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 […]

How to Create Twisted Embedded Readings

In 9 Ways to Happify Your Class, I claim that every activity has a “funner version.” Well, every Embedded Reading has a “twisted version,” or at least a version with a twist. Here are some simple ways to add a delicious twist, even if you’re not Agatha Christie, O. Henry, or those deviants who dreamed up El Internado. […]

Use Can-Do Statements–just not like this.

The introduction to the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements, increasingly used in U.S. schools, features this helpful clarification: These Can-Do Statements describe the specific language tasks that learners are likely to perform at various levels of proficiency. (p. 2) What this means is that, if you tell me Kendra is an advanced speaker of Polish, I can reasonably infer, […]

I’m gonna watch TV anyway

I have a lot of stuff to do today. I’m gonna watch TV anyway. My to-do list includes creating two conference presentation proposals, making the final edits on an article, tutoring a doctoral student in our final session before she takes her comprehensive reading exams tomorrow, preparing for tonight’s session of a course I teach about language teaching, […]

What Is “Unconscious” Acquisition in the Classroom?

If you’ve read or heard much about input-based theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA), you’ve probably come across the idea that acquiring another language happens “subconsciously” or “unconsciously” under suitable circumstances. You may also have seen this process of acquisition–basically, the journey from being someone who doesn’t know a particular language to being someone who does–contrasted with other processes […]

Good Idea / Bad Idea (Activity + Add-On)

Here’s something you can use as a freestanding activity or as an add-on to almost anything you do in a language classroom. It doesn’t get much simpler: Good Idea / Bad Idea (freestanding version) All you do is a say a sentence in the target language. All students do is say whether it represents a good […]

Off to CSCTFL 2016!

In a few minutes I’ll be heading out to the largest regional conference for language teachers in the United States, the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSCTFL). I’ll be leading a three-hour workshop and a one-hour session, but mostly I’m excited to meet and learn from old and new friends. Will […]

Partnering with Express Fluency in August!

Elissa McLean of Express Fluency has just announced a set of exciting language-learning and teacher-training programs taking place this August in beautiful Brattleboro, Vermont. Among the options are three featuring yours truly: A Latin intensive course for anyone who has always wanted to learn Latin or whose past experiences learning Latin didn’t make it stick. This will be quite […]

Tricks and Triggers for Opportunistic Language Learning

If you’ve seen the Savvy Language Learner infographic or read many posts on this site, you know that I find a system of routines and triggers indispensable for living in your target language when you’re not living in an immersion setting. In 2016, frequent travel and closely bunched projects have convinced me of the need for even more vigilance […]

How Has 2016 Been So Far?

This is the last weekend of the first month of 2016. How is the year going so far? What has been most as you expected? What has been least as you expected? What has been most as you hoped? What has been least as you hoped? For me, it’s been a tiring, but exciting month. Since being […]