Forced Output

Comprehension Precedes Production

Everybody gets tired this time of the school year, but take heart, my friends: Your students understand more than they can produce. A lot more. Susan Gross always used to say, "Comprehension precedes production--by a mile." Focus on measuring comprehension over output. Evidence that they can understand much more than they can say or write will encourage both you and your students.

By |2020-02-26T11:03:14-07:00February 26th, 2020|Categories: Acquisition vs. Learning, Forced Output, Hope|Tags: |1 Comment


I have presented about TPRS in the Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages classes at two large regional universities lately. These are some sharp students. Makes me very hopeful for the future of our profession. Their professors are doing a good job with them, judging by the interaction in class.  Several of the college students have also been observing my classes lately and have had some good questions about TPRS.  Feel free to add your input to my answers. Rachel writes: First of all, I wanted to thank you again for welcoming me into your class today!  I had a wonderful experience and truly enjoyed myself! [...]


We are continuing to interview our way around each Spanish I classroom and the fun is accelerating. Students are becoming more and more comfortable with the process and with the language associated with it.  The are acquiring enough to be comfortable.  Today a girl was nearly at the level of telling jokes (and I love jokes! She not only knew that she could joke around with the material, but that the other students could also get the joke. As I asked her the standard questions in Spanish she started batting back one winner answer after another. This girl had not [...]

Higher Level Thinking in Level I: COMPARING PATRICIA AND ANA

We can encourage our students to think at higher levels even in low level language classes. My students are doing questions 1-3  below today and tomorrow (broken schedule due to high stakes state testing this week and next).  They will need to re-read a bit to answer the questions well, which is what we want--MORE COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT. Notice that we are NOT forcing output here. They can answer in English. Writing above the level of acquisition is not required--but I bet that some will answer in Spanish. The attempt here is to engage kids with compelling input and thinking. Knowing how [...]


I have been down to the National ACTFL conference in Denver for the last two days and I will drag myself down again today (not so sure about Sunday).  It is overwhelming.  So big.  So much stuff.  Talk about bright lights, big city! Carol Gaab was dumbfoundingly amazing--engaging, useful, tuned in to teachers' needs and spot-on with underlying SLA theory.  She gets that it is all about CI and can communicate that to teachers in a palatable way. I don't know what I was expecting, exactly.  This is my first ACTFL conference and I am trying to keep an open [...]

By |2017-10-11T13:22:19-06:00November 19th, 2011|Categories: Forced Output, SLA Theory|0 Comments