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 […]

On the Go, In the Language: Introducing #indwelli

You’re stuck in line at the DMV. (In other words, you’re at the DMV.) How do you you use the time? Maybe you check Facebook. That’s fine—probably better than checking it when you’ve got time to do something else. Maybe you make a shopping list. Maybe you don’t “use” the time at all; maybe you […]