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I learned a new teachy word yesterday

At the Observers Moderation meeting yesterday, we were reading through a gazillion lesson observation reports and I learned a new word- realia. It's when you use a real object as a teaching aid. It used a lot in modern language lessons- you bring something out of your bag, and you discuss it, in whatever language you're teaching "c'est une banane", "das Buch ist rot", "tengo dos copas de vino" and so on.

Since I always try to incorporate new teaching stuff that I learn about into my own classes, I was wondering if there was any realia I could bring to class by way of teaching aids. I figured I already do, when I bring in my veils for the Beginners to dance with. Or any dance prop when I first introduce it, like sagat, or sticks. But there must be other things.

The main thing I can think of would be musical instruments. But I haven't actually got any, and I'm too damn poor to be buying ouds and tablas whenever I'm in Egypt- my money goes on directly dance related stuff. So that's not going to happen... Oh well, it's nice to think of possibilities, even when they aren't very likely.

I've decided on my themes for the next couple of terms (yes, up to March/April). It's a bit tricky that, because each term is being split into two six-week sets, I could have someone new arriving in the second six-week set who wouldn't have done the first six-week set. In theory that means that I should be planning to teach any "thing" within that six weeks. But I've decided that it can't be done with choreography, or at least, if I got through one choreo in the 6 weeks, they'd need more consolidation and practice time in the second 6 weeks. So I'm very much going down the route of "any newbie joining half way through a choreography is going to have to lump it, and learn it as best they can, with as much hothousing as I can practically manage within the timeframe of a 90 minute class that everyone's got to learn stuff in".

The Beginner's course will be pretty much my standard Beginner's course, because, well, it's the Beginner's course, and you've got to teach the Beginners all the foundational moves, and teach them to dance, by choreography and by improvisation. So that's already fixed.

The Improvers/Intermediates course is always more of a challenge to plan! I need to balance technique and interpretation, and make sure that both are interesting and technically demanding, particularly as many of these students have been with me a long time, so I need to keep everything fresh so that they're actually learning new material and being stretched.

The basic themes are there- Oriental technique old and modern, Ahwak for the choreography, for the Winter term. Specific technique focus (Camels & Shimmies- I'm going to be so popular- NOT!!!), and props- veils and sagat for the Spring term. Now all I need to do is to break down exactly what I'm going to cover, in detail, week by week. I've learned by experience that this job is much easier for me to do when I'm not at home, when I'm sitting in a nice quiet bar, with a glass of wine to hand.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 18th, 2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
Actual instruments are expensive and bulky to lug around anyway--but I wonder if some illustrations of Middle Eastern instruments printed on large cards would be helpful. I'm often surprised to learn how many Westerners aren't even familiar with Western musical instruments beyond guitars and drum kits, let alone have the faintest clue of what an oud might be.
Jul. 18th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
Realia is big in my other/work world--language teaching. Especially for adult second language (not foreign language) classes in a situation where everyone knows what an object is, just not the damn word for it in the target language! It can be fun/respectful/amusing/expedient to have said object right there when possible, or at least a picture of it. Plus there is definite proof that people remember vocabulary and concepts when they can have a tactile and visual experience.

I've been lucky in that the dance studio I teach out of lets me use a sizable cabinet to store things, and along with music and the like I can keep a drum, a riq, sagat, canes, veils, books, posters, finger cymbal patterns I can post, etc. in there. It helps! Look forward to other things you think of to add to your realia repertoire. Maybe you can get some musicians in to do a show and tell sometime! In ESL land it is also a good excuse for a field trip, so maybe you could do it as part of a class outing or something.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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