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 […]

Spare No Tupperware: Erasmus on living in the language

Like most people, I read some Erasmus this morning.  A friend had asked for a particular passage in Erasmus’s booklet De Ratione Studii (roughly, “On Study Habits”); after finding the passage, I was intrigued enough to read the book from the beginning.  Several pages in, I found a delightful, Indwelling-Language-evoking passage in which Erasmus discusses internalizing […]

“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. […]

What Makes “Whatever” Work – Essentials Of Any Language Program

We’re in the middle of a series whose basic point is that, when it comes to providing learners with material in the target language, “whatever works.” If you expected a catch, you expected right.  Here it is: That anything works is true of content. It’s not true of teacher-learner relationships, learner-learner relationships, classroom culture, or fundamental approaches and […]

“Whatever” Works: Non-Targeted CI Lesson 2, “Thank You, Justin Bieber”

Justin Bieber has done at least one good thing for me: He provided the impetus and the core material for this lesson. It’s another “Whatever Works” lesson, delivering non-targeted Comprehensible Input. (See yesterday’s post for an introduction to non-targeted CI and another lesson plan.) Really, this is another Quirky Feature (again, see yesterday’s post), which I […]