An interesting Esperanto activity is sponsored by Japanese Esperantists and is called Esperanto Sumo. More than 100 individuals participate; I was the first US Esperantist to do so in the March period this year. My students will be joining me in the May Sumo contest and I would like to invite others to join us.
The idea is that each individual commits to reading a certain number of pages or chapters each day from a book of one's choosing. Every two or three days you report on whether you have met your goal and this is compiled and published by the organizers.
At the end of the 15 days of reading, readers publish a summary of their book that is shared among the participants.
It is an interesting way keep one engaged and for some can provide the motivation to keep with a routine.
My class is currently starting the book Karlo (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/24525) and each student will use a chapter a day from it, or a reading of their choosing, for the contest. I invite others to consider joining us. More information is below:
Invito al Esperanto-Sumoo
Sumoo estas japana tradicia lukto. Ĉiun jaron okazas 6 konkursoj en neparaj monatoj: januaro, marto, majo, julio, septembro, kaj novembro. Unu konkurso daŭros 15 tagojn. Okaze de tiuj konkursoj mi proponas al vi partoprenon en Esperanto-Sumoo.
En la marta-sumoo 120 homoj el 26 landoj partoprenis, kaj ili legis entute 10000 paĝojn.
La maja sumoo okazos ekde la 6a de majo ĝis la 20a.
Vizitu nian TTT-ejon por pli detale scii, kio estas nia sumoo: http://www.esperanto-sumoo.strefa.pl/index.html
Legi Esperanto-librojn kun ĝojo
1) Elektu libron, kiun vi legos dum tiu konkurso.
2) Decidu kiom da paĝoj vi legos por unu tago laŭ via kapablo.
3) Laŭ la irado de vera Sumoo-konkurso, ni luktadas. Se vi legas pli ol promesitaj paĝoj ĝis la noktomezo de tiu tago, vi venkas, se ne, vi malvenkas. Tiamaniere vi luktas kun la libro dum 15 tagoj. Vi ne luktas kontraŭ aliaj luktistoj, sed kontraŭ vi mem.
Sendu jenajn informojn al HORI Jasuo: firstname.lastname@example.org
1) Via nomo, sekso, lando, urbo, retadreso
2) Via luktista nomo
3) Titolo de la libro, kiun vi legos, kaj kiom da paĝoj vi legos
4. Raportu vian rezulton
Kiam komenciĝos la Sumoo, ĉiun duan aŭ trian tagon (ne nepre) raportu al la prizorgantoj pri via venko au^ malvenko. Ili notos ĝin kaj resendos al vi la raportaron kun rezultoj de aliaj luktistoj.
Mi atendas vian partoprenon. Ne nur vi sed ankau viaj libroj kuŝantaj en la breto havos tre feliĉajn tagojn en tiu sumoo.
HORI Jasuo (s-ro)
2-13-3 Ootone, Maebasi, Gunma 371-0825 Japanio
From my experience, the biggest obstacle to reaching a communicative level in Esperanto (and perhaps other languages) is the acquisition of vocabulary. The essentials of the grammar, pronunciation, giving meaning to phrases, etc. can mostly be picked up naturally with a little explanation provided the students have comprehensible input by knowing the words (or more technically morphemes in Esperanto or word families in unplanned languages).
My students and I have found that Memrise.com is an excellent tool for this purpose and I recommend it to others. The site does a good job of engaging students in a way that they can be successful and includes both game and social elements that maintain student interest. We have set up the full vocabulary for our textbook: Esperanto by Direct Method into the system. The textbook itself can be purchased from Esperanto-USA.
We are experiencing that it takes about 10 to 20 hours of cumulative time over the first half of our trimester for students to score the 700 words in the textbook into what the site would consider "long term memory". Memrise.com then also has features for keeping the words alive by a spaced repetition schedule.
As I teach in a high-school environment, use of the site lets me get through the textbook in the first half of the trimester, leaving the second half of the term for developing reading (and responding to questions of the reading), doing skits, conversations, etc. While I give some class time for the learning of vocabulary with memrise.coom, it is a pretty effective homework activity from my experience.
While there are a number of ways in which the activities could be improved (and my class has been working on such online activities), memrise.com is effective enough in its current state for me to recommend it to others studying or helping others learn the language.
