I won’t bore you with my technological woes. Suffice to say that it ain’t easy pulling a 10-minute iMovie off your iPad (unless it’s one with ginormous memory), let alone converting it into an unlisted Youtube movie. (I lost my first completed version of the movie and had to re-create it!!) It’s a huge time investment to edit and caption a short video…but here’s the result. It’s Day 1 of Comprehensible Hebrew – from September 7 (around 3 weeks ago).
Let’s (see if I can) get beyond my Coke-bottle spectacles…. I’m living just beyond my comfort zone, trying to expose Hebrew teachers everywhere to another (and I believe better!) way, unflattering haircut be damned.
I don’t know this group of kids, other than my daughter, who is a current fourth grader. (You’ll meet her in the video). This is our first encounter ever!
A teacher recently commented to me that, “it’s like kids are allergic to languages other than English.” And I started thinking about that metaphor. It’s pretty apt! When I was getting allergy shots in the 70’s, as I understood it, tiny bits of pollen and other environmental allergens were introduced, so that my blood would get used to the foreign material, and be sensitized over time. And that’s the way it is with a new language! The students aren’t familiar with the discreet sounds, the melody, the cadence, not to mention the grammar, syntax and morphology of Hebrew. They don’t know the meaning of the words. But rather than injecting Hebrew in a scary and painful shot, I have them swimming in a shallow pool of it. And there are inflatable duckies and treats along the deck! They will slowly be sensitized, and the familiar and acquired Hebrew will eventually feel as automatic and mindless as English! No sneezing or swollen bloodshot eyes!
This phenomenon reminds me of a language quote I love:
“One must be drenched in words,
literally soaked in them,
to have the right ones form themselves
into the proper pattern at the right moment.”
-Hart Crane, American Poet
Back to the clip. In this demo video I caption some of the foundational practices of Teaching with Comprehensible Input (T/CI), including:
*Pause, point & S-L-O-W
*Training the kids in the ‘Rules of the game’
*Teaching to the eyes (-Susie Gross)
*Frequent comprehension checks
*Narrow, hi-frequency language
*Valuing effort to make meaning
Feel free to share the video with other Hebrew teachers and/or anyone interested in World Language instruction.
Drenching kids in comprehensible, compelling and contextualized Hebrew is my goal.
How’d I do? I’d love your feedback!