Tuesday 3 June 2014

Turkish Session Diary 3: Settling on session patterns

Well, 5 weeks in and my new bunch are still with me.

I've duplicated the Fethiye WAYK Turkish Curriculum on the official wiki over onto fethiyewayk.wikia.com. I won't be creating many new pages as I go forward, so I'll be able to update the official wiki now and again.

A lot of the material is now different after having undergone a number of tweaks. For now I'm just going to go through the pattern I've established that seems to be working well and update the material as I find the time.

When starting, I labour the concept of TQ Copycatting. It very quickly becomes necessary to point out that only people who aren't in the conversation copycat. So when you're the one being asked a question you don't copycat the person asking the question.

TQ How Fascinating is a toughie. Saying, "When we make a mistake we all throw up our arms and say 'How Fascinating'", is a bit counterproductive with retiree Brits. But I still think I'm honouring the spirit by calling "How Fascinating" all the time without calling it that. Lots of TQ Pull You Though It, lots of "No, that was fine!" and lots of laughs, backed up with a pep talk now and then that we're playing a game and having fun, not "learning" or sitting an exam. In the sense of keeping it light and fun, How Fascinating is certainly up there with TQ Signing as one of the absolutely indispensable concepts of the method.

Getting them to avoid speaking English during the lesson is next to impossible sometimes. "Oh what was it, bu, er, siyat kalem, oh no, sorry, siyah kalem, yeah see I keep getting that wrong, was that right, siyah kalem?" etc. Now and again I remind them to make the "timeout" sign if they want to ask something in English, and then just make the sign sometimes when they forget. But I find it's not worth making a big thing of it if it will break the mood, especially when you've barely got them to stop thinking of it as a lesson.

I've also gotten my head around the fact that TQ Killing Faeries is of course good and necessary, but this does not extend to explaining game mechanics. The difference between "I'm going to say what is this, and you're going to say 'It's a...'" and "We're going to say it twice this time round."

Now to the pattern

For each bitesize chunk, I'm following this procedure:

1. Select chunk Although a "Ride" in the Universal Speed Curriculum can be around a dozen lines long, I've discovered the hard way that the ideal size for a bitesize chunk is 4 lines, you-me-you-me. Anything longer is just too much, no matter how familiar the material.

So the ideal chunk is 4 lines long, containing mostly familiar material and focusing on just one new "thing" (TQ Limit). So, for instance, if they already know "What is this?/This is a black pen." (Bu ne?/Bu siyah kalem.) then I might introduce "Whose is this black pen?/This black pen is mine." (Bu siyah kalem kimin?/Bu siyah kalem benim.) OK so that's two new things but you get the idea.

2. Demonstrate I then use mostly TQ Invisible Friend to demonstrate each side of the conversation (ideally TQ Comedy Duo with my strongest student if I'm sure she'll know what to do), of course observing TQ In Threes and getting them to copycat. I will often interrupt to use TQ Sing-along Song for individual sentences or even words I can see them having trouble with. If they still haven't got it after the third demonstration I keep going until they're close enough (TQ Mumble).

3. Play I then start with the student who's next to me, or at least make sure it goes round so that the weakest student does it last. In the first round I repeat the conversation with her three times, and then signal that she should hold the same conversation with the person next to her. After it gets back round to me, we go around again but this time twice each. In the third round we just do the conversation once before moving on, and by this stage they've usually got it straight off the bat.

Then I move on to the next chunk, mixing and matching from material in the ride to get something with just one or two new things. Especially if the "new thing" from the previous chunk was a grammatical concept, I find it's good to cycle through the objects thus repeating that new concept four times until it sticks. This is especially important for suffixes.

I think next time I'm going to introduce a "free practice round", just have a round of asking anyone anything about what they have based on this week's material...

So that's where we're at so far.