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Ideas on how to have a purposeful speaking lesson?


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NinjaTurtle

There is another point which needs to be made, which is that some students don't want their mistakes corrected. The teacher has to play this by ear and see how much correcting will be appreciated and how much will be offensive.

 

Another point is that many students make a LOT of mistakes. I remember one time working with a student who had just recorded a short speech and the two of us then listened to the playback. I stopped the tape at every mistake and corrected each one. There were a lot of mistakes, and the student ended up feeling frustrated and embarrassed by the sheer number of mistakes. It was like Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! (I have seen students who will make 4 or 5 mistakes in every sentence.)

 

Then there is the issue of what kinds of mistakes students make. A student can make a grammar mistake, a vocabulary mistake, a "Chinglish" mistake, a pronunciation mistake (including stress and intonation mistakes), a dialectical (mixing dialects) mistake, a politically-correct mistake, and a cross-cultural mistake, all in one sentence! (I have a rule where I correct only one mistake per sentence, even if there are more mistakes, unless the student is very happy to hear about their mistakes, which is rare.) Going over every mistake can be quite painful. (I have also had students who want to  argue many of the mistakes, especially the Chinglish mistakes, which usually turns into a huge waste of time.)

 

The teacher has to be sensitive as to when to correct mistakes and when not to.

 

 

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On 7/23/2019 at 12:52 AM, DavyJonesLocker said:

You need to have a teacher that will fit your learning style (if one-on-one naturally)

As a slight extension of this, I find this is true with language partners as well - a big element is personal chemistry.  

 

When the "language" chemistry is good, conversation is easy in both languages and we never run out of topics to discuss.  If the chemistry isn't right, its hard to find topics and we don't continue phone calls. 

 

I've found that chemistry "trumps" language ability.  If chemistry is good, a deficiency in a friend's English or my Chinese doesn't interfere with our ability to communicate. 

 

For error correction, I look for errors that impact their ability to be understood and words/phrases they'll likely use often.  E.g., When someone I know says "It's nice to meet you".., i explain that with people you've already met say "It's nice to see you..." 

 

I also correct word/syllable emphasis since this is often more important than pronunciation in regards to whether someone is understood.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

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So, I was thinking about EXACTLY what type of activity I’d like for my (elementary) level. It’d be something along these lines:

 

I’ve recently studies “jobs/work and related vocabulary”

 

Teacher has a list of 10 jobs (lawyer, plumber…)

 

I ask him the questions I’ve learned: “Whats your job?” , “what do you do in that kind of work”, “Why did you choose that?” Etc,

 

Teacher ad libs the answers. Maybe some random conversation ensues.

 

I have a list of 10 different jobs. Teacher now asks me.

 

So I guess what I would like is a very loosely controlled drill that allows some free speaking and communication with a real purpose, as opposed to just small talk about whatever and also as opposed to some very in depth discussion of a topic. It could also be fun and memorable.

 

Some problems I see are:

      1. So, I have to create all my own study materials like this(in addition to learning the language!). I’m not creative enough, nor do I have time.

  1. What if I create this or some other material for an activity, but for some reason it works in English but not in Chinese, for a particular grammar point perhaps.
  2. How do I explain to the teacher exactly what I want to do?
  3. Will the teacher be up for this type of “game”?

 

But, so far, the best I’ve been able to do so far is just say “Here’s the lecture notes from the last lesson I took, please try and use the vocabulary and grammar in our discussion”. This is hit or miss, and sort of ok.

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abcdefg
11 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

I wonder if anyone has followed this video´s advice on how to work with tutors:

 

Awesome! I've followed some of his advice. Wish I had seen this video when I was just starting out. It would have encouraged me to follow methods I instinctively liked. I always felt like a retard or dunce for not tackling the language in a more conventional fashion. 

 

Thanks for posting the link! 

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Flickserve
On 4/11/2020 at 3:56 PM, Jan Finster said:

I wonder if anyone has followed this video´s advice on how to work with tutors:

 

Great find! It should be a separate post.

 

i found this in the comments

 

Part 1: Theory

1) 4:11 - Acquire the language, don't learn it

2) 8:48 - Don't study grammar. Acquire it.

3) 10:33 - Find the right class

4) 15:23 - Find the right instructor

5) 17:43 - Decide which language you want to acquire and how long it will take to acquire that language

6) 23:03 - Find Language Parents (as many as you can)

7) 25:45 - The Magic

8) 31:54 - TPR

9) 33:51 - Read, read, read

10) 35:20 - i+1

 

37:33 - Why no corrections?

38:45 - What about Rosetta Stone and apps

 

 

Part 2: Acquisition

1) 43:51 - The first day (week 1, 0 hours)

2) 44:38 - First trade (week 5, 24 hours)

3) 43:51 - A full-time Arabic tutor (week 6, 32 hours)

4) 45:10 - Meetups (week 11, 80 hours)

5) 45:35 - Actual visit to an ESL class + 4 trades (week 13, 96 hours)

6) 46:30 - Greetings, TPR, Magazines, Children's Stories, Repeat (week 18, 138 hours) Totaly 9 month, 300 hours

 

Part 3: Study Abroad

49:56 - 500 hours of speaking in 12 weeks

54:19 - Results

 

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Jan Finster
13 hours ago, wibr said:

How will you get a proper pronunciation without corrections? It's also the exact opposite of the method  described here.

 

Yes, this sounds a bit unique. I guess corrections can stifle you. Especially if you are interrupted again and again. His approach is a bit like how you learn language as a child. My niece, when she was 3 years old, always used to say "mim" instead of milk. She can say it properly now. I guess if you hear the right version all the time, at some point, your brain will make the adjustment (?)

 

1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

Great find! It should be a separate post.

