Phase One: "Here-And-Now"
The fuller picture of developing communities of practice
As a language learner, your first and main Community of Practice may be with your 'Primary Nurture': your language helper or teacher. For some learners, there may also be a host family. Some work colleagues. Shopkeepers and other service providers, and first friendships. However, only people who are highly committed to interacting with you will be able to contribute a lot to facilitate your growth in language ability at the start. Therefore, it is quite appropriate if the times with the Primary Nurture are the only intense times you have in a community of practice. As you invest your time and energy in this relationship, and concentrate on using your language sessions to gain the foundational skills, this growth will enable you to participate more widely in the community.
Supercharged participation activities to speed up the development of Understanding ability
Use the Here-and-Now principle, focusing on things that are physically present or currently happening. Use TPR(point/learn), to learn your first several hundred basic vocabulary, survival expressions and simple sentence patterns. Include personal photos(both yours and the language helper's) as here-and-now material.Some of the activities will enable you to share personal information(as in the First 100 Hours program, see References).
percharged participation activities to speed up the development of Talking ability.
Use information gap and simple role-play activities to get talking underway. Some talking may also take place in connection with personal photos.
Phonetics (continue in later phases as helpful-this topic will not be repeated below).
Emphasize learning to discriminate between similar sounds. For example, someone learning English might have difficulty hearing the difference between ''bar “and “ball”. They can respond by pointing to the correct picture(either a “bar or a “ball”) each time the language helper pronounces one of the two words. This technique can be extended to many similar Sounding words. Being able to hear accurately is a prerequisite to being able to pronounce Accurately. You should seriously attempt to mimic the language helper's pronunciation. and language helpers should occasionally focus on correcting pronunciation. If the language has a reasonably “phonetic” writing system. the language helper can dictate words and you can attempt to write them accurately. This activity would probably come late in the Here-and-Now Phase.(There are computer programs that allow you to compare their pronunciation to that of native speakers.)
Most Relevant Grammar Issues to be aware of
Focus on language related to here-and-now descriptions and instructions. Most verbs will occur in the forms used for describing states or ongoing actions, or in the forms used for giving commands. Don't worry if these don't appear to be the simplest forms. There will be many verbs encountered in the form used for ongoing activities (walking, working), some will mainly occur in the form for sudden events (fell, broke), and a few will most naturally first occur in a general, habitual form(He likes ice-cream. He knows English). However most will commonly occur in only one form other than the command or instruction form during the here-and-now stage. Don't be tempted by emphasizing some other form general (say the past event form) because it seems ''simpler''. Other grammatical issues in the here -and - now grammar will include forms for ''person and number ''( I, we, you, etc.), forms and word order that indicate 'who is doing what to whom', etc.(for example, noun case forms), grammar needed for understanding descriptive phrases(It is big: the red book), expressing spatial relationship( He is behind the chair). Later here-and-now interaction can include expressions of desire (He wants to cross the street), need or obligation (He should go to the hospital), ability (He can't see her). There will also be lots of exposure to question forms, negative forms, simple conjunctions (and, or), etc. Much of the here-and-now grammar relates to relatively concrete meanings (like person and number—I, you, we), and may not even strike you as “grammar”. More abstract grammatical meanings (for example, noun case indicating subject, object, location, etc) can be made meaningful through TPR activities. TPR activities that force listeners to make use of grammatical meanings are used in a group of techniques called “input instruction” which allow grammar to be learned (in some sense)in comprehension before being used in production. Other early activities will facilitate grammar learning (In some sense) through ''input flooding”-the activity naturally results in a “flood” of some particular grammar form. Making that form stand out to you.
Culture learning and pragmatics.
The objects and actions of early here-and-now activities, including diagrams of a typical neighborhood, typical rural setting, etc. and photos of daily activities, should be drawn from local life.(Note: In the here-and-now stage, this means life where the language helpers and you currently live). Pragmatics (how speech is used to make requests, apologies, promises, warnings, etc. in polite ways) may mainly be reflected in the Lexicarry(see References at end), and Lexicarry-like activities.
Hours Spent In Sessions With Language Helper.
First 100 hours(6% of total Language Session)
Approximate Vocabulary Gain
First 750 words.
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