Among all of the TQs (or techniques) I learned, used, and taught this summer at the Unangam Tunuu Language Intensive, my favorites by far were Angel On Your Shoulder and the related techniques. “Angeling” (to turn it into an active verb form) is one of the most supportive techniques I witnessed this summer; “Angels” are people in a group who help out those who are currently practicing their new language and signing skills. An Angel makes sure to be in the line of sight of those practicing their skills so they can follow along. An Obvious Angel might even mouth or whisper along with the player who is taking their turn so they do not feel abandoned—or that they are the sole focus in the group and must perform perfectly.
The solidarity and encouragement which comes from this technique breeds enthusiasm and confidence. Angels genuinely want the player to succeed, and the player knows they can always find help just out of the corner of their eye, or over their shoulder. This technique can be utilized by nearly everyone in a group, including on-lookers. The upside for the Angels is all the practice they get in before or after their own turn. Silently mouthing and signing along gives everyone extra experience and takes the pressure off of the player whose turn is up. It also helps to maintain group focus so that you do not simply ‘fade out’ once your own turn is over. This technique seems to create a sense of camaraderie and teamwork while keeping everyone on track and engaged. It also relieves the pressure and anxiety which can arise in a new learner who is center stage when their turn comes up, because you are never really alone when you have an Angel (or two) on your shoulder!
Post authored by Christina.