Archive for the ‘Outside Forces’ Category

Input by the numbers

On a teachers’ discussion group, the question recently came up: Any suggestions for teaching numbers up to 100? I know they can naturally come up in stories…but I feel like it doesn’t happen often enough and doesn’t regularly cover every “ten.” Or should I just do more of it?! The post garnered a number of […]

Balance poles: only for “impure” wire walkers?

Philippe Petit, a French high wire artist, walks across a tightrope suspended between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. New York, Aug. 7, 1974. (AP Photo/Alan Welner)

I would normally not quote a person’s writing so extensively, but since my responses (two, on two different days) to Mr. Slavic’s post on Facebook were summarily deleted, this is the material I was responding to — this morning. (Apparently all my posts are summarily deleted. I don’t know. Seems like it.) Interestingly a colleague […]

Don’t be blinded by the disco ball


On a discussion group, a teacher recently made a comment something more or less like: My 8th grade dance students have been invited to participate in a countywide dance judging contest. You know, the ones where they have to judge dancers on twenty dimensions of technical merit and give memorized reasons why they placed the […]

A steaming cuppa Joe-Outputs-In-Spanish-Class

Pairwork. Mmm.  Soooo good (say the administrators and observers). Students working together, taking responsibility for their learning, in a student-centered environment. (Whether or not these are really true is up for grabs. But we digress.) It’s like that cup of coffee your mouth is watering for right after I typed the words “cup of coffee”. […]

ACTFL proficiency standards and thematic FIGS units

As in, does one give rise to the other? I’m sitting in a workshop about the ACTFL standards. The task before the trainees is to place certain functionalities, content and control of language or comprehensibility into each level of ACTFL proficiency (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior, Distinguished — which was recently misspelled humorously on Facebook as […]

Adding Legs to the Snake

There’s a reason there isn’t one of these in every American living room these days. Besides the fact that we’re now looking at DVDs and not VCRs, that is. On a teachers’ list during a discussion of cold character reading, a teacher recently suggested — with great enthusiasm and support — “Maybe when you read you […]

Is it worth creating authentic experiences in the classroom?

A topic announced for a language teachers’ chat group has gone out: How can we create authentic class experiences that tap into the 3 modes of communication? Hmm…well, if we stick to the “accepted” definition of “authentic”, that means by native speakers, for native speakers. So I’m not seeing how we can manage that one, […]

#authres: a Sweater for the Hippo?

Authentic resources are great. They’re what our students will probably need to deal with…some day. High-speed speech is also great. It’s also what our students will probably need to deal with…some day. There are many things that are great and authentic and native-like and designed for native speakers. But they don’t really benefit beginners without […]

Hippo in the Room

So, every year we play this game. Evaluators from Well-Known Organization (face to face): Wow, what a great program! Everyone is enjoying it! They know so much Chinese! Look how they can read 130 characters in two weeks of class! You put out a daily newspaper at their reading level! Gosh, TPRS and that Other Method […]

“Is it okay to give my kids a grammar packet?”

I believe that presenting analytical exercises AFTER the language in question is firmly acquired is completely in line with CI principles. We present SOME limited analytical input (pop-ups) during acquisition, but the important thing is that analysis is not even close to being the main or the first method or technique getting the students to […]

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