Standardized Testing according to The Little Prince

I don’t know if our friend Antoine had testing in mind when he wrote Chapter 4 of Le Petit Prince / The Little Prince, but he could have. I’ll simply quote part of that chapter, with a rough English translation, as food for thought on standardized testing: Les grandes personnes aiment les chiffres. Quand vous leur parlez […]

Rising Above School Politics (#Teach2Teach Question 2)

This is a response to #Teach2Teach Question 2 from Carrie, about school politics (full question below). Special thanks to Amy Lenord (whose response is here) and Karen Tharrington for starting the #Teach2Teach movement and to those who have responded to their call! Here is Carrie’s question: “How do you stay inspired and not get bogged down by the politics of […]

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 […]

Teachers: Visit Each Other!

There are lots of ways to connect with colleagues: professional conferences, email groups, web forums, blogs, social media, . . . . Teachers should take advantage of these to whatever degree is reasonable. But one of the easiest, most rewarding types of teacher-teacher interaction is simply to visit a colleague’s class, or even to get […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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. […]