Observing a mix gender French class between the ages of 12-13yrs allowed me to analyse the ways in which CDS are used and the ways they are interpreted by new learners of a language.
Initially, I identified that the positioning of the students were ‘team based’; half being on the left, the other half being on the right. I believe the reasoning behind this is in association with Bruner’s theory of social situations/interactions influencing a child’s participation and therefore development of language. Making the lesson competitive changed the semantic tone of the lesson from studious to more interactive and fun; therefore encouraging more of the class to take part in the verbal activities used by the teacher. Activates that were solely based around the key areas of repetition, recasting and memory; (CDS). An example would refer to the learning of the months, were the teacher either pronounced the word then wanted it repeated, or she would ask for the two ‘teams’ to alternate between the months, Doing this allowed the students to use ‘trial and error’ with the aided scaffolding from the teacher of the initial syllable/s if necessary of ‘nov, novem, novembre’; enabling the children to perfect their pronunciation of the word while understanding its meaning.
Positive reinforcement was a key feature of the lesson as it was used frequently used regardless of the child’s performance. Skinner states that positive reinforcement is to be used after a correct response has been received, as doing so will subconsciously associate that correct action/phrase with appraisal. However, within the lesson the term ‘tres bien’ was commonly used as a form of recognition of participation instead of recognition of correctness. The reasoning being that the students are only young and new to the language, meaning the best way to learn would be through trial and error; if a child cannot ‘trial’ due to a lack of confidence then an ‘error’ and therefore correction cannot be made, therefore bringing language development to a halt; Justifying the need for positive reinforcement.
From the lexis used…