In French 8, we finished up a chapter book –
I assigned it as HW – one chapter a week. The way I kept the students accountable was to give them a “HW quiz” each week, in English. I wasn’t testing their ability to read French, but assessing whether they had understood what they had read. The book contained a glossary and was accessible for most.
I suggested they take notes, in English, as they read. The ones who trusted my advice consistently earned full points on the HW quiz. This final week, I required them to all make notes and turn them in for 5 HW points. Most did.
Afterwards, I conducted a short discussion in English. I asked them what they thought was the pedagogical reason for my selecting this as a HW activity for the past 10 weeks. One boy remembered what I had told them in 7th grade as evidence for the benefits:
- a group of middle-aged Korean women who had yet to experience success in learning English finally did when given a children’s book written for 7-8 year olds. It was a stripped down version of a contemporary romance story written for 11-13 year olds. They were able to read it and gain confidence. Their reading ability increased and they gradually read more difficult books.
- a Romanian woman, world-renown for the number of languages she had mastered, would pick up a new language simply by reading in that language.
I find there is value in spending class time, in English, to share with my students WHY I choose the activities I do. It sinks in with some!