9 Ways To Happify Your Class

Is your class a Happy Place? Your students don’t have to be happy, and they certainly won’t always be, but they’ll probably acquire language better when they are. Most of the reasons why a student would be unhappy are out of your control, but many aren’t. Here are some ways to happify your class in service of language acquisition. […]

Preparing a lesson vs Preparing yourself (#Teach2Teach Question 1)

This is a response to #Teach2Teach Question 1 from Garrett, about balancing “teaching” and “planning” (full question below). Special thanks to Amy Lenord and Karen Tharrington for starting the #Teach2Teach movement and to those who have responded to their call! Here is Garrett’s question: “How do all these teachers balance the workload between teaching and planning?  Now that I am […]

The Multilingual Reading Countdown

If you are interested in multiple languages, the Multilingual Reading Countdown is for you. This straightforward technique both increases the comprehensibility of a text and improves your understanding and memory of the content. Simply select a text that exists in multiple languages and read it in successive languages. For maximum comprehensibility and, therefore, maximum language acquisition, […]

Reading websites in multiple languages

As you may know from research or experience, the best thing you can do for your fluency in a language is to consume large quantities of content that you can understand. (If you are a teacher, the best thing you can do for your students’ fluency is to provide compelling content that your students can […]

Relearning a Language

My French is not what it once was. This makes me sad. Here is the story of what I’m doing about it, with some encouragement in case you, too, want to revisit a once known language. My first regular contact with French was in third grade, with a Swiss teacher in an Austrian classroom, in […]

Why All Language Teachers Should Be Language Learners

Next time you meet a language teacher, ask, “So, what language are you learning?” You should find out what the person teaches, too–and a wise answer might include whatever the person teaches–but a good language teacher should always have at least one other language she is learning herself. Why? First, a teacher should learn languages […]

My Favorite Language-Learning App is Temple Run 2

There are lots of language-learning apps out there—duolingo, Byki, Busuu, etc.–not to mention all the flashcard and quiz apps. But my favorite language-learning apps are these: Temple Run 2, 2048, Civilization, and FIFA 2014. “Aren’t these games,” you ask?  Yes, and they’re free, too. (Except Civilization.) “But they don’t even have spoken words!” True, and I […]

Your Language-Learning Happy Place

Your Happy Place is a mental state or a physical setting in which you are most at ease or most energized. You may have a general Happy Place, or you may have a host of Happy Places for different activities or purposes. Do you have a language-learning Happy Place? Mine are (a) just after breakfast, in […]

Pre-Reading and Three-Reading

The last post celebrated the benefits of rereading texts. This post delivers the promised rereading activity that you can use on your own or with a small group if you are an autodidact, or, if you are a teacher, can conduct in class or assign to students. If you’ve tried adding a bunch of different sounds […]

Don’t Read, Reread

It wouldn’t be unfair of you to ask why I read a letter this morning written to someone other than me, or why I did so twice, once silently and once aloud, or why these were the fifth and sixth times this week that I had read this same letter. “Curiously enough, one cannot read a […]