Saturday, January 19, 2013

A bit more nurturer training

This is the last bit I wanted to share after all the information gap stuff of Phase1B Session 8 (which I described a bit earlier today). As the days roll on, we continued our nurturer training. Today, we explained

1) Kinds of corrective feedback:
a) explicit correction
b) recasts
c) prompts

We haven't emphasised prompts in the past. Suppose I say, "They is in the lake". Instead of saying "No. Wrong. Say, 'They are in the lake'," (which would be explicit correction); or "Good. You're right. They are in the lake aren't they?" (which would be recasting) the nurturer says, "They is? They [pause to wait for me to say it differently]..." and I say, "They are in the lake". Well, prompts are a lot more like traditional teaching, aren't they? I think that is why our nurturer really latched onto them. In any case, we were always able to make the "corrections"-- to say whatever was the focus of feedback in the host like way rather than our newcomer way. Our nurturer obviously had a good sense of what he could prompt us about knowing we could "fix it".

We also explained  to him

2) Scaffolding (which meant in this case that when Angela and I tried to talk to one another in Potwari, the nurturer would be on the sideline, seeing what we were trying to say, and assisting us in a conversational way-- just enough so as to let us succeed, to let us reach higher than we could have reached without the scaffolding.)

3) Negotiation of meaning (lots of cool incidents in which we worked our way, conversationally, through something we set out to communicate--much of this not within the "game" but rather in our discussion of what we were doing and taking off on tangents)

As with the term "nurturer" itself, we teach these technical terms to the nurturer by first presenting the English term just as a peg, and then discussing in Urdu what it means, until such time as there might be an accepted Urdu translation. (Perhaps there already are such?) In the case of the term "nurturer", we keep using the English word as a loan word in our Urdu with the nurturer, and avoiding the Urdu word for "teacher" at all costs. I think it is probably clearer and clearer to the nurturer that we need a special term that is not "teacher".

Anyway, feedback, explicit correction, recasts, prompts, scaffolding and negotiation of meaning seem like valuable concepts and skills to explain as part of nurturer training.