09 10

04 August 2014

Bilingual Calendar Time

Encouragement for non-native speakers teaching in homeschools

The kids have been taking swim lessons this summer at the local pool, and while they've been swimming, I've been picking the brain of a friend of mine. Mrs. C teaches in a local bilingual (Spanish-English) classroom, and we've had some great conversations about the challenges posed by bilingual instruction. I've also been reading about some of the ideas and controversy around Welsh-English bilingual instruction in Wales, which popped up in my Facebook feed. Really, I've just had an amazing amount of things around, all the sudden, suggesting the benefits of trying to take our efforts at a Japanese-English pidgin more in the direction of attempting full-fledged bilingual instruction. Looking at it all, I'm realizing that this much, all at once, is probably Providential, and I'd best sit up and pay attention. There's also calendaring and this word wall idea, which I put onto the blog's Facebook page a while back:

I'm not gonna lie; the idea of attempting real bilingual instruction is terribly intimidating.

I'm. Not. Fluent.

I know enough to know that my speech is full of grammar errors, and the levels of formality which are so important to good manners in Japanese... they're difficult. You have to learn multiple words fro the same stuff, and different conjugations, depending on who you're talking to. And then you have to figure out when it's right to use which forms. That is particularly difficult, since I don't currently count any native speakers among my friends, and very few who speak at all. And my vocabulary, while growing, is still quite limited. Still, having decided that the Lord is beckoning me down this path, we're forging ahead. I picked Mrs. C's brain about how they deal with teaching content in a language their students, initially, don't speak. She was so encouraging! I can't tell you how nice it is to hear, from someone who actually knows something about what's involved, "You can totally do that."

So here's my plan. We're going to take the calendaring that is commonly done in pre-K and K, and we're going to do it in Japanese. It's limited and focused. It's short duration, but it's a daily thing. We'll have the poster with the calendar in Japanese. I'm going to have to create some things, because I can't figure out any search terms that turn up printables, and I plan to share them, in case someone else wants to do something similar. I think we'll start with doing the weather in Japanese. I'm taking the vocabulary cards here, cutting off the English, and mounting them on another paper with Japanese vocabulary printed on it. Then we can put it on a "What's the weather like today?" section similar to the one segment of this. I'll put up some pictures when I get it made. Hopefully, we can start that in about 2 weeks, when we start our full schedule again (family in town has us on break right now). By the first of September, I hope to have an actual calendar going. Japanese calendar numbers are different from the rest of their numbers, so I think it'll be important to start on the first, so the kids don't get overwhelmed by all the strange numbers. Add a song to that, and I think we'll have a good start. That much, in Japanese, I can do. And it will help us all to improve. This is a long-haul project; little bits count. It will add up.

Even if we don't make it all the way to real bilingual instruction, we'll be closer for having tried, and that is success.

**There's a progress report on these efforts here.**

P.S. I'm so glad you stopped by to read about the adventures at our house! If you want more, "Like" my blog on Facebook to get posts (and the articles n things I wish I had time to blog about) in your feed. Wanna see all the projects and ideas that I may or may not get around to? Follow me on Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

Rozy Lass said...

Keep up the good work! Learning a second language, even if it's just words, sounds, syntax and such is so great when a child is young. My dad taught Spanish so we learned a lot just sitting around the dinner table using words and phrases he taught us. It is great brain building, and perfect preparation for future missionary service. I've no doubt the Lord will bless you in your efforts.


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