Hello lovely blog readers, I hope you had the chance to take in a little bit of the cool language learning methods introduced by Jason Levine, the Fluency MC, on Monday. For me, it's definitely been a really inspiring chat. The idea of collocations is so interesting, because I want to find a place of where they fit into my language philosophy. What I offer my students is a language class that aims to be holistic. I want to cover all core skills in language learning and to try and inspire some love of grammar on top of it! Sometimes I fear I don't keep things as simple as I should..
So with all that, at first sight it seems that the idea of teaching simple words that go together is new territory, but I believe there are ways for learners to combine serious skill practice AND fun.
Ultimately, it's not complicated
The key to all this talk of collos, rap songs and different approaches to language teaching is simple. Jason sums it up very well: Relax, Repeat, Remember.
Thinking about how I can incorporate it in my lessons...
A relaxed learner is a happy learner (same for the teacher!), and more importantly one that is not scared to just go ahead and make a few mistakes. After learning about the great results the musical approach can bring, I am taking a leaf out of Fluency MC's book (now that's a collo!)...inspired by the idea of rap I've been writing some rhymes! I'll try and include a bit more natural material in my lessons, even for beginners.
Music videos, telenovelas and comics come to mind, but I've also played some great games like language learners' Taboo and Who am I. Finally, I think role plays are great just for chilling out - my students and I have had some great fun selling our ipods on ebay or playing restaurant.
Teachers want to be entertainers (deep down we do, right?) so we naturally shy away from repeating things too often. I worry that students will get bored, but often I underestimate how long it takes to get used to new materials! The musical approach is perfect for this - but one more thing I'm taking away is that it is NOT forbidden to work on something a little longer.
Repeating is easier in a group lesson, where you can work around the room but individual learners don't have to miss out. We try the sentence extension and word field practice - less boring, more creative!
Bang, you've said something often enough and now you're there. You remember! Or if we are to rhyme it...
The vocabulary grows, and the fluency shows,
now you get your act together and the language skill flows!
Collocation, that word is connected to the words "collect", "collection" and maybe the French "coller" (to glue) - they're sticky words, and real life examples of that grammar framework telling you about the big piture! Holistic language learning, here we come...