I was invited to be a guest lecturer for two sessions in the EDUC-462-001: Methods and Assessment in Teaching Languages class at Colorado State University. It was a mix of graduate and undergraduate students. All were either teaching college language courses or doing student teaching at the secondary level so they were informed and eager for methods that would work. After the first lecture, I asked them to send me their questions. These are issues that all teachers are dealing with and wondering about. I gave the longest answers to questions 1, 2 and 11. My favorite answer was to question 14. My complete answers are here.

Here are the questions. How would you respond? What would you add or change?

  1. “I am wondering how you are able to transition from very little grammar to more grammar at higher levels without fossilization.”


  1. “How do you address important grammar, like conjugating, without focusing on it too much?”


  1. “How do you address common mistakes while maintaining a student’s confidence?”


  1. “What do you think about handouts? Do you think they are helpful? Do they get old?”


  1. “Since forced output is not accepted in the CI approach, can a student end up not participating orally in a course at all at the end of the semester?”


  1. “In lessons taught using CI the teacher is usually the protagonist of the class. How can we make CI more student-centered?”


  1. “Isn’t it frustrating for students to not speak for a while? At early levels, since they are cognitively able? I am saying this as CI does not encourage speaking until the students are ready.”


  1. “What do you do when students don’t understand or don’t participate?”


  1. “How do I get the less participative students involved?”


  1. “How do you deal with ‘not making the student uncomfortable’ when calling them out to participate? Is there an ‘acceptable’ level of ‘uncomfortableness’?”


  1. “What does the first day of class looks like for different levels?”


  1. “How do get away from an almost 50-50 class (English/L2) to the 90% encouraged by ACTFL? Is it just for oral?”



  1. “Would you speak a little bit more on the “Special Person” ideology? Would you pick students that are normally more talkative or students that hardly participate at all? How would it look like if a student doesn’t want to participate?”


  1. “Does it get ‘old’ to create and listen to the special person activity?”


  1. “Would it be possible to talk about other methods you’d do in class in regards to the different levels of proficiency?”


  1. “On the walls, teachers in CI seem to use a lot of posters with the translation. It does end up looking very busy. Don’t student get overwhelmed?”