Nyah’s Lesson Dec. 9, 2020 #

I wrote the following on the flip chart
Nyah et sa mere ont voyage en France
A Paris elles n’y ont trouve que de pizza et hamburger
Le gateau de chocolat la nourriture le gateau
la nourriture de mer, pas de nourriture francaise
Elles sont revenues aux EEUU ou elles sont allees chercher de nourriture francaise. Elles l’ont trouve a MacDonalds aux arcs d’or. Elles ont mange de croissants et de brioche a MacDonalds.

With picture files I repeated the stories.
Then Nyah writes the story as I say it.
She didn’t get Etats Unis but did when I said a l’Amerique.
When I said elles sont allees chercher she asked what is after ‘go’, showing she got elles sont allees.
Then she said ‘after find’ so she got trouve
On the first run she asked what was after Paris and pronounced is in English, displaying that stubborn refusal to speak French. This belies he statements that she couldn’t put sentences together being the reason she did not think she was progressing like she wanted. Then I asked her to repeat after me in French as I went over the story a fourth time. She rebelled, exclaiming, ‘I can’t even spell things correctly.’ This reveals the student mind-set she has absorbed so thoroughly, having to master every step. The fact she understood the whole story did not loom large at all; she sees it as just natural and normal to understand it all. Sometimes over the months I would ask her when in her two years (=300 hours) of Spanish was she ever able to understand anything remotely like this. Her mother says they watch things in French sometimes and Nyah tells her what they are talking about but never does it in Spanish. None of these things penetrate.

So I asked her to just say oui or non if my statements matched the story. She did perfectly but, again, no joy in it.

Then I let her correct her writing. That clearly means more to her than speaking. This time she was looking at what I had written out on the flip chart. Of course she made straight As this last semester of her schooling and she was taking statistics and other tough courses.

Then she translated the story as I spoke it and she did stumble over specific items like les arcs d’or but then went on to say “Well, yeah, the MacDonalds sign,” showing her need to know exactly what it is. Again, this demonstrates the distortion of learning enforced by the schools.

When I said she really would not have to know how to spell in French, she interrupted to say she can read.

When I asked her how she felt about this kind of exercise, she said, “Fine.” Nevertheless, I judge it to be pretty ineffective. 

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