13 October, 2007

Foreign Languages CM style

There is some overlap from post-to-post in this series. I hope you all don't mind.

I could simply post resources, refer to old CM or PNEU schedules, and then post projected or actual schedules that I am using or will use in the near future. It is not as simple as that, as I am still fleshing out the details (in my CM/AO study group) and comparing CM's writing and philosophy to modern research that I've mentioned before. They are almost identical, from what I have studied thus far. Another friend of mine (Sra. Smith) in my group has taught Spanish the TPR Story telling way far longer than I, although she is not teaching in a school setting these days. She is the one who introduced me to this research/method in the first place. I owe her many thanks. As a side note, she is relatively new to CM and AO and has been very excited to read CM's own words how much like TPR and TPR storytelling CM's ideas are. You would just have to hear her tell of how she was engrossed in reading Volume one while stirring a pot of dinner in preparation for our book club meeting this week!

Where CM mentions in volume one about "teaching idioms" as well as specific words for things, modern research terms these useful phrases "units" which would count toward the one word learned in a given week's lessons.

Gleaned from old Parents Union School programmes lent her by Armitt Library, one mom found that First year students in CM's schools learned French taught to them orally with pictures. It matches with a quote and explanation from Charlotte in Volume 1, pages 301-302:

"As regards French, for instance, our difficulties are twofold––the want of a vocabulary, and a certain awkwardness in producing unfamiliar sounds. It is evident that both these hindrances should be removed in early childhood. The child should never see French words in print *until he has learned to say them* with as much ease and readiness as if they were English. The desire to give printed combinations of letters the sounds they would bear in English words is the real cause of our national difficulty in pronouncing French. Again, the child's vocabulary should increase steadily, say, at the rate of half a dozen words a day. Think of fifteen hundred words in a year! The child who has that number of words, and knows how to apply them, can speak French. Of course, his teacher, will take care that, in giving words, she gives *idioms* also, and that as he learns new words, they are *put into sentences and kept in use* from day to day. A note-book in which she enters the child's new words and sentences will easily enable the teacher to do this. The young child has no foolish shame about saying French words––he pronounces them as simply as if they were English.

vol 1 pg 302

But it is very important that he should acquire a pure accent from the first. It is not often advisable that young English children should be put into the hands of a French governess or nurse; but would it not be possible for half a dozen families, say, to engage a French lady, who would give half an hour daily to each family?

This reminds me of the section in Volume one, page 81 where a day out-of-doors where the "half-dozen words" per day could be the words for parts of trees, colors that abound, the flowers, movements of bird, cloud, etc.; that these words (spoken in the foreign language) "should be but another form of expression for the ideas that for the time fill the child's mind."

They also engaged in singing 6 French songs over the course of the year. This would break down to two songs per term.

This might be from French songs, French rounds or nursery rhymes.

They also learned to English hymns and a Christmas Carol

In their second year, they added to the above list new songs, then six English songs from the national songbook.

For the regular French lesson, they used a lesson book and studied French Fables

in successive years, they would add French poems, French readings for little people, and begins learning French airs, tonic solfa, and phonetic transcription of the music text.

By year five, the teacher(s) would be reading lessons aloud, with the children helping to translate and then narrate back to the teacher in French.

They also would have French stories and comics added to their lessons.

Latin would be added by year five.

In a set of schedules in a 1908 PR article, other foreign language songs were added, beginning with German in years 4-6. German lessons were also added.

By year six, two pages of studied/prepared dictation would be added (to the already mounting work of poems, songs) to the children's schedule.

Two moms have asked me about learning Latin in this fashion, to which I now say, "Why not?"


My next post will bring together resources and or ideas in multiple languages with age or learning level divisions that hopefully compare to the above list. I will also include helps for older or adult students. If I had the books mentioned in CM's programmes, I could more readily find comparable readers in Spanish, German, and Italian, so there will be some hindrance to actual and exact matches. Since Charlotte is so specific in her ideas, though, we can easily flesh out a close match!

If you'd like to join me in this process and add links to classics in their original language, then to world classics which have been translated into the target language to be learned, or e-texts and audio books available online, just comment or e-mail me privately, and I can add them to the list.

Some of you can easily figure this out on your own and find resources online. Others have asked for more specifics, so stay tuned, there's more to come!

Señora Javamom


Phyllis said...

I know this is a really old post, but I just read back through all that you had about foreign languages. Thank you! And do you have any more to add now? :-)

Javamom said...

Alas, life got in the way of blogging, but I will post bits and pieces from my classes, now that life has slowed down a little :-). I really look forward to meeting you in real life at the AO conference next month! I'll be doing a break-out session with Lynn, and I hope it is not scheduled at the same time as yours, b/c I want to sit in on yours!

Phyllis said...

I'm a little intimidated that you'll be in my session! It does look like the schedule will allow for that, though, if there aren't any changes. I'm definitely looking forward to meeting you.

Javamom said...

Please don't be! I look forward to learning from you, as well! After all, you are the one living in a foreign country :-).