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 […]

The Human Factor (Notes from Italy, pt. 1)

I arrived in Italy yesterday for a six-week teaching gig, and, yes, I actually took the picture of that door, and, yes, it actually leads to our flat, and, yes, the bike was already parked there. Che bello! As with other times I’ve traveled recently (see here, here, and here), I want to share some language-learning […]

Whiteboard Doublestack

It’s been a while since I shared a low prep/no prep activity, but I was recently reminded of the fun and the mileage of this one, so it’s time to share. Whiteboard Doublestack is a nice consolidation game or middle-of-unit (if you have those) activity, including both input and output, that I saw Nancy Llewellyn do in 2008 and […]

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 […]

A new, gentle intro to “non-targeted CI”

Responding to requests from Stephen Krashen and others, I wrote a report last fall on my students’ and my experiences with what he calls “non-targeted comprehensible input,” which I sometimes call “interest-targeting input.” The article, “Non-Targeted Comprehensible Input: How it Works for My Students and Me,” appeared in the latest issue of The International Journal of […]

Language Quirks and Perks

What are some unique or quirky things about learning or teaching the language you learn or teach? I’m not talking so much about things like “the language has seven conjugations” or “there’s no past tense”–though those things are fun, too–as about extra-linguistic things like “I can’t find many other people learning the language” or “For some reason, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]