This week the intermediate and advanced classes (level 2 and level 3) met as one, since the level 2 teacher, Elis Owens, wasn't able to attend. Rather than my bouncing back and forth between the two groups, I decided to combine them in a "dosbarth i gyd" - a class of the whole. I provided a handout containing some conversational topics and sentence templates, and went through it first with the intermediates. Then I spent some time with the whole group, asking questions to individuals in Welsh and getting answers in the same language - simple things like "what did you do over the weekend?" and "how was the weather yesterday?" After everyone was warmed up, I split the class into two groups (each containing intermediates and beginners) and let them get on with having Welsh conversations among themselves, while I moved back and forth monitoring and sometimes contributing.
Everyone seemed to have a good time, and I think trying to help each other speak and understand broke down somewhat the nervousness that attacks anyone who's the focus of attention when the teacher asks them a question. One of the intermediates suggested afterwards that I set the groups up next time so it's the less experienced people who get to ask the questions, and the others who have to understand what they've heard and answer -- a good idea, I think. (I'm writing it down here partly to help me remember it!)
For a bilingual version of this post, see my blog.
6 months ago