SEATTLE, WA—Veteran local Spanish teacher Y.A. Basta, 37, reports he is still confident that this year his attempts will finally be fruitful and yield classes full of fluent speakers after 14 consecutive years of frustration. Basta admits that in the past, students could not remember anything, or even order a cup of coffee in Madrid, despite up to 4 years of intensive study in his classes. While most teachers would cry out, “Enough!” and seek different methods after such a run of failure, Basta is not swayed, confirming to sources that he will “stay the course” until he is successful [...]

By | 2018-04-23T17:02:20+00:00 April 23rd, 2018|Categories: C.I. Skeptics, Change, Fake News & Satire, Satire|0 Comments


Participants in seminars and workshops often ask how beginning students can begin to read independently. Baby steps like this are what works for me. This was an activity that was done as a follow-up to a short story from week 3 of a Spanish 1 class. The bell ringer assignment, called Repasito (little review), was to write five sentences in Spanish about the drawing. All of these sentences were generated by students in four level 1 classes. Most of the sentences were similar in each class. We had told a short story with a similar theme as the drawing:  LA [...]

By | 2018-04-13T15:19:18+00:00 April 14th, 2018|Categories: High Frequency Vocabulary, Reading, Repasitos|0 Comments


The students in every one of my Spanish 1 classes pleased me immensely the other day by demonstrating they have a grasp on the importance of word frequency. I had mentioned that under the old textbook series I used to follow we would have just begun using verbs like tener (to have) and querer (to want) at this time in the school year (at the end of the third quarter) because they are irregular stem changing verbs. None of the students could believe it. There were outbursts of derisive laughter in each of my 4 level 1 classes. In each [...]


I have recently posted many classroom observations by a variety of teachers on this blog. Here is an previous observation from 2012, when a teacher relatively new to TPRS observed me teaching an intensive language lab course to a diverse group of high school age learners at the 2012 iFLT conference. I have refined a few aspects of my teaching and have added a some new techniques since then, but the overall tone and approach remain the same: Empathy, Connection and Interesting Comprehensible Language Use. This last week I had the privilege of presenting at the second International Forum on Language Teaching [...]

By | 2018-04-11T11:13:17+00:00 April 11th, 2018|Categories: Classroom Observations, Differentiation, Teaching Slowly|0 Comments


GARY, INDIANA─Local teacher Nick T. Bewusst, when questioned by colleagues if he was aware of national guidelines concerning 90/10 language use, quickly and emphatically stated that not only has he done it for years in his Spanish classes, but that it came easily and naturally. “I’ve taught using 90/10 my entire career. Since day one. I don’t understand why it even needs to be discussed and I resent the implication that I don't teach that way.” Since 2011 the American Council  on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has recommended 90% target language use and just 10% native language use [...]

‘La Preuve’ and The Case for Multi-Level Classrooms by Gerry Wass

“La preuve que il a existé c’était qu’il était ravissant.”  –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry A year and a half after retiring, I continue to get requests for help about how to run a multi-level language classroom.  Most come from teachers who already find themselves in this situation out of necessity, but others are intrigued because they believe that the model could produce a beneficial shift for them and for their students.  Many teachers are already doing some version and bring their positive experiences to the discussion. One of those recent requests came from Jen Schongolla, directed to both Michele Whaley and [...]