it and to Catharina for agreeing to be my (now ‘our’) coach. From the three of us very novice TPRS/CI Australian Indonesian teachers: terima kasih banyak!!
    Students return to school tomorrow, so hopefully next weekend i’ll have time to blog about the second session we all enjoyed with Catharina. It’s pretty hectic for us atm as we prepare our selves and our classrooms for the new year of teaching Indonesian using TCI!

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