Sunday 16 March 2014

Fethiye WAYK begins in English

Our Turkish sessions have taken somewhat of a break through a mixture of cancellations and illness. But the English side of things, run mostly by my wife Gözde, is going from strength to strength, already halfway through the USC with two separate groups. Hopefully we'll have some video for you soon.

We're talking about how to move further beyond the USC. With tourism/service industries the big thing around here, most likely our vocabulary and set-ups will expand in that general direction as we build up the grammar.

Below is a translation of Gözde's first post on the blog, reflecting her impressions:
After researching WAYK for some time with my husband, I started to believe that WAYK could be effective in light of points that overlap with principles of language acquisition that we are taught as English teachers. I talked about the method with some adult students who wanted to learn English and so we decided to give it a try. Although there is a business side to it, this is a secondary consideration in our experimental group project.

Our first English lessons

One of my first points of hesitation with WAYK, which we had actually seen in the case of foreigners learning Turkish, was the possibility of adult groups not being enthusiastic about using sign language. But right from the first lesson there was no hesitation, even by shy students. Our first lesson followed the Universal Speed Curriculum. At the end of the lesson they were conversing without the signs, even one of them who we could say was encountering English for the first time.

The strongest aspect of WAYK that I have observed is that it keeps students' motivation at a high level. At this point I can identify two reasons: the game aspect for children, and for adults the fact that they can speak English from the first lesson.

As for developing the curriculum, at the moment I have only used sign language with the beginners' classes but I have used WAYK principles with a 10th grade student and found it to be useful in getting her to use grammar she learnt at school. My husband has also used WAYK with an 11th grade student to great effect.

WAYK's edge

Although the sign language makes WAYK different to classic techniques, this is not the basis of WAYK. Essentially, we find in WAYK the ideal language teaching methods taught in education faculties, in particular teaching without using the student's mother tongue, creating set-ups, and using lots of repetition.

The biggest difference between WAYK and classic methods is that there are no explanations of grammar, just as when children learn language. Logically there is no need to explain something again when the brain has already learnt it, only prospective English teachers really need to know this. Those who only wish to speak English do not need to know what a structure or rule is called.

Many teachers will have observed the gap between what we are taught in university and what we are able to apply in a class environment. From this perspective we can say that WAYK is a package programme that enables us to apply ideal teaching methods.

These are my impressions so far, I will write more after upcoming lessons...

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