Do I Make Students Do Stuff I Would Never Do?

Here’s a goals-related question I occasionally ask myself: Now, the fact that I would consider something annoying or a waste of time in my own language learning doesn’t automatically mean it’s not worth my students’ while. We shouldn’t assume that our students are versions of ourselves, whether it comes to interests, temperament, neurology, or motivation, though […]

What Are My Goals? (Teacher Edition)

This post is the first in a series about language learning goals. Stay tuned for a Learner Edition, a Latin Edition, and maybe a Super-Practical Edition.   My goals as a language teacher are simple–at least to state: Help each student grow in proficiency as much as is reasonable, given total time and frequency of interaction. Inspire […]

What I Learned from My Worst Evaluation Ever

I was sitting at the Detroit Tigers’ second August home game and had just taken this picture when I did something I’m learning not to do in the evening or at baseball games: I checked my email. In it I found the anonymous evaluations from a recent set of presentations. Among these was a first for me: a […]

Position Statement: The Why & How of L1 Use

What is the role of students’ first language (L1) in a language classroom? This question is probably more controversial than the one about the use of the target language (TL), which I addressed in the last post. I’ve been asked several times in the last year to publicize my thoughts on L1 use in the classroom, and I finally have […]

The Role of the Teacher

Last week I had the honor of guest-hosting Tea With BVP. It was tons of fun. The main feedback I got from friends and colleagues who listened was variations of “you should have said more.” So here I’ll say more about that episode’s topic, which was the role of the teacher in helping students acquire […]

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, […]

Top Ten Posts of 2015

Every blogger’s doing it, and I’m glad. It’s great to see what’s been most helpful to language learners and teachers this year! Here, for your undelayed gratification, are the ten most popular posts published at indwellinglanguage.com in 2015, in chronological order. Preparing a Lesson vs Preparing Yourself How to teach well and save your sanity. (01/13/2015) 9 Ways To Happify Your […]

4 Myths about Comprehensible Input

Ever since Stephen Krashen made it central to his Input Hypothesis, since rebranded as the Comprehension Hypothesis, “comprehensible input” (CI) has been part of both academic discourse and shop talk among language teachers. It’s easy to have misunderstandings surrounding a concept that has engendered so much spinoff research and so much water-cooler conversation, so let’s […]

The Bummer about ‘Acquisition’ (Part 2)

In the last post, I lamented that the distinction between acquisition and learning that developed in 20th-century academia is prone not only to misunderstanding, but also to misrepresentation. In this post, I point out some deficiencies in the term acquisition itself and suggest another way of picturing the process. Bummer 2: ‘(Second) language acquisition’ suggests the transfer of a commodity […]

The Bummer about ‘Acquisition’ (Part 1)

I love it. I aim for it. I teach for it. I travel all over presenting about it. It pervades this website. If I had a gerbil, this would be its name. But it also carries two bits of baggage that I wish could be lost in one of those airline warehouses where duffels go to die. I’m talking about the third […]