Skip to main content

"Reading Approach" to teaching Esperanto in American high schools.

saasmath's picture

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.

by saasmath

Comments

American Assoc of Instructors of Esperanto

seri_uelz's picture

I am its Education Secretary, assigned to compile all teaching of Esperanto that is happening the U.S. so I would like to reach you off-blog to send you the questions to which we'd like your answers. But I don't know who you are and found no Washington state Gary in the adreslisto I have (2008).

Also, are you a member of it? Its members might have answers for you, too. And will be delighted to know what you are doing.

esperantosherry@tm.net Sxeri Uxelz, Misxigano

January 24, 2010 by seri_uelz, 4 years 12 weeks ago

High-school readings....

saasmath's picture

Thanks for the thoughts, Lee. Vojagxo en Esperanto-lando is a fine book (I read it over break), but probably a little advanced for the first term reading activities. After a student had finished their initial instruction, it would be a fine lesson book, helped especially because of the large collection of questions at the end of each chapter.

Currently our class is reading from Tim Westover's book and that is going well, but for the method that I describe, the chapters are too long.

A very good book for our purpose is on oldie: A School Esperanto Course by A. G. Batt. It has much shorter and a gradual progression of readings with question after each section. After the 31 lessons in this 64 page booklet, all the rules of grammar are covered, all the primary words, and about 600 roots. And the writings are geared to school-age kids -- albeit 1945 school-age kids. It may be that in a few months that my current students will be ready to re-write each piece to bring it up-to-date, and then it would serve the purpose well.

January 11, 2010 by saasmath, 4 years 14 weeks ago

"A School Esperanto Course", kc

Lee Miller's picture

Mi konsentas ke tiu libreto “A School Esperanto Course” estas tre bone aranĝita kaj utila—interesos min ĉu viaj lernantoj toleras tian malnovan stilon. Se jes, bone! Kaj la ideo ke ili reverku la rakontojn por modernigi ilin ankaŭ estas bona. Ekzemple, neniu vere skribas nuntempe per “plumo” (kvankam ĝi ja povas signifi “pen”)—pli moderne oni povas diri “skribilon”, ĉar homoj skribas nuntempe per plej diversaj iloj. Aŭ eĉ pli bone, per eta klavaro de poŝtelefono, aŭ per tekkomputilo.

Cetere, la libreto aperis ĉe The Esperanto Publishing Company Ltd, tre grava eldonejo en la historio de nia lingvo. Estus interese proponi ke la studentoj malkovru la historion de la eldonejo, kiu estris ĝin, kiuj titoloj aperis sub tiu nomo, kc.

Se vi povos trovi ĝin (eble en la Connor-aĵoj) ekzistas aliaj pamfleto, “Gaja Leganto Per Esperanto”. Same de la Esperanto Publishing Company Ltd. Ĝi enhavas rakontetojn, ŝercojn, kaj aliajn tekstetojn. Kelkaj ne nun estas “politike korektaj”, sed multaj estas amuzaj. Ekzemple:

Instruistino volas demonstracii al la lernantoj la danĝeran efikon de alkoholo. Pro tio ŝi metas vermon en glason da alkoholo kun la rezulto, ke la vermo tuj mortas.
--“Ĉu vi komprenas, kion tio pruvas?” ŝi demandas la lernantojn.
--La malgranda Karlo havas spritan ideon: “Tio pruvas, ke vi neniam havos vermojn, se vi trinkas alkoholon!”

Kaj:

Patro (legante la lernejan ateston): “Ĉu vi ne hontas, esti la plej lasta en klaso de tridek knaboj?”
Bob: “Povus esti pli malbone . . .”
Patro: “Kiel tio estus ebla?”
Bob: “Supozu, ke estus kvardek knaboj en la klaso . . .”

