Issues in Second Language Education

ON USING THE SOCIAL BRAIN IN THE CLASSROOM

“Teachers are losing the education war because our adolescents are distracted by the social world. Naturally, students don’t see it that way. It wasn’t their choice to get endless instruction on topics that don’t seem relevant to them. They desperately want to learn, but what they want to learn about is their social world—how it works and how they can secure a place in it that will maximize their social rewards and minimize the social pain they feel… How do our schools respond to these powerful social motivations? Schools typically take the position that our social urges ought to be [...]

LOCAL TEACHER BOOSTS HOMEWORK LOAD IN BID FOR TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Local teacher Anne Dur has a plan. Last year she was a finalist for national teacher of the year and missed receiving that honor by just a few points. This year she is determined to get it. This year she thinks she knows what to do. Dur has upped the homework requirement in her French classes to what some might call an excessive amount of time. “Last year I missed it because the kids didn’t score high enough on the national exams. That’s not going to happen again this year. Non monsieur,” said Dur. Students and parents were shocked to [...]

NEW BOOK: MEANINGFUL READING COMPREHENSION CHECKS

This book will make your life easier and your teaching more effective. It is a compilation of the best comprehension checks for reading that I have discovered over 30 years of teaching and researching Free Voluntary Reading with my students. Whether you call it FVR, Sustained Silent Reading or Light Reading, when students read on their own magic happens. When it is taught well, self-selected reading is the best way to differentiate instruction and engage students. This book will show you how to do it--even with reluctant readers. With these best trade secrets from expert reading teachers you will be [...]

KRASHEN’S HYPOTHESES OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: Introduction (#1 of 9)

More teachers are discovering the joy of teaching with comprehensible input-based methods like TPRS. To effectively implement the WHAT and the HOW of these methods, understanding the WHY is crucial. Dr. Stephen Krashen’s Hypotheses of Language Acquisition are the why. In this series of posts we will explore each of Krashen's major hypotheses and how they apply in the classroom. Krashen’s is not the only model of learning teachers need to know, but due to their enormous influence, it is crucial that modern language teachers understand these hypotheses and how they apply in the classroom. This is the same series of lessons [...]

INTERVIEW BUZZWORD BINGO

It’s interview time again. All over the country administrative teams are sitting through tedious interviews with world language teacher candidates, smiling benignly and trying to stay awake. But help is here! This handy Buzzword Bingo card makes interviewing fun again. Simply mark every time one of the dubious, outdated or ineffective teaching practices on the card is mentioned or implied to weed out candidates the fun way. The first interviewer that gets a BINGO and works the word “bingo” into a comment or question wins! Hesitation, blank looks or omissions by the interviewee when answering questions also count, so pay [...]

Supreme Court Makes Teaching without Knowing Supporting Educational Theory a Felony

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the first ruling of the new year approving felony convictions for teachers that cannot describe the theories of learning upon which their teaching is based. Many of the jurists, who are also visiting professors at prestigious universities during court recesses, were flabbergasted to find out that a sizeable percentage of US teachers could not name a single theory of learning or any research supporting their educational practice. The testimony of expert witness Alfie Kohn, a well-respected U.S. author and educator, was pivotal in the final decision. Kohn’s biting observation [...]