What You Can Do, I Can Talk About: Using students’ quirky skills to generate language

In the last post we talked about using party tricks as something to talk about in a target language. In a classroom setting, students’ special skills, including party tricks, are a compelling, useful source of content. Just like with a picture, movie, or story, the teacher can use students’ non-linguistic skills either to target specific linguistic […]

Party Tricks

I don’t have the best party tricks. My elbows and one thumb are double-jointed (see GIF), but I haven’t parlayed that into on-demand entertainment. I don’t do any good impressions. I can’t fold my tongue into a swan shape, although I can fold a hand towel into something like a Cornish game hen (picture below, video […]

Spare No Tupperware: Erasmus on living in the language

Like most people, I read some Erasmus this morning.  A friend had asked for a particular passage in Erasmus’s booklet De Ratione Studii (roughly, “On Study Habits”); after finding the passage, I was intrigued enough to read the book from the beginning.  Several pages in, I found a delightful, Indwelling-Language-evoking passage in which Erasmus discusses internalizing […]

“Whatever” Works: Non-Targeted CI Lesson 4, “Frivolity Is the Mother Of Invention”

My second thought when I see this is “Think of all the classy waffles I could make.” This is the Pixel, a customizable waffle maker; you can create your own design by depressing any of the 81 squares. But my first thought is, “This is Non-Targeted CI gold.” That’s right, golden-brown on the breakfast table is straight gold an hour later. […]

Essentials For Language Learners, Part 2: Essentials 6-10

Yesterday we posted about Essentials 1-5, Communication, Comprehension, Joy, Variety, and Trust. Today we complete the list with Essentials 6-10.  (In case you missed it, see the original article, “What Makes ‘Whatever’ Work: Essentials For Any Language Program,” on which these learner-specific articles are based.) 6. Personalization Do your approach and materials take into account your own life, interests, […]

Essentials For Language Learners, Part 1: Essentials 1-5

Recently we posted ten language program Essentials from the perspective of a teacher, department, school, or curriculum developer. Since Indwelling Language is a service for both teachers and learners, we want to provide some learner-specific thoughts on the Essentials.  (Teachers, these comments are still worth your consideration, whether or not you consider yourself a language […]

What Makes “Whatever” Work – Essentials Of Any Language Program

We’re in the middle of a series whose basic point is that, when it comes to providing learners with material in the target language, “whatever works.” If you expected a catch, you expected right.  Here it is: That anything works is true of content. It’s not true of teacher-learner relationships, learner-learner relationships, classroom culture, or fundamental approaches and […]