Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Little Achievements and Big Steps

I'm getting to know the kids a little better now, so the different groups and individuals don't blur and merge into each other. I wasn't quite sure how the classes with the older group was working. That is, I wasn't quite sure who'd arrive for each class. As I mentioned, this is mainly due to their exam timetable. Now I have notebooks for each of them and have a much better feel, also I'm getting a better feel for their characters and abilities, which is great.
We're having a lot more fun in the classes this week and it feels like they are learning a little. For those of you used to high tech, high powered jobs, drawing stick figures on the board and going through " These are my eyes" etc may not seem all that exciting, but when there are 2 teams and each member in the team is required to add arms, legs, feet to the figure, it can all get really exciting, specially when hands are joined to shoulders. So this is my young group and for some of them this is their first exposure to any of this, an English class, a non-native speaker working with them and all the new sounds and structures. A rerun of the game had our figures looking more like people and less like aliens. The problem with the board game is that the dominant and stronger ones control most of the activity, so yesterday we sat in a large circle, each child with a book and coloured pen and played "The Chain Drawing" game. I'd call out the instruction "Draw a head", once they had drawn the head, they had to pass the book on to the left, and wait for the next instruction. By the end of the exercise, the books had brightly coloured stick figures, dressed with trousers, shirts and hats. (Some also had an approximation of labels) They still looked a little like aliens, but what a wonderful time had by all. Each one "correcting" an aspect of the drawing being passed on to them , before adding the new bit.
Finally a breakthrough today when our youngest arrived and spoke his first complete sentence, clearly, without assistance and in response to my greeting and question.
This is a breakthrough because he has been mumbling an approximation of the words and all the childre, younger and older, offer single word responses. Sentence structure is an issue for them, as Hindi has no articles and the word order is quite different to English. So while I was really pleased with his response, there was a cheer from the women gathered at the door of the classroom, where they sit and watch.

No comments: