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Thursday, April 28, 2005


Message: 8478 From: Scott Thornbury Received: Mi Apr 27, 2005 7:00
Subject: Re: EfromZ: FIRST MEETING
5. I'm thinking I must provide him with a list of words - the 1000 most commonly used > words in English? - so that he can tick them off when he's 'done' them. | > He can also tick off English 900's 800 base sentences- and I'm beginning to think I will (we > will) produce dialogues that try capture what he needs and wants to say. ||||| Dennis, my feeling might be to focus less on "ticking off" and more on "ticking over" (hmm, I just thought of that). What i mean is that learning is all about repeated encounters, and "ticking off" gives the idea that "well, we've done that one, let's move on" when all the evidence suggests that at least six or seven (spaced) encoutners with a word are necessary if it has any chance of becoming "intake" (rather than just noise). So, that's what I mean about keeping the vocab "ticking over". Keep finding excuses to recycle it, which means always re-capping, both within the lesson and from one lesson to the next. To pursue my Robinson Crusoe Method analogy, I imagine that as they wandered around the (pretty small) island Robinson and Friday kept having more or less the same conversations, of the type "There's that damned parrot again" and "Shall we cut across the beach or go round the lagoon?". This kind of repeated (meaningful) use of language can only be a Good Thing, creating an optimal linguistic environment for intake (what van Lier has called affordances). So I wouldn't worry to much about the need to jump from topic to topic (in the fashion of coursebooks) but just spend a lot of time talking about the things you talked about last time, including those things that are in the immediate environment -like the bee!


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