As you get ready for school and begin thinking about what kinds of questions you will ask to get kids engaged and responding in Persona Especial student interviews, think about using some questions like the ones below. These are some questions that students have said they would like to ask one another when they have been given the opportunity to ask questions on their own to their classmates. All of the sample questions below are in the present perfect, but you could easily adapt them to the present tense for comprehensibility. It is interesting that the hot items tend to cluster [...]

BER Seminars in December

I will be presenting seminars for the Bureau of Education and Research ( starting in December. BER is the leading provider of professional development and PD training resources for educators in North America. You have undoubtedly seen their maroon colored brochures for other excellent seminars in your school mail box over the years. Learn the best strategies that work for sustainable comprehensible-input based world language teaching in these comprehensive one-day seminars that are planned across the USA this upcoming school year. Read the seminar brochure here.    Attendees at the seminars I did in the spring said: "I loved, loved, loved getting [...]

By |2018-08-30T17:53:00-06:00August 30th, 2018|Categories: BER, How It Works, Motivation, Workshops|2 Comments


A reminder from A Christmas Carol: "He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.  Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up:  What then?  The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune." —Ebenezer Scrooge to the Spirit of Christmas Past, talking about the joy of working for his first employer, Fezziwig, in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Is being in my class a [...]

By |2017-11-24T15:58:03-07:00November 24th, 2017|Categories: Encouragement, Motivation, Quote of the Day|0 Comments


The school year gets long in the spring. Some days it seems like they just aren't getting it as quickly as we would like them to. But take heart, my friends, they know more than it seems like they do. Hang in there. "Comprehension precedes production... by a mile." —Susan Gross

By |2017-10-11T13:22:12-06:00April 17th, 2017|Categories: Acquisition, Mindset, Motivation|0 Comments


The Glengarry Glen Ross speech motivates me every time I read it or watch the original video. what is written below is an adaptation of Alec Baldwin’s legendary speech from the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross. If the original speech doesn’t motivate you at some level, well, I just don’t get that.   In this scene Alec Baldwin is a jerk, but his seven minute speech is one of the most famous, most quoted and most popular film clips of all time. Baldwin’s expletive filled rant in this scene motivates me. Is it cruel? Yes. Over the top? No question. [...]

By |2017-10-11T13:22:13-06:00June 3rd, 2016|Categories: Motivation|0 Comments


The main thing that some students learn in a foreign language class is that learning another language is just way too hard for them. They mainly learn that they stink at it. They think that becoming fluent is beyond them and that they will never get it. But they are wrong. All students can learn another language. They can learn if their teachers will skillfully ask series of questions that lead them to fluency. We need to believe in this goal and believe that there are good reasons for it and that there is a process to achieve it. It [...]