LOS ANGELES, CA—One silver lining to the limited auto traffic due to the corona virus quarantine is that skies are clearing and the mountain of evidence for teaching with comprehensible input is now clearly visible. Reduced emissions have revealed the overwhelming piles of research indicating that people acquire language by comprehensible input (C.I.). The giant stack of studies has been there and has been growing for more than 40 years, but it was not clear to all before now. In the past, some world language publishers, university professors and classroom teachers imagined that the enormous stack of evidence for C.I. [...]
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.
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 [...]