A student’s explanation of how she knew what to say in French encouraged me and provided more tangible proof that Comprehensible Input (CI) works!
The students had recorded orally 2 minutes of a story each had invented. They did this by dialing my Google voice phone number. When my message invited them to speak after the beep, they proceeded to record 2 minutes of their story about a gal who wanted to marry a rich guy. The recordings go directly to my school email for me to listen to with each student, one on one.
One of my students and I were listening to her 2 minutes and I was scripting what she had said in French. As we reviewed the written transcript, she stopped me at ‘il lui dit’ (he says to her/him). Here is a snippet of our conversation:
Student: ‘Il lui dit’, that’s correct, right?
Me: Yes! good for you.
Student: I thought so, it just felt right.
Me: How so?
Student: In our last book we read for homework, Brandon Brown dit la verité, I kept seeing ‘il lui dit’ over and over again.
Me: Yay! That’s proof that hearing or reading something and understanding what it means is the way to pick up, that is ‘acquire’, language naturally.
We continued our debrief, and I rejoiced the rest of the day.
Giving students enough interesting CI (comprehensible input) IS effective. We don’t need to teach a rule and practice a rule.
I’m so thankful to have this evidence that CI through reading is effective and shows forth in natural speech! The scholars and researchers all say that and I’ve experienced it myself, but to witness this in a 7th-grade student is affirming.