Sunday 3 August 2014

Playing and discussing WAYK with Arne Sostack

The other day I Skyped with experienced WAYK practitioner Arne Sostack, who runs the innovative WAYK site I learnt some Danish, but more importantly I experienced WAYK for the first time as a language learner and I finally understood some of the key concepts of WAYK.

00:00 Arne starts pushing Danish to Joel
06:13 Joel starts pulling Danish from Arne
15:00 Joel starts pushing Turkish to Arne
17:23 Why it's important to use the Technique hand signs
20:38 Arne starts pulling Turkish from Joel
37:09 A chat about pulling, how to teach pulling, and the connection with TQ Setup
40:25 The wisdom of Tea with Grandma
46:35 Turning paying students into teachers?
54:53 The question of structure in a seemingly random process

Here is my take-home: The real magic happens when the learner is self-motivated, self-confident, and knows what they want to learn. In other words, proactive. So the question is, how do you take a group of learners who have never known anything except passive learning and engender that proactive mentality?

Earlier this week I posted about the song-and-game approach I currently have going. I can see now that this is still not quite WAYK, and as I discussed with Arne, teaching them how to pull language is probably the most valuable skill I could teach them, even more than actual words and grammar I teach them.

Realistically, I think it would have been an uphill struggle to get my current group to both decide for themselves what they need to learn next and then to pull it. My role-playing games could well make this process easier, because what they need to pull is already abundantly obvious. So now I'm thinking of a way to teach them how to pull in the context of a role-playing game.

Tea with Grandma is definitely something I want to try. Perhaps I could start by pushing some of the phrases they'll need and then move on to the group role-play.

As for lending structure to the process and covering an even range of language, I think it could well work for me to push what I want to push, set up a role-playing scenario, and then let them pull whatever else they want to. Then you get the best of both worlds.

These are just my current musings, stay tuned for what I do with them. This week's lesson has been moved to Friday 8 August, so I should be posting after then...

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