Thursday, September 18, 2014

Listening Flow

To dovetail off of my post from last week on reading flow, just recently in one of my Latin 1 classes, I was telling a story in Latin. It was not an Ask a Story a'la TPRS style, but rather it was a story which I had written to introduce some new vocabulary and structures. In addition to telling the story and "pointing and pausing" to the target words on the board whenever they came up, I also was circling questions. After about 10 minutes, one of my students said, "Why do you keep asking us questions?! Can't we just listen to you tell the story?!"

At first, I was taken aback by this student's effrontery - how dare he question what I was doing, considering that the purpose of circling was to get students like him to interact with the language? But then I realized what he was saying: he simply wanted to hear the story and to enjoy it without any interruptions. I was the one getting in the way of that with my circling and asking questions. My series of questions was disrupting the picture forming in his mind. Essentially, I was interrupting his listening flow.

This is not to say that circling and PQAs do not have their place - they do. At the same time though, I realize now that it is also important to give students a chance to simply enjoy the language and to experience it without any disuruptions. As Carol Gaab says, "Circling can get REALLY OLD, REALLY FAST for students." If I am delivering the language in an understandable way, then it should be quite easy for students to enjoy the language without much difficulty.

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