When we teach our own children the mother tongue, they start speaking in isolated words but with the meaning of the entire message. 

I can still recall the image of my son from years ago; he was standing under the cupboard, motionlessly staring at it saying, 'A cookie' (in Slovene, of course). 

The message was clear, "Mum, I want a cookie." 

It was not that he conveyed the message through the word solely. It was the way he posed his body and fixed his stare. He knew well it was that exact cupboard where the cookies were stored.

In the early language classroom, children also start speaking in isolated words. Often, the words have no complex message, because the way the words were presented to children had merely the 'dictionary' meaning.

The use of language

Knowing that the message can be presented with the body posture, mime, some acting, the PBA uses a multisensory approach to convey the message.

In step one, the words are supported by pictures, voice, acting, and in a context to present the theme (global understanding).

In step two, we encourage children to elicit words from the given context, put them in a new 'story'and practice language in a 'gap-fill' manner. All that through 'doodling'.

Children created a story and at the same time practised
the language:
1st grade: The snowflake is sleepy.
2nd-4th grade: There is an elf pulling a cart full of presents.
8th grade: I'll take 2 spruces. I'm glueing the spruces. I glued the spruces. I'm going to draw Xmas trees later.

In step three, children practice the language through games and in sentences.

In step four, we present the use of the words in meaningful texts.

Usborne Phonics Readers

In step five ...

... we present the use of language in speaking.

One way is to dictate the instructions. A good activity is 'the maze'.

Practising giving and executing the instructions
at the workshop Summer Saturday Meeting

The useful skill in speaking is to be able to present a topic in a structured way. For that, posters can be of great help.

It is helpful for children
to have some visual support
when presenting a topic.

In real life, when people are speaking with each other, they usually use many words to express something. Sometimes they are distracted by adding an irrelevant piece of information (or five) before returning to the main topic they were discussing a minute ago. Having the ability to focus on relevant information is, therefore, useful.

We can teach children how to do that through listening activities, where they need to find a specific piece of information in a complex text (or a song).

Children can prepare the templates for the listening activities themselves, and in the process practice focused listening.
(The teachers are trying it out at
the workshop Evaluation Saturday Meeting)

Want to learn more?

Follow us on our C00lSch00l FB pageWe post activities we do in our classrooms.

Also, we have a closed FB group called Igra je resna stvar!' (Playing games is a serious business!) where we discuss our classroom practices on the PBA approach (in English). You are welcome to join us if you feel it is your cup of tea.

Moreover, there are regular workshops performed in Slovenia throughout the school year. For other countries, do drop me a line and we can arrange something.

Wish you all a successful 2019!


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