Saturday, December 14, 2019

Storyasking tip #3: Teach how to make suggestions

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  1. Thanks for sharing! Very helpful tips. Could you explain more on how to use the "help me" sign? Does that mean they get to use the L1 to contribute to the story and/or ask clarification questions?

  2. Hi, I'm so glad you found this helpful. They do get to use L1 (English/shared language) to make suggestions- and to keep it in control, they can only have 1-2 words. This allows for the fact that they may have great, creative, memorable suggestions but don't know how to say them in the target language. Showing the "help me" sign is a way to indicate that I am asking a question that needs a creative answer, and that the question is something that they don't yet know. After a couple of stories, most classes don't need it.

    Generally speaking, students don't ask for clarification in L1 (though it does happen) because I am doing a lot of different kinds of comprehension checks- including asking them what a word or phrase means in L1, or asking them to tell their partner what just happened. I don't believe that using our shared language is a crime! In the book Between Worlds, Access to Second Language Acquisition (Freeman & Freeman, 2011), the authors present three orientations about first language: language as handicap, language as right, and language as resource. I fully fall into the language-as-resource camp- after all, the fact that we share an L1 (a first language) means that we can be more efficient with our limited class time! You can read more about my thoughts on target language use here: