This part two of my Beijing workshops. See yesterday for part 1!
High Level Phonics
This afternoon was going through the much more advanced parts of the phonics course. They start off with individual sounds, then move on to alternative ways of writing them e.g. ai, ay a…e etc. Then it moves onto some of the more esoteric readings and onto full stories. It is a little “schooly” but as long as the teachers do everything in order, and they’ve done lots of vocab with Genki English beforehand then the magic of being able to read such high level stuff still really gets the kids going.
Moving into much more grammar and punctuation meant there was a lot to take in and I think my brain was hurting a little!
How GE works!
Dr Pauline Dixon showing how Genki English has improved the listening & speaking abilities of the children.
The Dr from the University then ran through why we’re doing this programme. With phonics for reading and Genki English for speaking and listening. And why they chose these methods, because they are some of the best in world developed by experts in the field.
She also showed the data and research results from India. It’s great to see a University Dr. saying such nice things and pointing to posh graphs showing how much the kids improve with Genki English! Even if the analysis was way above the heads of most of the teachers!
Back to being Genki
Then in the final hour I wanted to run through more of the GE stuff. First of all I showed them Flossy’s excellent video of the bonus printable materials. Once we get a budget sorted out we’ll probably add in some of these and the teachers looked very excited to see them, especially the Imagination Worksheets!
I also ran through “How do you say … in English?” where they were the kids and asked me, the teacher, “How do you say” plus the random word from the song animation, in Chinese, plus “In English?” and I gave the name of the item in English. (Have a try of it yourself, it’s a lot easier to do than explain!)
The timing of this song still isn’t too easy for most teachers, so I might have to do something about that, but they managed it fine. Except that they were pronouncing “say” as “see”, I’m glad we have the songs to correct that for the kids!
Then as we had two foreign guests we played a variation of the …
How do you say … game.
1. Put the students in two groups.
2. Each guest cheers on their group.
3. The group of kids say to the guest “How do you say” + a word in Chinese + “in English?”
4. If their guest can say the word in English i.e. they knew the Chinese, you get a point!
They got so excited about this game! Usually kids try and think of words that sound similar in the two languages, but here the teachers knew some of the phrases I’d been teacher the other trainer so were asking her questions like “How do you say 啤酒 in English?” – it’s beer!
The teachers have only been given the first twenty lesson plans so far, so using the high we’d just created in the game I wanted to show them how far GE goes and how good their kids could get. So very quickly we ran through Excuse me, High School Phonics (oh it’s too fast! But then “Oh, it was OK this one’s too slow” when played the slow one!) the Times Tables songs (too easy for Chinese teachers!) the Hip Hop Songs including You’re the best, then a run through Eat! Drink! Dance!, linking to What do you want to do?, linking to I want to be a rockstar! to finish with, all in 30 minutes!
The “freeze” part of the Eat! Drink! Dance! song is a killer!
Yesterday the new teachers wouldn’t have been able to do any of this, but today they were on a such a Genki high, had got the rule of “I can do it!” and just did it!
It’s so good to hear GE working so, so well and the teachers who have to teach it were getting so excited when they saw the new songs!
So then it was my speech about how they really are the rockstars.The job they’re doing in inspiring the next generation of kids to be whatever they want to be, to trust and care for each other, and to know that whatever they dream and work towards they can achieve, is a truly special vocation to have. After an amazing “Welcome to Beijing” song they sang for us, and all the photographs and tears, they left the room singing “I want to be a superhero”.
But they already are.