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Know your student well in the first day of a language class
How you manage your students in class

Some pointers for the Day 1 in Elementary Level Bangla classroom

In the first day of Bangla elementary level class , I always try to combine teaching 'script and sounds' of Bangla and some basic conversational skill . The problem is that Bangla has non-Roman script and unless the students learn how to read, they cannot pronounce the sounds correctly and many teachers agree that it is better to teach the script and sounds first, so the students will be familiar with 'retroflex' and ' dental', 'aspirited' and 'non-aspirited' sounds. We have three ' s' and three ' r' in Bangla, imagine how difficult for English speakers to pronounce them correctly.

Still, I think students should learn to speak seme Bangla so they can communicate at very basic level from the day one. So, I use these short conversations in the first day of Bangla class in the academic year or intensive summer program.

Segment 1 :Introduction :

apnar nam ki ? 

আপনার নাম কী ?

What is your name ?

amar nam.....

আমার নাম...।

My name is .....

.................................................................................................................................................................

Segment 2: Greetings:

apni kaemon achen ?

আপনি কেমন আছেন ?

How are you ?

ami bhalo achhi. 

আমি ভালো আছি।

I am fine.

..................................................................................................................................................................

Segment 3 :Preference:

apnar ki 'cha' bhalo lage ?

আপনার কি চা ভালো লাগে ?

Do you like 'tea' ?

hnya, amar 'cha' bhalo lage.

হ্যাঁ, আমার চা ভালো লাগে।

Yes, I like tea.

na, amar cha bhalo lage na.

না, আমার চা ভালো লাগে না।

No, I don't like tea.

...................................................................................................................................................................

Vocabulary:

apnar - your (formal)

amar-  my

nam- name

ki-  what

apni-  you ( formal)

kaemon-  how 

achen- are ( conjugates with 'apni')

ami- I 

bhalo- well, good

achi- am

cha- tea

bhalo lage- you like, I like 

 

Activities:

Introduce one segment, have your students practice it with each other. If you are teaching one-on-one, practice with your student. Role-play. 

Then go to another segment. Role-play.

Use your knowledge about the cultural background and goals of your students you came to know in first  five or ten minutes of the class. Let the student imagine the situation where can use their first Bangla sentences. Remind them the people who they can connect with. 

Grammar/  Language Structure explanation :

I inform my students very briefly  that there are three 'you' in Bangla, 'ach' verb is conjugated with pronouns. 'bhalo lage' is an irregular expression,  'hnya' and 'na' mean 'yes' and 'no'. But not anything more, neither I present any rule before the small conversations. 

It is very tempting to explain all three 'you' and all conjugations of 'achh', in the first chance, but Bangla teachers, there is a beauty of not pouring out much information when there is no necessity of it. 

Small steps, baby steps, but steps. You know, one day these couple of  sentence will lead your students into a song, a speech, a poem. You will be proud of your students and the first day of your class. 

Note: If your students say that they want to talk to their friends,  you cannot avoid telling them about 'tumi' form. 

 

 You might want to read this :

Know your students well on the first day of your language class

 

Photo: Performance of Bangla elementary level students in South Asia Summer Language Institute  (SASLI)in the University of Wisconsin in 2015. Elementary level students are reciting a poem by Sukumar Roy, ' bhalo re bhalo/ভালো রে ভালো'

They started from the very beginning of Bangla. After one and half months, Sarita, Tim, Sam, Calynn and Scott translated this poem and recited. 

Sasli-bangla-students'performance,2015 photo

 

 

 

 

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