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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 9th, 2009, 03:16 pm
LaMaestraKate's Avatar
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Unhappy Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

So heres the deal... In all of my classes (I have 4 year olds, 5 year olds, and 6-8 year olds) I'm not supposed to speak ANYTHING but English to them. Not a single word in their native language (their native language being Italian...). I have a LOT of games in my knowledge banks, and very few have triumphed with these kids. I've been able to do games like Memory, 10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, and Color Commands by drawing pictures and using myself as an example. My problem is getting kids under 6 to understand games like Duck Duck Goose, Tag, and Red Light Green Light. I've tried drawing pictures like I said, I've tried to use myself as an example, I've even tried using the brightest of my students so they would get it and explain it to the others in their language but its been fruitless. Does ANYONE have any ideas for me? I'll trade some game rules if you want! Thank you! -Kate (Emilia Romagna, Italia, formerly of Medford, Oregon)
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Unread Jan 10th, 2009, 05:10 am
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Default Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

why don't you try playing games along with them and showing them by your own example? that's the best thing that comes to my mind.
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Unread Jan 11th, 2009, 10:14 pm
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Default Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

What I've found is you need to strip the games down and make them as simple as possible. You can ignore all the little details until after they understand the main idea.

Duck Duck Goose

(demonstrating with the group as you verbally explain.)

Maka a circle.
Sit down.
I go around.
I touch Kenny.
Kenny stands up.
I run.
Kenny runs.
I sit down.

Kenny goes around.
Kenny touches ...

I'd leave out the whole 'Duck.' 'Duck.' 'Duck.' 'Goose!'

Once they understand (day 2) you can have them use real language, which might be better.
'Not you.' 'Not you.' 'Not you.' 'Not you.' 'You!'

Then later (day 3) explain that the person touched can try to pass the person to sit down first.

That's all the rules, right?
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Unread Jan 12th, 2009, 10:49 pm
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Default Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

I would say modeling.

1) Bring a student up when your explaining the game. You run through a round with them making sure they understand and know what is going on in front of the rest of the class.

2) Next you have the rest of the class run through a practice round with you, checking to make sure they understand and are doing it correctly.

3)Then they do it independently.
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Unread Jan 13th, 2009, 10:29 am
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Default Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

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Quote mesmark View Post
...

this sounds like the hell of a job, but children are supposed to speak English like fantastic after that no Kate, seriously, can`t you just ignore those given rules (only this time) and explain them in Italian?
or can you use Italian at least to explain the basic rules of the game?
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Unread Jan 13th, 2009, 05:10 pm
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Default Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

I agree with Mark. The best way to approach the problem is to break the game into large segments over several days. This also has the benefit of keeping the kids interested, as the game slightly changes (and becomes more challenging) each day.

I would also consider selecting games for the particular age groups. At four or five, I don't remember playing Red Light Green Light, for example. The games were even simpler, I believe. You may also be running into a wall because the ability to understand instructions in any language is just a bit beyond the kids' development. Just a thought.

I hope this helps a bit.
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Unread Jan 14th, 2009, 05:25 am
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Default Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

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Quote Beatrix View Post
Kate, seriously, can`t you just ignore those given rules (only this time) and explain them in Italian?
or can you use Italian at least to explain the basic rules of the game?
Well, if the rules are easy enough, as in this case, it's probably better not to explain in L1. If you get into that habbit, then the students get into that habbit. They stop listening to the English explanation and just sit back and wait for the L1 explanation.

It doesn't promote active listening skills.

That said, with large classes, you can save 20 minutes of class time by explaining in L1 at times. My general rule for when to translate or speak L1 is if the rules are too complicated for the students to understand in English or if understaning the rules will take so long the students don't get to do the activity, then it's OK to speak L1.

LaMaestraKate - I should also say, don't give up because the activity failed the first time. The kids should be better at it in the next lesson. Sometimes they just need a little bit of time.

Now, third or fourth time it's still not working, toss it!
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Unread Jan 27th, 2009, 03:43 pm
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Talking Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

Wow! Thanks for all the help! What an awesome resource this website has turned out to be. I went ahead and taught Duck Duck Goose in a play by play fashion. We went through it a few times and because half of the class understood and half of the class didn't, I ended up having to pull kids apart because they were arguing and trying to tear eachother to pieces. I'd really LIKE to try and explain the rules in Italian really fast so they understand, but A: My Italian isn't quite good enough and B: Its not how 'they' want me to teach English. They want COMPLETE emersion. So I had to take it back a few steps and teach them verbs like Run, Walk, Jump, Stop, Go ect... and then try again. It took some doing, but now we play Red Light Green Light, 10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Duck Duck Goose, and Sharks 'n' Minnows without problems. Now I just have to avoid getting in trouble with the teachers for being too loud and having too much fun! If anyone wants neat ideas for games or songs, let me know!
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Unread Feb 2nd, 2009, 03:10 am
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Default Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

from my experience, it is hardly possible to completely teach kids in English. Even if the games work, as soon as it comes to disciplining them, there is no way around some words in their native language. Unless you have an assistant who will take care of that part for you.
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Unread Feb 6th, 2009, 06:41 am
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Default Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

Ciao maestra!

It’s nice to hear you were able to put into practice the sound advice you were given here, and got results!

If you are interested in learning more about giving instructions without resorting to the students’ MT you may find this ICAL video useful.
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Unread Apr 26th, 2009, 05:56 am
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Default Re: Explaining game instructions without using the native language (HELP!)

We did an episode on ESL Teacher Talk about this that was inspired by this thread
ESL Teacher Talk » Blog Archive » Explaining activities just using English
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