The “TPRS/CI” lists and groups these days are filled with suggestions about activities. Activities you can do with no preparation. Activities you can do to teach this or that. All kinds of activities. But activities are good, aren’t they?

Maybe.

IMO, what these lists and groups should be emphasizing on EVERY post and EVERY activity and EVERY suggestion is the Lens. The Lens is what we look through when we think about any activity or the use of any minute of our very limited class time. The Lens is what we use to evaluate how well that activity or use conforms to what we believe about how language is acquired. The Lens evaluates whether the language used during the activity will be comprehended, personalized and repeated.

Every activity potentially has value for language teaching. Even activities that are silent and have no text associated with them could potentially be valuable as brain breaks or for some other purpose, such as satisfying an external power’s requirement. But potential is not realization, just as “comprehensible” doesn’t mean “comprehended.”

And we need that realization. We need to know and be aware, at all times, why we are doing what we are doing. There is not enough class time to waste on simply hoping for the best.

In a perfect world, where teachers were focusing on providing comprehended input that is personalized and repeated, our posts would list activities, sure. But those same posts would be discussions of how well the activity serves to provide CPR input, how a traditional or pre-CI activity or game should be modified to maximize the CPR input it provides, or the reasons the activity does not provide a particularly high amount of CPR input but still has value on some other dimensions.

Much of the argumentation and divisiveness in the community of late can, IMO, be traced directly to people abandoning the basic lens of what we are doing. Is the input comprehended by the students? Is it personalized? Does it provide high levels of repetition in unexpected contexts? There is so much to be said about everything simply in relating activities and uses of time to this lens that, if this most basic thing were done well, there would literally be no time to argue about trivialities.