Friday, February 15, 2013

Uses of in Foreign Language Classrooms

I was recently sold on by the members of Ben Slavic's wonderful community. I have used it a few times now and have started trying to figure out how the different functions line up with the various goals of language learning. Here's where I'm at so far:

Section A, the red section, lets you scramble a text for students to un-scramble. In my view this lines up with reading, because it forces the students to re-read the text and then make the changes necessary for comprehension. I have used the activities in this section several times now in a whole-class setting with only one computer and a projector. You can do a few paragraphs together as a class and then have the students complete one or two sections individually on their own paper.

Section B, the blue section, also lines up with reading, but is more interactive. The students will get the most out of the activities if they themselves are able to use the computer and click around. I can imagine this being a very good use of some time in a computer/language lab.

Section C, the green section, seems to line up most with writing. Each activity is essentially a "guided-writing" activity. (Like in Section A, the students can use their own paper.) The students get some help, but most of the spelling and grammar will be up to them to supply. This is especially true in languages like Latin, Spanish, German, etc. where the words change a bunch based on grammar. For example, if the last three letters of a Latin verb are missing, the student must make the choice as an author whether they should be -bat or -vit or whatever else based on the context. This all feels a lot like that power-house activity known as "dictation," but based on reading instead of listening.

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