This is a quiz I give to student teachers after we have discussed the difference between acquisition and learning.
1. How is learning a foreign language different from learning in most other subjects areas?
2. What should most of our class time be devoted to if we want to get maximum results from our students?
3. What are some specific classroom activities that would be the most profitable for students?
4. What type of activities might be better suited for homework?
We instinctively know that when people can speak, they know the language. This may be why we try to force students to speak above their ability level or “beyond the level of acquisition.” When students are speaking, we naturally think they are “practicing” the language. But what really helps students to learn language? For over 30 years, the research by leaders in language acquisition indicates it is Comprehensible Input.
Comprehensible = The target language that is used in class must be at a level students can understand.
Input = Students must pay attention to it in order for it to be considered “Input”. Students have the most chance of paying attention to target language that is interesting, personalized and meaningful (compelling).
5. What are some examples of classroom input activities that are comprehensible to students and will also keep their attention?