I dropped off a bit in reporting my daily activities. The death of one of my students disrupted some of the activities, but generally we continued with the Forma Fabulae activity where students read a story either in class or as homework and then are asked to write out their response to one element of the Forma Fabulae, e.g. the feelings in the story or the turning point or the setting. The elements were assigned randomly and the students did not know which element they would be asked to write on.
We have a 5 day break and will return to school Tuesday, April 14, but only Thursday will be a full class schedule day without absences or shortened periods. Don’t ask.
So I am starting an explicit grammar instruction module wherein I review all the stories, starting with the most elementary and highlight the grammar. I provide written exercises to “clarify” the grammar. Knowing my skepticism about teaching grammar explicitly, you may wonder why I’m doing this. Is it b/c the curriculum demands it?
No. Once the students are able to read the stories for comprehension and can feed back information from the stories, many of them, not all, appreciate what has been called on some listservs “the big picture”; i.e. they want to have pointed out to them why someone with a name like Quintus has it written/spoken sometimes as Quintum, Quinto, Quinti, or Quinte.
Does this lead to acquisition? That is a major question in SLA. According to Krashen’s hypotheses, this sort of explicit knowledge goes into the brain in such a way that the learner can use it to monitor his use of L2 (his theory was originally called The Monitor Theory). Krashen considers Monitor use to be essential to language study but does not believe (no proof) that it leads to acquisition. He points out that even native speakers of a language use the monitor for things like the “its” “it’s” distinction in English. In my case, saying “sneaked into” instead of my native “snuck into” in formal discourse.
The question is, if a student can use, e.g. the accusative case by employing his Monitor, will that use somehow transfer over to the acquisition mode or will it remain in the monitor mode only until further acquisition of L2 includes the accusative. Interesting.
I will report on how this goes.