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. […]

LOW PREP lessons, all in one place

I love lessons and activities that yield high payoff with little or no preparation. I like them even better if they are easily scaled or repeated. As the school year draws to a close, I’ve been seeing lots of requests for such activities, which are, of course, useful not just at year’s end, but all the […]

Go Ahead, Indulge in Next Year

Cyberspace is flooded with tweets and posts by teachers longing for the school year to end or by others encouraging these teachers to finish strong. A theme I’ve seen in teachers’ posts is the attempt not to think too much yet about next year, because doing so would distract from this one or would be plain procrastination. Sure, […]

Why it matters that this blog speaks to teachers AND learners

Most language education sites target either teachers or learners. This one targets both. Why? After all, it’s not really good for business: Teachers may decide that the articles about reading habits and other language learning routines aren’t relevant to them, and people learning languages on their own may decide the same about the posted lesson plans […]

No subtitles, TL subtitles, L1 subtitles…?

Both teachers and learners recognize the potential of target-language film and TV for boosting proficiency–witness this vast collection of teacher resources for El Internado or lists of Spanish language dramas recommended for learners. But many wonder what role, if any, subtitles should play. Rather than declare one option golden, I want to share some possible reasons for and […]

The Role of the Teacher

Last week I had the honor of guest-hosting Tea With BVP. It was tons of fun. The main feedback I got from friends and colleagues who listened was variations of “you should have said more.” So here I’ll say more about that episode’s topic, which was the role of the teacher in helping students acquire […]