Supreme Court Makes Teaching without Knowing Supporting Educational Theory a Felony

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the first ruling of the new year approving felony convictions for teachers that cannot describe the theories of learning upon which their teaching is based. Many of the jurists, who are also visiting professors at prestigious universities during court recesses, were flabbergasted to find out that a sizeable percentage of US teachers could not name a single theory of learning or any research supporting their educational practice. The testimony of expert witness Alfie Kohn, a well-respected U.S. author and educator, was pivotal in the final decision. Kohn’s biting observation [...]

By | 2018-01-03T06:25:18+00:00 January 3rd, 2018|Categories: Issues in Second Language Education, Just for Fun, Satire|Tags: |0 Comments


A reminder from A Christmas Carol: "He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.  Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up:  What then?  The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune." —Ebenezer Scrooge to the Spirit of Christmas Past, talking about the joy of working for his first employer, Fezziwig, in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Is being in my class a [...]

By | 2017-11-24T15:58:03+00:00 November 24th, 2017|Categories: Encouragement, Motivation, Quote of the Day|0 Comments


319 books read completely in Spanish so far this school year in four classes of Spanish I and one class of Spanish III. This is a chart I asked student aides to make last week. Students were asked to indicate each book in Spanish they have read with a post-it note. They wrote their name and the title of each book they had read so far this school year. Only completely read books counted for this measurement. There is no contest, no prize, no score, no grade, no credit and therefore most likely no cheating. Just pride and learning. What [...]


For the last three weeks I have been experimenting with reading for the first 10 minutes of every class. The results are encouraging and I am inclined to keep up the practice. It seems to clam down the chattiness and get kids focused and ready to learn. Those first few minutes of class are so important--prime learning time that needs to be spent wisely. I want them engaging with interesting content and acquiring language during that time because it is more likely to stick. This reading time is starting to become a habit for all of us. It is getting [...]

By | 2017-11-20T20:43:11+00:00 November 20th, 2017|Categories: Books, Classroom Library, High Frequency Vocabulary, Reading, Weekly Routine|Tags: |0 Comments


Rejoinders may be one of the most important practical vocabulary items we teach students. As we use the target language in our classrooms we model rejoinders and we encourage students to use them because they are so helpful in keeping a conversation going. Using a rejoinder is an easy way of showing the other person that you understand and that you want them to keep talking to you. It shows that you are emotionally engaged in the conversation and it encourages the other person to keep speaking. Rejoinders help to keep other people going to you, but you do not [...]

By | 2017-10-27T15:02:44+00:00 October 27th, 2017|Categories: Acquisition, Rejoinders|Tags: |0 Comments


These are the reading assignments from the course syllabi in my level 1 and level 3 classes. Most of it is self-selected reading, even in level 1.Level 1 students can read on their own and read an amazing amount once they know the high frequency verbs. This plan really works for my students because it is self-differentiating. Every class we teach is a multi-level class, regardless of the course title... the students spread out all over the place in ability very quickly and allowing them to read what they want is the best i have found to accommodate those differences. [...]