Teaching Language without Rhythm is like...

24 January 2018
Comments: 1
Category: Uncategorized
24 January 2018, Comments: 1

Teaching Language without Rhythm is like…

… a piñata without treats
… dancing without music
… a kids’ class without laughter

Repetition, repetition, repetition…

Our Spanish classes involve lots of laughter, and lots of choral chanting.  We teach language through expressions — and then we chant, sing, and VERY IMPORTANTLY, do an appropriate gesture to “cement it,” moving to the rhythm of the language.  This accomplishes the important task of repeating that new word, not just in their ears, but through their mouths (and bodies)!

Gestures move the learning into the body.  If you have older kids, ask them to invent the gesture.  Engage those little brains so that they know the goal is to remember the meanings, and the sounds.

Then chant it.  We like to say when you think you’re done chanting, do it three more times!

Here are a few of our faves:

I can!
¡Yo puedo, yo puedo
Yo puedo – puedo – puedo! 

(arms at 90 degrees to the body, flexing muscles to the beat)

I can’t.
No puedo, no puedo
No puedo – puedo – puedo.
(arms dangle downward at 90 degrees, frowning, discouraged tone of voice)

I like.
Mm, mm, me gusta
Me gusta, mmmm.
(rubbing belly in rhythm)

I don’t like!
No me gusta, no me gusta
¡No – no – no!
(thumbs down, moving emphatically to the beat)

Don’t forget that language is learned when it’s USEFUL, HEARD REPEATEDLY, and WHILE ENGAGING WITH A LOVING CAREGIVER.

So what phrases do you find yourself using a lot?  Listen to the words, paying attention to where the stress falls — repeat them to yourself, and find a chant that honors the stress (don’t squash words into tunes/ chants, or stretch words)…let them exist in their natural rhythm — because language is by nature rhythmic and melodic.  Use that to your advantage!

Try a free activity — we can help YOU teach Spanish to YOUR tinies!

One response on “Teaching Language without Rhythm is like…

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I remember having a Chinese roommate. I was speaking with her and a friend. They asked me something and I couldn’t understand it. He repeated it several times and I just said I don’t know. But they insisted I new the words. Finally, finally I got it. He was saying “political machine”. But he had even accent on every syllable, and dead flat intonation. No iambic pentameter in his English. It was fascinating. He had everything right in terms of enunciation. But I couldn’t get it!

Share a Thought

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *