Brett, an experienced Spanish teacher in South Carolina, writes: Hi Bryce, I was just reading your article about 9 Steps to FVR. I'm trying to build up my reading materials. I basically have none at my new school. Would you recommend prioritizing based on getting a bunch of different books or buying class sets of a couple of select books? Good question. I would go with a bunch of different books. Here's why: Students acquire more language when they can choose their own reading materials. The free choice aspect gives them more buy-in and more engagement. When they can decide what [...]
In September I was a guest lecturer in Nyssa Knarvik’s Teaching Methodology for Foreign Language Instruction graduate course at Colorado State University. I talked about Krashen’s hypotheses and gave a demo of a TPRS-style story. I have been invited back in November. Here are some questions the students have about TPRS/CI. These are good questions by a sharp group of graduate students, all of whom are currently teaching. I have some answers in mind, but I am interested in finding out what members of the group are thinking. Please share what you would add or alter in the responses below. [...]
GARY, INDIANA─Local teacher Nick T. Bewusst, when questioned by colleagues if he was aware of national guidelines concerning 90/10 language use, quickly and emphatically stated that not only has he done it for years in his Spanish classes, but that it came easily and naturally. “I’ve taught using 90/10 my entire career. Since day one. I don’t understand why it even needs to be discussed and I resent the implication that I don't teach that way.” Since 2011 the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has recommended 90% target language use and just 10% native language use [...]
Ray, a high school Chinese teacher, was recently told that his level I, II, and III classes will be combined next year. Having read the original article by Gerry Wass about multi-level classes on this blog, he contacted me asking what I thought Gerry would advise. I forwarded Ray's main question to Gerry: "If a student took his Spanish class four years in a row, would he/she see the same TPRS lessons/vocab/grammar patterns every year but engage at a different level or would there be new material each year that wasn't there before. In other words, did he cycle new material in [...]
I will be presenting a workshop in Oakland, California on Monday, March 26 at Redwood Day School. The focus of this workshop will be teaching with comprehensible input in a K-8 program. This will be a day of learning engaging, practical techniques to get you revitalized and to get your students understanding and interacting in the target language. It will also be a unique opportunity to network with other like-minded teachers in the East Bay area. You can register for it here. Includes breakfast and lunch.
In the course of one week, years ago, I heard two wildly different comments. The first comment was from a highly respected colleague that had just built a house with a special alcove in the bedroom where she could sit and grade papers all night. Every. Night. (cue horror movie music). There was a big comfy chair with short tables on either side. In pile and out pile. "Here is where I spend most of my time," she said. She diligently corrected errors each night and handed those red marked papers back to students the next day. Every. Day. The [...]