Kaj:

Riĉa anglino, forestinta de ok tagoj, telegrafas al sia intendanto, ke ŝi hejmenvenos kaj ke li renkontu ŝin en la stacidiomo.
“Nu,” ŝi demandis la intendanton post alveno, “ĉu io nova okazis en la kastelo?”
“Ne, sinjorino, nenio . . . ho, jes, via hundeto Bobo mortis . . .”
“Kio? Bobo mortis? Sed de kio?”
“Ĝi forbrulis dum la fajro ĉe la ĉeval-staloj.”
“Kio? Fajro ĉe la staloj? Kaj la ĉevaloj?”
“La ĉevaloj ankaŭ forbrulis, same la veturiloj.”
“Sed kiel okazis tiu brulo de la staloj?”
“Estis pro fajrero fluganta de la kastelo.”
“Kio? La kastelo ankaŭ brulis?”
“Jes, sinjorino.”
“Sed kio kaŭzis ĉion tion?”
“Estis pro la kandeloj, kiuj estis lumigitaj ĉirkaŭ la ĉerko de la mastro.”
“Kio? Mia edzo ? ? ?”
“Jes, sinjorino, la mastro mortigis sin sciiĝinte, ke lia bankisto ĉesis pagi kaj li do perdis ĉiujn siajn havaĵojn . . .”

January 12, 2010 by Lee Miller, 4 years 14 weeks ago

Pri “Gaja leganto”

hoss's picture

Ĉu la aŭtoro estas “P. E. Schwerin”? La saman titolon de tiu aŭtoro mi ĵus trovis ĉe katalogo.uea.org, sed ĝi eldoniĝis en 1997. Supozeble temas pri reeldono, sed kompreneble mi volas kontroli antaŭ ol aĉeti...

February 10, 2010 by hoss, 4 years 9 weeks ago

Gaja leganto . . .

Lee Miller's picture

La aŭtoro de mia “Gaja Leganto per Esperanto” ja estas tiu P.E. Schwerin. Sed ĉu la libro en la UEA-katalogo estas la sama verko aŭ ne, mi ne scias. Mia libro havas 47 paĝojn, tiu ĉe UEA havas 64 paĝojn. Tiu ĉe UEA estas notita “Dua Libro”. Do ĝi povus esti dua volumo, kiu aperis poste. Aŭ eble iu iam rekompostis la tekston (ne rekompoŝtis!) kaj reeldonis aliformate.

Eta mistero, en la afero.

Se mi devus vetludi, mi vetus ke ĝi estas la sama teksto en nova vesto.

LM

February 11, 2010 by Lee Miller, 4 years 9 weeks ago

The reading approach

Lee Miller's picture

I think it sounds like an interesting approach to explore. The idea runs a bit contrary to modern pedagogy for language learning, but Esperanto has unique characteristics that might put it in a different class from other languages.

I'd say too that a number of people (myself included) essentially used this method as self-directed learners. I learned how to read Esperanto, and because there was no one around to speak it with--and it was long before the era of internet and Skype and instant messaging--it remained a language of reading for a very long time. For me, at least, the transition to spoken Esperanto wasn't difficult, once I had contact with other speakers.

I think it would be a good idea to expose the students to pronunciation models during the first phase, even if you don't have conversational ability expectations for them. If you treat it exclusively as a written/read language, they may form mental misconceptions about what it sounds like when spoken.

Another interesting question is what would you have them read? You're dealing with a challenging age group, and much of Esperanto literature as represented in typical readers is rather old-fashioned. And even our newer material (like "Vojaĝo en Esperanto-Lando" by Kolker) focuses on the language and Esperanto culture, rather than focusing on stories that are interesting in themselves. This is a constant frustration for me in trying to find reading material that is a) interesting and b) at a language level suitable for new learners.

Have you found anything in the Connor archive that might be useful?

Lee

January 10, 2010 by Lee Miller, 4 years 14 weeks ago

Esperanto reading material

Mike Jones's picture

There are a few short pieces (one page in length, typically) in my Ipernity account that you might be interested in downloading and using as reading material. For example one piece (“Wodehouse kaj Roosevelt”) gives some surprising parallels between the creator of Jeeves, and F.D.R.

January 10, 2010 by Mike Jones, 4 years 14 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).

Poll

Which NASK is best for you?:

Current Bloggers

Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes