Putting Proficiency Together in the Classroom

Sample Schedule  This sample weekly schedule, incorporating comprehensible input techniques, also allows for your own favorite or required lessons. Page 1 is the bare bones version, page 2 is expanded and more descriptive.

Checklist for Observing a WL Classroom (PDF)
This latest version has more specific guidance built into the form to point out what good foreign language teaching should look like. This can be a big help to administrators and guests by giving them specifics to focus on. I give a copy to every observer in my classes to get some guided feedback and help me to get better.

Rachel Seay from North Carolina modified an earlier version of the observation form with spaces for notes from the BSCS 5 E’s Instructional Model. Get it here.

The New Bloom’s Taxonomy and World Language Teaching (PDF)
Memorization is the very lowest level of learning. With comprehensible input strategies we can ask students to think at higher levels, even in beginning language classes. This chart gives you an idea how to access different levels of thinking with various classroom activities.

Asking Questions with Bloom’s Taxonomy in Mind It’s good to mix up the types of questions you ask. Here’s how.

Differentiated Comprehension Checks Students are not all alike. We need to make sure all of them get it… and at their own level.

Handy Mnemonics

MANIAC: Krashen’s 6 Hypotheses. This is an acronym that will help you to remember the WHY of teaching:  Six of Dr. Stephen Krashen’s hypotheses about language acquisition, and how they can be applied in the classroom. This document is based on,

1) Questions and comments by colleagues at conferences and in online forums.

2) Graduate college student questions in various university methods of teaching courses.

3) High school and college student reactions while teaching with these concepts. 

SCRIMP: Best Teaching Practices.   Here’s another acronym to remind you of some important HOW’s of teaching. Are you scrimping on essential practices that can make your teaching more effective, memorable, and long-lasting? If you want to engage students and get them to acquire language, you cannot afford to SCRIMP on any of these elements in your teaching. Quality comprehension-based teaching uses input that is: Sustainable, Comprehensible, Repeated, Interesting and personalized. Do not SCRIMP on the kind of input that keeps students engaged and keeps teachers enthused.

The elements in SCRIMP access both the fast and the slow thinking systems in the brain, the emotional and the intellectual, the subconscious and the conscious. Getting students to use both of these thinking systems makes learning stick. These are practical and tactical ways to teach.

University Student Questions

I am regularly a guest lecturer in university methods of teaching languages classes. Recently, I visited students in Dr. Frédérique Grim’s EDUC-462-001: Methods and Assessment in Teaching Languages course. I asked students for their follow-up questions. They had some insightful questions that show they are connecting the dots. Check out their questions and my responses: CSU Student Questions.  They asked me back and I am excited to discuss these ideas with them further.

Putting It All Together

Updated and Expanded –Formerly “The Basics of TPRS”

Language Performance Scale for Telling a Story 

You want differentiation? We got your differentiation right here. Check out an explanation from a workshop on how I use Susan Gross’s idea of Contrastive Grammar.