 

Great idea. @admins, I would not mind, if you split it off.

 

1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

i found this in the comments

Thanks! :)

 

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Flickserve
13 hours ago, wibr said:

31:40 Rule #3: No corrections? Because they "don't work"? How will you get a proper pronunciation without corrections? It's also the exact opposite of the method  described here.

 

Good point. I think he means working with a person in front of you when you are trying to 'acquire' the language. Corrections inhibit the acquiring process by slowing down the input.

 

In contrast, output is a different process. I heard his output in Mandarin. It's fairly ok but difficult to understand due to a heavy accent and different stresses. If we were concerned with having good output, I would agree we definitely need corrections in a feedback loop. It would be good to clarify with him.

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Jan Finster
1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

I heard his output in Mandarin. It's fairly ok but difficult to understand due to a heavy accent and different stresses.

 

He speaks a little Mandarin here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7Xj3rGu1T0

There is also more information about his process in this video.

 

With his method, I wonder how he transitions from concrete objects and terms (e.g. pictures) to more abstract topics and expressions?

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Flickserve

I think that video is a great one to start off with language exchange at a beginner level. I think ideas will build up with more story lines and increasing proficiency. 

 

You can discuss a short section of a YouTube video with a language partner. For example a five minute piece that teaches a certain piano technique or perhaps a cooking video. Something like discussing and reviewing. 

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Jan Finster

I found some more information about the concept he is using:

https://beyondlanguagelearning.com/tag/jeff-brown-how-to-acquire-a-language-not-learn-it/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4jJFZz7XPo

 

Here about using this method for Mandarin:

https://mandarinfromscratch.wordpress.com/automatic-language-growth/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTpgK_UuYsQ

 

 

 

There is also a link to the book (pdf) "FROM THE OUTSIDE IN by J. Marvin Brown", who advocates this concept: 

https://algworld.com/archives/

 

(@admins: maybe we can create a new thread ("Automatic language growth - working with tutors") starting from my post suggesting Jeff´s video)

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Flickserve

Lots of input. This sort of mirrors my own conclusions when I realised although I could speak some Mandarin, understanding the replies was really hard. Basically, the ability to speak is worthless.Therefore I stopped being so anxious about speaking and felt spending proportionately much more time on listening and comprehending would be much better. 

 

I thought of some materials to use for story telling. Comics. For short stories, there is famous HK comic character called 老夫子. Those could be more interesting material to work from rather than children's books.

 

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abcdefg
10 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

I guess corrections can stifle you. Especially if you are interrupted again and again.

 

A friend was teaching me Chinese several years ago. Not formal lessons, just walking around together helping me acquire useful vocabulary and phrasings. Problem was, she was a professional teacher, and a very conscientious/perfectionistic one. So she would interrupt my attempts at forming a sentence after only two or three words if one of those words had a wrong tone. Really threw me off my game and made meaningful progress nearly impossible. 

 

After lots of effort and patient communication back and forth, my teacher/friend finally learned to not be quite so tight and vigorous with the corrections. It made our lessons together much better for me. She learned to cut me some slack and distinguish between the big stuff and the trivia. That approach fit my personality better, and I began to flourish during our time together. 

 

Another teacher, different year, same set up, not in a classroom, similarly informal. She was more easy going and would say, "Oh, by the way, the last three or four times you've said such-and-such I noticed that you made this little mistake which made it kind of unclear. Let's look at it closer together." That kind of teaching was much more to my liking. 

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18 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

I guess if you hear the right version all the time, at some point, your brain will make the adjustment

This was a point made by a reviewer of Pimsleur from Australia on Amazon.  That Pimsleur gave him better pronunciation than 2 years of Chinese language class.  He realized because with Pimsleur he constantly heard correct Chinese, whereas in class, he constantly heard  badly spoken Chinese by his classmates who spoke just as badly as he did.

 

Regarding myself, I had previously tried to learn French using 3 different approaches (not pimsleur) and I learned virtually nothing.  The few words I could say in French, I couldn't say well, despite much interest in learning.  In contrast, with Pimsleur I was understood with my 1st trip to China after just 6 months of study.  What I could say was limited, but people clearly understood me and I understood them.  Now people assume I have a much higher level than I do because my pronunciation is good.  I attribute this to Pimsleur and the constant practice in respond to well-spoken Chinese.  Pimsleur also gets me to think in Chinese.    

 

I've used other approaches to build my vocabulary beyond Pimsleur, but my pronunciation skills are mainly from practicing with Pimsleur.  Pimsleur doesn't record what you say.  Instead, it's what you said, by hearing it correctly, your brain makes the adjustment and you speak better & better.   

 

This said, I like it when friends correct me.  

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david387

What will it be like when you have learned a language? What will you be able to do and you can't now?

 

I think the issue of these questions will be different for different people. But it is important to focus on those things that you want to be able to do with that language. If you're going to be able to read and write Chinese, you probably are not going to do it faster that a Chinese person learn to read and write Chinese. for me, I'm at about five and a half years and I can recognize more than 3,000 characters and read most thanks reasonably well.

 

Now if you just want to have some basic communication, then if you spend enough time with the topics that you want to be able to communicate you will get a reasonable amount of confidence in speaking those topics. But then of course you'll need to make sure you the Chinese people you speak with stay on topic. ☺️

 

Maybe you want to be able to watch TV. So you might spend hours and hours watching TV and slowing things down and looking at subtitles. But that's probably going to get you back to having to learn to read and write.

 

So I don't really think of there being some great secret, though there are people who are better at learning in general. so perhaps you should ask yourself what it is that you want to do when you are good, and then focus on some of the skills you'll need to do just that. I guess the main great secret is finding how you can enjoy spending lots of time with the language. 

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