Archive for the ‘General’ Category

It’s a demo, it’s brand new, it’s me, it’s amazing

Maybe it is. But generally speaking — it’s very, very easy these days for anyone to post a video or a demo or a tutorial or a whatever, and get very extensive coverage and lots of views and lots of “likes”. That doesn’t mean that we should not think carefully about a few things. –Do […]

Can, or should?

On a teachers’ list, a hypothesis was recently posted: The more compelling the input, the more listeners and readers can tolerate noise. Maybe they can. But should they? I believe that the goal of teaching a language class does not lie in engaging students. I believe it is to get them to acquire the language. […]

C is for Comprehended


I’ve thought about how I teach. And I’ve realized I do not teach with comprehensible input. I teach with comprehended input.   Comprehensible is not enough. Something that “can” be comprehended is not always comprehended. Especially with all the kinda-sorta definitions of “comprehensible” floating around these days. There must be a match between meaning and […]

“Untargeted input”: a nonstarter for Chinese

So, here’s the thing with targeting. You know, planning what you’re going to teach before the teaching happens. And having teaching happen, as opposed to just “saying that” and hoping it will stick by the end of the year. Why do I always sound so negative about those “nontargeted” techniques? Surely many teachers are doing […]

Slow Down — it’s not just about how fast you talk

Dear New-ish TPRS Teacher: So, you’ve done the workshop. You’re excited about the possibilities of using TPRS and Comprehensible Input in your classroom. And you’re right to be. You’re starting on the next phase of your teaching career, and you’re looking forward to seeing the results that have been demonstrated in the videos and the […]

The piano played a wrong note

On a blog post, someone supporting the idea of untargeted “story listening” recently described a teacher’s performance delivering a targeted TPRS story (one for which the language to be emphasized was known before class started) thusly: …my targeted stories are about as personalized as a Mad Lib activity. Sounds to me kind of like someone […]

Target language math

10 minutes of 60% comprehensible = 600 comprehension-units, and we don’t know if the meaning to language matches are correct or not. 9 minutes of 90% comprehensible = 810 comprehension-units, and we know all of them are correct. That 1 minute of English is well used, not abused. And for those who have doubts whether […]

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

How central to a method does an “element” have to be to be an element of that method? On an internet group, I recently spotted a comment that went something like this (I can’t find it at the moment): I like a lot of the elements of [hot new method]. So I do [hot new […]

When voting isn’t enough

On a teacher’s group, a question recently came up (again) about listening rubrics. After one or two comments, this was the reply as to why it should be okay to use one that includes eye contact as a requirement to “meet standard” as listening in class: As a class, students help to make and decide […]

Tough love about the smart kids

A comment recently came up on a teachers’ group: I have 2 groups with only high profile students, ages 8 to 12. I notice that their minds work very differently from the average student. I also notice that hardly any of the TPRS / CI activities that I do with them, works. On the contrary, […]

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