Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Un Exercice Différent

Second lesson went much better than the first--I think Roosevelt was more organized. Also, this lesson was one hour, and the first one was two hours (which I hadn't realized going in). Two hours felt way too long, and one hour felt too short; so I don't know what to schedule in the future.

Roosevelt had me do an exercise that I thought seemed dumb, at first. It isn't anything I've ever done in other language study; I don't know whether it's a common teaching technique or not. He played recorded sentence and had me write down what I thought I heard, and then compare after I'd done ten.

I didn't think this would be useful because French spelling is definitely something I don't have a handle on, not to mention French words in general. If I hardly know any words, how will I know what to write down? Meaningless phonemes?

But as it turns out, this is actually going to be really good for my comprehension. One of my silent complaints is that I can't understand at all what he's saying in French; it just comes through like a string of sounds. This forced me to turn the sounds I was hearing into "pictures" of written French words. (I spent a summer working for Lindamood-Bell, a fancy tutoring agency for people--mostly children and teenagers--who are struggling to read, write, or comprehend. We spent a lot of time turning words into pictures--either pictures of objects and concepts, if comprehension was the problem, or letters and letter-combinations, if reading and writing were the problem. I was a good tutor because I followed the program, but I never really understood my students' issues, because all of that had always come easily and naturally to me. I get it now and may try using some Lindamood-Bell techniques on myself.)

I did better than I expected and got more than half the words exactly right. Often, I turned one long word into a string of sounds instead of a whole word; "enterprise" became "ent aire prixe". I especially noticed that I can't tell the difference between most plural words and their singular counterparts. I'm not sure if there's a difference in pronunciation or not; they sound the same to me.

Très encourageants, tout à fait! Je sens que je fais des avancement.

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