Grammar Is Not a Skill, or, What Does It Really Mean to Know a Language?

I’m thrilled to share my first contribution to the reinvented Musicuentos Black Box Podcast, a collection of resources created to form a bridge between Second Language Acquisition research and everyday practice. We hope that, whether you are a teacher or a learner, this new video series will provide you with both information and inspiration! This episode, […]

An Old Friend and a New

Like you, I have many gurus, mentors, and models to whom I look up in my language teaching and learning, and I’m always excited to discover a new one. Today I want to share with you one person whose common-sense approach I have long found refreshing and worth imitating, and another of whose expertise I recently learned. […]

Looking backward and forward

It’s usually in January that we talk about that month’s namesake Janus, the Roman god who peers simultaneously into the past and into the future. Myself, I’m most drawn to that split gaze around the end of the academic year, when the events of this one are still fresh and the possibilities of the next burn bright. Whether you’re […]

Do What You Feel Like

“Do what you feel like” can be devastating moral advice, but for language-learning that doesn’t have an impending deadline, it’s a great way to maximize joy and success. Here’s what I mean: This morning I felt like reading young adult fantasy fiction in French. Fortunately, I had sitting by my bed a copy of Harry Potter à l’école des sorciers […]

Six Months of Simple Content

Having received a number of requests recently for an overview of things like personal reading habits, teacher-improvement practices, networking tips, and other topics, I thought it might be useful–right around the six-month birthday of indwellinglanguage.com–to provide a one-stop overview of content dealing with each topic. The list below does not include all the articles and media that […]

Optical Illusions

The last post celebrated the role mystery can play in language learning. Optical illusions present us with a genre of mystery that (a) holds almost everyone’s attention for a little while and (b) lends itself to using lots of high-frequency language structures. In addition to whatever words are relevant to a particular illusion, the discussion […]

Limiting your language learning–on purpose

The best journaling advice I ever got was to follow a firm rule not to write more than a single page per daily journaling session. The prediction was that this limitation would actually increase my total writing because it would make the task less daunting and would therefore make me more likely actually to sit down and […]

How To Use Your Windows

I’m taking a sick day from skiing in Sun Valley. The upside is that I can finally write about windows, as promised in the last post, which dreamt of the ideal classroom. Through the window I can see one of my Happy Places–a snowy peak with a ski lift–from another: a quiet lodge with an oversize […]