Teaching ESL
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a brainy idea suggested by Sally Olsen
http://www.mes-english.com:443/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6774
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Author:  tomato [ Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:40 am ]
Post subject:  a brainy idea suggested by Sally Olsen

In a thread about toddlers and preschoolers, Sally Olsen (2010) wrote, "Tell them everything they are doing, touching, feeling and everything you are doing, touching, feeling."

That's not to say that the entire class period should be used in reflecting the children's actions. Ms. Olsen herself has suggested numerous other ways to spend class time, so I doubt that that is what she would want.

But such reflection should certainly comprise a part of the class period.
This approach can claim the following advantages:

It follows the natural way of learning a second language.

Many scholars agree that second language learners, especially younger second language learners, learn best not through grammatical rules and terminology, but through using that language for communication. Krashen ([1982] 2009: 10; cf. 1981: 19-39) calls it acquisition. Olsen (2013) calls it osmosis.

It attracts children's attention to recognize them as individuals.

That's why we sing "Mary wore her red dress" every time Mary wears a red dress and "Charlie wore his blue shirt" every time Charlie wears a blue shirt.

Children learn best what relates to themselves.

What do I mean, "children"? Everybody does! I collect music in the pentatonic mode, meaning music using only do, re, mi, so, and la. When I was in Korea, I quickly learned the Korean word for pentatonic--a word which most Koreans probably never use in a lifetime.

Half the time, what children initiate is at least as important as what the teacher planned anyway.

I read somewhere about a child who brought a pet turtle to s chool. All the classmates gathered around and asked questions about the turtle. When the bell rang, the teacher said, "Everyone get in your seats and get ready for science class."

The scheduled lesson was on frogs.

What would be a good name for this idea? I can suggest a few names. Notice that her method is the exact reverse of James J. Asher's baby, Total Physical Response (TPR). Instead of the student responding to the teacher's verb with an action, the teacher responds to the student's action with a verb. How about Reverse TPR or Total Physical Stimulus?

We apply the term feeling reflection when we acknowledge a child's feelings. So how about applying the term action reflection when we acknowledge a child's actions?

Or perhaps we should pay homage to its inventor by calling it the Olsen method.

Sally Olsen. 2010. [entry in Internet thread “Teaching mixed class 1-3 year olds,” November 28]. http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewt ... a558f4bd56

_____. 2013. [entry in Internet thread “Discipline in class of 2.5-3 year olds,” October 14].
http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewt ... a558f4bd56

Krashen, S. D. 1981. Second language acquisition and second language learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press. http://www.sdkrashen.com/content/books/ ... arning.pdf

_____. [1982] 2009. Principles and practice in second language acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press. http://www.sdkrashen.com/content/books/ ... actice.pdf

Author:  mesmark [ Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: a brainy idea suggested by Sally Olsen

how about the Narrative Approach?

I've spoke with Sally several times via forums and it's always been a pleasure. Her idea is something I think we could all try to incorporate more in our lessons. However, it would need to be researched/tested with controls to really promote it as a "method".

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