Performance in the lower school: Speaking, singing, playing, dancing and acting in a foreign language

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Jaffke, Christoph
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Department of German, University College Cork
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In Waldorf schools, two foreign languages are taught from the start of primary school age, the first three years only orally. Body movements as well as non-verbal means of communication like facial expressions, gesture and posture are essential elements of this holistic approach. Ample use of poetic language facilitates the children’s access to the new language. Action rhymes, finger plays, counting-out rhymes, number rhymes, jump-rope/skipping rhymes, clapping games, classroom games, singing games, little/short rhymed dialogues, every-day conversations (e.g. about family, pets and the weather), daily activities and role-plays — all of these activities and more are part of the repertoire that forms the basis of this approach. While choral activity usually is the starting-point, individual speaking in dialogue, role-play and games is the goal. Fixed expressions (‘chunks’) serve as islands of security in the beginning phases of verbal interaction. In every lesson there is room for performing as well as for listening and watching.
Primary school age , Performing language in FLT , Holistic language teaching , Poetic language , Movement , Teaching material for oral English FL teaching
Jaffke, C. (2022) 'Performance in the lower school: Speaking, singing, playing, dancing and acting in a foreign language', Scenario: A Journal for Performative Teaching, Learning, Research, 16(1), pp. 22-39.