1 Trip, 3 Tips (aka Lessons from Holland)

No, I haven’t been in Holland ever since my last post almost three months ago–the longest break, by far, in the youngish life of this blog. But my return from a week in the Netherlands gives me a good way to halt the hiatus. (If you’re curious about actual reasons why this blog has been so […]

The Focused Filler, a Simple Language Learning Habit

This is a simple refinement of my Tricks and Triggers for Opportunistic Language Learning. Those are great, but even they call for some advance planning to be of optimal use. As the academic year has begun and projects have been rolling in, I’ve needed to make my opportunistic language learning even simpler and more automatic. […]

Riding the White Elephant toward Proficiency Palace

In December 2005 I came the closest I’ve ever come to owning a jewel-encrusted dagger. This happened during a game of White Elephant, convincing me forever of that game’s potential for good. More recently, I’ve become convinced of the game’s power for a specific type of good: the acquisition of a language. I like it all the more […]

What I Learned from My Worst Evaluation Ever

I was sitting at the Detroit Tigers’ second August home game and had just taken this picture when I did something I’m learning not to do in the evening or at baseball games: I checked my email. In it I found the anonymous evaluations from a recent set of presentations. Among these was a first for me: a […]

Position Statement: The Why & How of L1 Use

What is the role of students’ first language (L1) in a language classroom? This question is probably more controversial than the one about the use of the target language (TL), which I addressed in the last post. I’ve been asked several times in the last year to publicize my thoughts on L1 use in the classroom, and I finally have […]

Position Statement: The Why & How of TL Use

Not for the first time, the timing (and titling) of a post here is due to a powerful post by my friend and #TeamBlackBox colleague Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell. This week, Sara-Elizabeth helpfully complemented ACTFL’s position statement on target language (TL) use in the classroom with her own practical position statement, and encouraged other teachers to do […]

Summer 2016 Preview

What I enjoy most in the summer is lolling lakeside with my family. But learning with friends old and new at the many summer programs for language teachers or learners is up there. While some have already happened–last week’s ACL Institute was one for the ages–I thought I’d share here some things I’m excited to be part […]

Greek Resources for Indwelling

Recently I’ve received several requests, both in person and through the Contact page, for my recommendations for learners of Ancient Greek who want to take advantage of the brain’s ability to process meaningful spoken and written language and who want to employ some of the habits celebrated on this site. This post highlights several resources–books, recordings, and […]

Throwback ThurSLAy (video)

You read the title right: The latest episode of the Musicuentos Black Box Podcast has just been published, and it features not one, but FIVE, classic articles from the field of second language acquisition (SLA) that still influence current research and practice in language education. We hope you find the video, which you can watch below, useful both […]

PlusDelta – a simple tool for daily reflection

During last night’s #langchat, several teachers mentioned their desire to engage in more regular and more formal self-reflection next year, and to help their students do the same. Here I share a simple tool, PlusDelta, that my students and I have found tremendously useful for reflection. It works for people learning on their own, too. […]