Do What You Feel Like

“Do what you feel like” can be devastating moral advice, but for language-learning that doesn’t have an impending deadline, it’s a great way to maximize joy and success. Here’s what I mean: This morning I felt like reading young adult fantasy fiction in French. Fortunately, I had sitting by my bed a copy of Harry Potter à l’école des sorciers […]

Optical Illusions

The last post celebrated the role mystery can play in language learning. Optical illusions present us with a genre of mystery that (a) holds almost everyone’s attention for a little while and (b) lends itself to using lots of high-frequency language structures. In addition to whatever words are relevant to a particular illusion, the discussion […]

Making the Most of Mystery

Last year, with input from students, I wrote a mystery one of whose central features is a small, sealed box that the protagonist finds and seeks to open. The desire to know what’s in the box plays a key role in propelling the reader through the story. Last night, I came across a brilliantly simple suggestion from Adam Beck (@BeckMonkeys) for making […]

Limiting your language learning–on purpose

The best journaling advice I ever got was to follow a firm rule not to write more than a single page per daily journaling session. The prediction was that this limitation would actually increase my total writing because it would make the task less daunting and would therefore make me more likely actually to sit down and […]

The Perfect Classroom

What do you love about your classroom? What do you hate about it? If you don’t have your own, what do you love or hate about the ones you travel to? I have to be honest: the only thing I’ve really loved about any classroom I’ve ever taught in is the students in it. Given that […]

Latin Listening Project launched!

What is the Latin Listening Project? The Latin Listening Project (LLP) is a collaborative effort to publish a wide variety of short videos of different speakers responding in Latin to questions about their lives. The Latin Listening Project is currently coordinated and curated by Indwelling Language’s Justin Slocum Bailey, but it is a free, crowd-sourced […]

“I don’t know how to teach” (#Teach2Teach Question 3)

This is a response to #Teach2Teach Question 3 from Jennifer, about troublesome experiences (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 Jennifer’s question: “What has been your most troublesome experience with teaching and how did you handle it?” It’s difficult to […]

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. […]

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 […]