Can You Cut One Thing?

February finds many of us in a long, gapless stretch of work that ranges from humdrum to harrowing. New Year’s resolutions to work smarter or spend more time with family or hone a hobby are buried by snowpack, and we retreat into ourselves or suffer panic or just put our heads down to make it to […]

The Importance of the Next Thing

No, this isn’t about tech trends or teaching fads. It’s a confession and a simple solution. Confession: My reading-and-listening habit in one of my target languages almost disappeared this winter. Why? Because I hadn’t lined up the Next Thing.   The Next Thing The Next Thing is the resource you plan to use just as […]

Guided Meditation in the TL

Sometimes I use guided meditation to relax or to help me fall asleep. Because I enjoy it and in order to get a bit more out of life, I usually listen in a language other than English. (My wife recently said to me that the fact that I use even sleep meditation to get more input […]

Same Conversation (Notes from Italy, pt. 3)

Note: This is part 3 of a summer series with notes on learning and interacting in another language. The series is inspired by my Italian interactions, but can apply to any language! See part 1 for two stories illustrating the goodness that comes from interacting with people in their own language and part 2 for […]

What Are My Goals? (Learner Edition)

This is the second in a series of posts about goals for language learners and teachers. The first post raised a lot of questions for myself and others, questions I’m eager to explore in the rest of the series. For now, though, because this is a site for learners as well as teachers, I want […]

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. […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]