INCORPORATING AUTHENTIC RESOURCES IN THE EARLY LANGUAGE CLASSROOM
For our second #earlylang chat, early childhood and elementary teachers met on Twitter to discuss how and why we use authentic resources in the early language classroom.
WHAT ARE AUTHENTIC RESOURCES AND WHY SHOULD WE USE THEM?
Here, there was pretty uniform agreement among participants on defining authentic resources: materials created by and for native speakers in the target language/culture.
There were various thoughts on the why. Authentic resources allow for diversity of perspective, help our students to experience the culture of children from other parts of the world in a concrete way, and provide purpose and relevance. They also prevent us from misrepresenting culture:
(@nathanlutz: Using #authres helps us to avoid doing injustice to the culture we’re teaching)
-Authentic resources reflect the native speaker’s culture and perspective. –@MaCristinaRV
WHAT TYPES OF AUTHENTIC RESOURCES ARE MOST SUCCESSFULLY INCORPORATED IN YOUR CLASSROOM AND WHY?
For this age group, the most popular resources are songs, games (hand games), poems, idioms and sayings and children’s books. Content based resources such as nature videos, nonfiction books and curriculum resources from the target culture also ranked–@maestranadine I got my hands on a few #authres elem textbooks from Panama. Students loved reading and working in them during free read time.
Resources should also be of high interest and engaging for the students, and that may change from year to year, with each group. @nathanlutz reminded us that what is of interest to adults isn’t the same as what’s of high interest to the children!
HOW DO YOU MAKE AUTHENTIC RESOURCES COMPREHENSIBLE?
In order to make resources comprehensible, teachers use a lot of visuals via google slides, storybooks, gestures, props and building on content with which the students already familiar. @mundodepepita shared, “I don’t always use all of a song or poem, story, etc. sometimes one stanza is comprehensible, so I use that,” paring down the amount of text the students use. @windycitysenora shared that she explicitly teaches strategies to help make meaning of language: “I will also teach ss to look for cognates, words/phrases they know when they hear a song, poem, etc to help them make meaning.”
@KarenNemethEdM mentioned that she teaches sign language to help make meaning of authentic resources. Other participates chimed in, reminding us to be aware of signs and gestures that may have different meanings in the target cultures(or be offensive).
@VTracy7 checked in to ask, “Hi #earlylang peeps! I’m curious. What is your criteria for selecting appropriate #authres for the #Littles?” @mundopepita answered: “1st, I look for resources that have repetition, or contain familiar vocab, that tie in w our theme.”
WHAT TYPES OF TASKS WORK BEST WITH AUTHENTIC RESOURCES IN YOUR CLASSROOM?
What do you ask young language learners to do with an authentic resource? Here, participants began by offering suggestions for what to do with authentic videos. @HolaSrHoward had mentioned using the online application EDpuzzle for helping students practice listening closely to videos. @nathanlutz added that he uses this tool with his fifth grade students and hopes to do so with younger ones as well. @MundodePepita added that she finds “modified MovieTalks are very effective with videos;” she asks many questions during the video in order to help children interact more in the target language. By using a slideshow to introduce a video first, @suarez712002 engages students in something “like a story before the story.”
Several participants also suggested interactive tasks with authentic resources. As @MaCristinaRV pointed out, “It’s not just a photo on a textbook page!” @nathanlutz suggested “making something [from the] target culture, where [students] have to follow directions in [the target language]. They get something in return.” @MundodePepita added that this is a great approach with recipes: “[I] love to teach simple ones to my [students], and then have a taste test.” @KarenNemethEdM suggested more real-life connections as well, connecting stories and songs to children’s “mealtime, outdoor play, etc.” @MundodePepita agreed that “imaginative play and acting out stories, texts, etc. are so important for littles.”
HOW DO WE ADAPT TASKS TO MAKE THEM #EARLYLANG APPROPRIATE?
@KarenNemethEdM suggests using resources related to children’s lives rather than abstract concepts like outer space. (Keep it concrete!)
For @MaCristinaRV, when adapting tasks for #earlylang learners, it is important to keep it comprehensible and check often for understanding.
@mundodepepita reminded us to give students language they want to(and will)use, not language we’d want to use.
-Children’s hand games in Spanish: @HolaSrHoward Here’s a playlist I’ve been compiling that has a bunch of hand games in Spanish. https://t.co/fitt5mmdfa
-@HolaSrHoward recommends https://edpuzzle.com/ for making videos comprehensible
Thank you to all who participated in #EarlyLang chat! Thank you to our lead moderator, Julie (@mundodepepita) for leading the chat and to our co-moderator Valerie (@windycitysenora) for helping guide the conversation. Would you like to vote on our next topic or suggest a topic for future discussion? Visit our voting page!