Lida Winfield worked with Suzy King and myself last year. She came in occasionally as we worked toward creating a community of learners. None of our students had ever learned this way. You can see some of our work here.
The thing we like about movement and beginning-level English Language Learners is that it works. Our most recent movement sequence built on these words:
That encapsulates what we’re trying to do.
Second language learning mirrors the learning we did when we were little. We play with the language and sound like babies, we learn phrases through repetition like toddlers, we build on those phrases like we do when we enter school and begin to interact with others, and as we grow in our language development, we refine and perfect. We wordsmith. We again return to crafting and playing, but in a more sophisticated way.
The problem is that if you are going through this process as a grown-up, you feel kind of silly when you play. You don’t want to look stupid, so you sit back and soak stuff in. The problem is that it makes it really hard to learn if you are not participating.
Imagine wanting to play a new sport or play a new instrument. Unless you get in and get your hands dirty, allowing yourself to fail and recover, you likely will never become an aficionado.
So Lida brings us play in a low-stress environment. Everybody has to play. There are no bystanders here. What’s more, Suzy and I learn how to do this in other classes, to move the learning forward.
And so, our journey begins.