Comprehensible Input


When I started doing “Special Person” student interviews I had an interviewing model in mind. It was Oprah. Having that model in my head helped me to keep me on track in rambling interviews with kids that didn’t even know what they wanted to share. And Oprah was a good example. She could show that she cared and that she wanted to listen. I would imagine Oprah and use her body language and earnest questioning style with students in my classroom. Having a current model is even more necessary now as I try to explain the technique to teachers from [...]


This image (Darth Krashen?) works for me on many levels. Comprehensible input is the most powerful force in the linguistic universe. All other approaches are insignificant compared to it. We need to take advantage of C.I. and use it to our full advantage in our classrooms. When I hear about colleagues teaching with limited C.I. (i.e., primarily in English or with incomprehensible immersion) it drives me crazy. It is like a fellow officer mocking, belittling or refusing to use the most effective weapon. A fellow educator not knowing about or using C.I. is unfathomable to me; nearly traitorous to the [...]


Another question about preteaching vocabulary with the Persona Especial interviews. Steve writes: I heard/saw nearly all of your webinar.  I loved the stuff about personalization. Personalization is the best way to get truly compelling CI and your ideas look like the best way of personalizing I have ever seen. Question: Do you pre-teach the structures? A lot of the questions seem to assume you do. You nearly said that if there is enough comprehensible input, all the structures students are ready to acquire are already there, you don't have to preteach anything. . I do not specifically pre-teach structures with the [...]


This post goes out in support of our beloved colleague Michele Whaley.  Teaching with comprehensible input and occasional translation makes sense because students don’t acquire language from incomprehensible input. Many foreign language instructors are attracted to input-based teaching. They get that students cannot acquire unless they hear the language. So they try to provide experiences in class that are similar to the way children learn by using only the target language (TL) in class. But this attempt at immersion is ineffective because children have thousands of hours to help them learn figure it out. Children are exposed to  incomprehensible input [...]


Lea writes asking about tying the "Persona Especial" activity to essential questions and specific parts of the curriculum. Good question, because defining a problem is the first step to solving it.   Hi Bryce! I was able to take part in your Persona Especial workshop at the NTPRS conference. I would like to take more of a get to know you focused approach with my level one students for the first four weeks of school. Right now I am working on creating essential questions and objectives for curriculum guides that we have to write. I am not sure what questions I [...]


My Spanish I students have just finished reading their second independent novel (See the reflections from their first novel here: Once again, they chose a novel they wanted to read. The only constraints were that it be interesting and comprehensible to them. I have to repeat that idea a lot. Students have done plenty of regular self-selected independent reading in class between the first novel reading assignment in November and this one, so they are beginning to get the hang of it, despite the fact that our national school system is attempting to beat the notion of reading for [...]