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Esperanto Plans for this school year at Seattle Academy

saasmath's picture

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.

For background, this will be the third year that I have offered an Esperanto course at our school. The first year I taught it as an elective to 8 students where we together explored the resources for learning Esperanto. It was successful in that we achieved the goal of learning of the resources and students passed the equivalent of the British Esperanto Associations basic-level exam which is basically a translation test.

Last year I took what I had learned and then taught a direct method course to 8 more students as an after-school, for-credit elective. My knowledge of the language was by then strong enough to teach just in the language, and focusing on a smaller number of stratagies, I felt, would be more successful. We used Stano Marĉek's *Esperanto by Direct Method* which is a 22 lesson text appropriate for the age group and which covers all of the core grammar and about 700 roots. In our 1 hour sessions held 3 times a week, we could do 2 lessons per session for the first half of the book and 1 lesson per session for the second half, supplemented by some videos, games, role-playing, etc. We were able to finish the book easily well before the end of the term and were able to move into new activities such as those of Stefan MacGill (la laǔta vekhorloĝo, etc.) Other than in writing (which was not our focus) I would say that the students were at the B1 level on the European scale (CERF) by the end of the trimester (to be fair, our students were self-selected, had the time and interest, and were pretty strong at language learning -- results may vary).

This year my plan is to teach an interdisciplinary course to a larger number of students where the kids develop a web site for learning Esperanto in a high school setting and perhaps for an online, distant learning type high school. As a web development class they will be able to meet part of a math/science elective requirement, which makes it easier for them to select the course, as opposed to it being an uncategorized elective.

The web site will be bazaesperanto.com. It will have a Wordpress front page for content, news, and links. It will also have an instance of Moodle for tracking student progress and an instance of MediaWiki for group writing and other such content. The students will use their software development skills for making simple language games, creating and adding media, laying out pages, etc. They will use their math/statistics skills for analyzing student progress and refining the tools and course progression.

I proposed to Stano Marĉek that we be allowed to use his voiceovers and images from his *Esperanto by Direct Method* book onour website with the understanding that each of my students would own the book and that we would place a link for purchase for those who used the site outside the school. He agreed to this. As a result, the scope and sequence of the course and content of the site is much easier to define.

The goal is to have students complete the text within the trimester, collectively create and refine a website for future users, and reach either an A2 or B1 level of mastery of the language at the spoken and written level based on the scope and sequence laid out in Stano's text. While ambitious, I think these goals are attainable.

I have been scheduled to teach a software course in the Spring for a single section of mostly to upperclassmen. Since there is a strong interest by the underclassmen in both the language and making websites, I will add a second section for them. I am going to try to keep the class size to 15 each and if some of the current Esperanto speaking students and software students can join the class and help out it will be a more of a pleasant experience to teach.

The classes will be offered spring trimester (March 12 to June 7, 2012). The legacy of the course can hopefully be a web site that is useful to others, especially as a template for courses that can be taught over a single term.

Wish us luck!

--Gary

by saasmath

Comments

Esperanto @ Seattle Academy

Lee Miller's picture

Gary, this is an excellent report. I love your integration of web site design/math and science/Esperanto. It's an example of thinking about possibilities, and thinking outside the box.

Do you need any help or resources as you move forward with this project?

Lee Miller

January 8, 2012 by Lee Miller, 2 years 46 weeks ago

Esperanto @ Seattle Academy

saasmath's picture

Lee:

Thanks for the encouragement and support. I think once the course/web site gets underway we will be looking for feedback on how to make it the best experience possible and at that point will be looking specifically for input. Your thoughts at that point will be most welcome.

For me one of the biggest challenges is how to get students continue with their studies and interest once the course is over. From my experience, getting students to a conversational level with a vocabulary between 500 and 1000 words and with a good understanding of the grammar can be done in a trimester. The school routine and environment is pretty good at getting to that type of achievement. But students are usually trained to move on to the next thing once a course is over, and a quickly learned language is also quickly forgotten. So after a year, they will remember little of what was learned.

Thinking up ways to maintain the activity so that they don't slide down the forgetting curve is going to be critical to the success of the project.

--Gary

January 11, 2012 by saasmath, 2 years 45 weeks ago

I would wish you luck, but I

Mike Jones's picture

I would wish you luck, but I never give luck away. I may need it myself:)

December 20, 2011 by Mike Jones, 2 years 49 weeks ago

NASK * 2014 jun 29 - jul 8 * Summer Courses

EO Esperanto: La bonega kursaro NASK - Nord-Amerika Somera Kursaro okazos de la 29-a de Junio ĝis la 8-a de Julio ĉe Viktorio, BC, Kanado, ĉe la Universitato de Viktorio.

EN English: The excellent North American Esperanto Summer Courses (NASK), will be happening from June 29 to July 8, at The University of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

UEA Seminario Por Aktivula Maturigo * 2014 jul 9 - 10 * Strategy

EO Esperanto: Ĉu plaĉas al vi varbi? La UEA-seminario pri Aktivula Maturigo (AMO) – N-ro 2, okazos je 2014 julio 9-10 ĉe Sidneo, Brita Kolumbio, Kanado.

EN English: Want to get the word out? The Seminar about Strategy and Practice for Informing North America Aktivula Maturigo (AMO) - number 2, will be happening 2014 July 9-10 en Sidney, British Columbia, Canada.

Komuna Kongreso * 2014 Jul 11 - 14 * Communal Congress

EO Esperanto: La Landa Kongreso okazos ĉe Sidneo, BC, Kanado, 2014 julio 11-14, kune kun la Tut-Kanada konferenco de la Kanada Esperanto-Asocio (KEA).

EN English: The Annual US Esperanto Congress will be in Sidney, British Columbia, Canada, 11 - 14 July, 2014, along with the Canadian Annual Congress of the Canadian Esperanto Association (KEA).

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