Stiff little fingers

image taken from www.healthtap.com

image taken from http://www.healthtap.com

We’ve all got them. We all use them. Most of the time without thinking. But how do you use them in your classroom?

On Friday night, I found myself teaching a 3 hour one-to-one with an A1 student. Almost immediately, my fingers began taking on a life of their own. Every time I asked my student a question, I would use a finger to represent each of the words in the question. Nothing ground breaking and I had done it before with my YLs but in this lesson I took it to a whole new level. All my questions were accompanied by my fingers, often bringing them together to indicate a possible contraction. When we reformulated my student’s responses to the questions, again the fingers were used to help the student along. I would keep them hanging there, and waggle the finger to indicate that the student hadn’t pronounced it correctly or that they had missed it out. I could see the student following my fingers as they came up and I genuinely believe that their employment was useful and I hope to continue using this in the subsequent classes. More importantly, I will ask my student if the fingers are useful or if she thinks I’m mad.

Does anyone else do the same thing? If so, what’s your reasoning behind it? Have you discussed it with your students? Do you have any tips? (pun intended)

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One thought on “Stiff little fingers

  1. That’s pretty much exactly the same situation I found myself in when I started using finger correction systematically (long A1 lessons with one or two students), and now I use gestures at all levels much more consistently. I also encourage students to copy what I’m indicating on my fingers, like marking stress patterns or contractions, as sometimes them doing the gesture can take their focus off trying really hard to pronounce it correctly (they have something else to focus on) and relax them enough to speak. Not sure if that makes sense!
    Sandy

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