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


The student has excelled the teacher, the ultimate wish of any educator. I received word the other day from a former student, David Dalton, that he has a PhD in Spanish and is now an assistant professor at The University of North Carolina. He has a book coming out next month called Mestizo Modernity: Race, Technology, and the Body in Post-revolutionary Mexico. Here is a pdf where you can get a discount on the book: file:///C:/Users/bryce/Downloads/Mestizo_Modernity_INDIVIDUALS_AU718.pdf Dr. Dalton's faculty page is here: https://pages.uncc.edu/ddalto14/  

By |2018-07-29T16:04:49-06:00July 29th, 2018|Categories: Books, Hope, Uncategorized|0 Comments


It was chaotic. It was noisy. It was heavenly. When the students wanted to keep talking in Spanish, I threw out my lesson plan and let them talk. It gives me hope that this work is not in vain. These are the sentences that my fifth period Spanish 1 class came up with for a drawing on the board. Each student was to write five sentences for their “Repasito”, or warm-up activity. The drawing was based on a story we told in class last week. The only stipulation was that each sentence could use only words that we had used [...]

By |2017-10-11T13:22:12-06:00September 19th, 2017|Categories: Brain Breaks, Compelling Input, Daily Routine, Hope|0 Comments


Round 14 of the original Rocky movie is one of the greatest scenes in popular cinematic history. Listening to the song from that scene, The Final Bell, is still inspirational because it brings to mind a character that will not be beaten. Rocky was the highest grossing film of 1976. It was nominated for 10 Oscars and won three, including Best Picture against heavy competition in 1977 (Network, Taxi Driver and All the President's Men, films that have proven their worth over time, were also contenders that year). But Rocky deserved to get it. Sylvester Stallone is one of only [...]

By |2017-10-11T13:22:12-06:00August 7th, 2017|Categories: Hope|0 Comments


For the last week of school I have allowed students to choose their own passwords. What a fun way to start each class period this has been! They get to show how smart they are, and I get to admire and applaud them. This is just where we want to be in late May. Beats the heck out of the nagging and brow-beating that I used to do at the end of the school year. What makes this work is the ownership. The students choose what they want to say. Level 1 students could say any password they like from [...]

By |2017-10-11T13:22:12-06:00May 18th, 2017|Categories: Hope, Just for Fun, Passwords|0 Comments


Why don’t foreign language teachers spend more time correcting the errors in students’ speech and writing?  Isn’t that what teachers are supposed to do?  Isn’t that our job, showing them where they are wrong? Well… No!  A language teacher’s job is to get the students to acquire the language, and that is done by supplying them with comprehensible input.  We use interesting, comprehensible, personalized language and then we let their brains sort it out.  When we do that, students acquire the language.  We do not need to correct them every time they make a mistake.  In fact, that kind of [...]

By |2017-10-11T13:22:12-06:00January 23rd, 2017|Categories: Acquisition, Error Correction, Hope|Tags: , |0 Comments