Sometimes it takes a while to find out which way of learning is going to suit a student. The beauty of one-to-one working is that it’s ok to be flexible, drop something that’s not working and try something different.
Then sometimes there’s a light-bulb moment when somebody finds a thing that will really work for them.
I’ve been meeting with Tom* for a few weeks now and it’s been going well. But this week he was feeling stressed and couldn’t concentrate on phonetic exercises. *name changed.
So we started doing a ‘language experience’ exercise instead (which is part of the GtR volunteer training). The student tells you a couple of sentences in their own words. You write them down in pencil, read them back to the student, who then copies over them while you do another copy.
Working on one sentence at a time, you cut the copy into separate words. The student then reconstructs the sentence from the cut-up words. Something about the fact that it IS their own words makes it easier for most people to remember and recognise what they’re seeing.
Tom put the first sentence together twice and then identified each word separately from randomly selected words put in front of him.
He visibly cheered up and was concentrating hard and then said “this is what David Bowie used to do. He cut up his songs and mixed them up and made new songs out of them”.
David Bowie is one of Tom’s musical heroes, so he’s very enthused by learning more this way. We decided that next week we’re going to look at some David Bowie and also some Ozzy Osbourne lyrics.
And if we have another black night, we won’t be afraid to try some ch-ch-ch-changes.