2. Ensuring comprehension

© Hariet E. Rotha) Working with listening texts, without pictures:
More emphasis is given to the “heroes” — the “hare” and “ant(s)” — through action. The teacher retells the story or reads aloud the text below. The children must quickly make corresponding gestures every time they hear the word “Hase” i.e. create bunny ears with their hands, and every time they hear the word “Ameise(n)” i.e. imitate crawling insects with their hands.

ReadDer Hase trägt die schweren Körner... read in German

Le lièvre porte un sac de grains bien lourd... read in French

(To download, right click the link and choose ‘save link as’)
Download Symbolstory (MP4, 3.2 MB)

Activities like this one further the development of selective and detailed listening strategies. Before moving from speech reception to speech production, the “Total Physical Response” by Dr. James J. Asher (see also Biblio- & webography) learning principle should be put in place, i.e. noting through the non-verbal reactions of pupils that the information has been understood (this can be seen through body language: imitation/actions/showing things). In this way, the learning effect is long lasting.

© Hariet E. Roth
b) Working with pictures and gestures/facial expressions:
The children empathise with the feelings and character traits of the Hase and the Ameisen. The picture being shown, as well as the gesture/facial expression/intonation of the teacher, act as the stimuli.

Read1. “Oh wie schwer!” — tired, annoyed... read in german

(To download, right click the link and choose ‘save link as’)
Download Symboldialogue (MP3, 1.7 MB)

Using short sentences (or selected examples), show the children the picture and ask them in groups or individually to take up the position of the figures and play out the scene(s), encouraging dialogue which conveys the plot, feelings and experiences of the story, rather than the development of speech production. Very young learners shouldn’t be asked to speak.
The re-enacted scenes can also be photographed. The teacher and children fill in the quotes that fit (e.g. “Aua! Verflixt!”).