Video Transcript 9

Ok, in the last video we analysed the different factors that can make spoken and written language difficult to understand. And many of those factors are beyond the control of the teacher. But there are several things that you can do as the teacher of Kalahari students to maximise the chances of them comprehending you. Let's look at spoken language first. Obviously you need to speak clearly and naturally. You may need to slow down your normal speaking rate just a little and enunciate the words a little more distinctly, instead of swallowing them in a question like 'Jave a good weekend?' But do not slow down to the extent that you sound unnatural and even patronising 'Did you have a good weekend'?

The next pieces of advice relate to issues we have covered in previous videos. Basically, be aware of what you say that is likely to cause problems because of the words themselves, or because the implicit cultural or pragmatic knowledge or because of the syntax of utterances you produce.

One last and very important piece of advice is to use visual aids whenever possible. You can imagine how much more difficult it is to understand a new scientific process by listening to a podcast about it, than to see a video with lots of images, diagrams and animations. The same applies at word level. Imagine that the Kalahari group you are working with doesn't know the verb 'to skip' (or jump rope). You will convey the meaning more quickly and reliably if you show students a drawing of someone skipping than if you try to explain in words alone. You can even act out some words.

It is best if you can predict difficult words in advance and make quick drawings in your preparation time. But you should also have plenty of blank paper ready during your lesson so that you can spontaneously draw pictures or diagrams to help explain words that you didn't predict would cause difficulty.

Of course, there are very many words whose meanings cannot be conveyed in a picture, and we'll take a look at how to make those words comprehensible in the next short video.