To check it out for yourself, go to memrise.com and search for the category Esperanto.
My software development course which will be building the website bazaesperanto.com targeted at teaching Esperanto to American high-school students began today. I have 30 students in two sections.
I have set up a blog to document our progress over the trimester. If you would like to follow our progress, here is the link: http://bazaesperanto.wordpress.com/
For those interested in the teaching of Esperanto in American high schools, I wanted to take a moment to present my plan for this year at Seattle Academy, a private, college-prep high school in Seattle.
I wanted to pass on an activity that I am finding very effective with my more experienced Esperanto students at Seattle Academy.
Anton Oberndorfer is now putting out a daily Podcast he calls Esperanta Retradio at his site: http://peranto.posterous.com
What is especially helpful is that he both publishes the text as well as an audio link to him reading his essay. This makes it especially useful for educational purposes as the students hear and read the language spoken well. I am now asking the students to read along with the article and then report on any words that he or she did not know and could not figure out from the context and so had to look up. Eventually I will ask them to summarize the article in Esperanto, perhaps ask and/or answer specific question, and if things go well, begin composing and recording their own articles.
I encourage others to begin listening to Anton's excellent service. You can also subscribe to his posts by email or RSS feed from the above site.
Today on BBC's "Saturday Live" was 7 minute feature on Esperanto by Paul Gubbins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh8OvFRsrAY
I teach an elective math class to high-school seniors that I can pretty much choose the topics. I would like to introduce them to Esperanto (and they want to know more about it as well). But I need to have a math twist.
Has anyone come across intersting math-based articles that might be help us for this purpose? We could then learn the language for a week or two with the goal of deconstructing the article -- probably with the help of a dictionary. A topic that they had some familarity with, but that had some new content and perhaps some pictures would be especially helpful.
If anyone has any ideas or sources, it would be helpful.
Having now spent several weeks with my students in the study of Esperanto, I am starting to think that the best goal for such a course in American high schools may to to focus initially on reading -- including the ability to read out laud. Now I recognize that this is a much different approach than is common in typical foreign language instruction, but I think that there are differences with Esperanto that may make this an appropriate strategy.
The reason that this seems interesting to me is that I am coming to the conclusion that students who can read at the high school level in their native language can probably become independent readers of Esperanto in a single trimester (40-50 hours of instruction). On the other hand, if one follows the typical approach of focusing on all of the language skills such as also independently interacting with the spoken language and also producing text, one could only introduce the language.
I also find much less variability in student ability when it comes to reading text than in comprehending or producing the language in a spoken form. Or perhaps it is just that the variability is less important to moving the class forward.
I also suspect that students who are fluent readers of Esperanto will find the transition to conversational Esperanto or the production of text much simpler than if one tries to teach it all at once. For some, this transition may even involve very little planned instruction, while for others, at least one can avoid having to teach multiple skills at once.
So, a possible model may be to focus on written Esperanto the first trimester, while those continuing on can work on conversational Esperanto the second trimester, and production of written Esperanto the third, and at the end of a year the goal would be would be to reach a level similar to that produced by one of the "B-Level" proficiencies described in the Common European Framework.
Additional advantages of this approach is that it requires less experience instructors and it is much easier to to make work with computer augmented instruction. Spoken language and the monitoring of written work requires experienced conversational partners and readers which is less important when the initial goal is on reading for comprehension.
I would define an independent reader as one who can read at 150 WPM without the aid of a dictionary when working in a content domain that one is familiar with, and with an Esperanto only dictionary in other domains. And that seems possible with well-structured instruction in about 50 hours. And since one would hope that a student could also continue their work in spoken form, reading out loud and reading along with the spoken text would certainly be part of the instruction for the first term. And many of the reading may be of dialogs that would also facilitate this transition.
The above does not describe my current instructional method, but it is a direction that I seem to be heading as I consider methods that might be most appropriate for Esperanto in an elective type high school course where one might have students of only a single term.
I have started recording some of the 78 RPM records from the Connor collection. Here is a nice promotional piece (3:30 minutes) for their book, correspondence course, and the language in general. They also have recordings of some radio broadcasts, some music, and their correspondence course.