This is year 26 teaching French for me and I continue to grow in my understanding of how we acquire language. At the start of this academic year, I changed how I plan, how I spend time with my students and how I assess. I’ve been pondering the assessment piece for several years now. My method in… Read More How do I assess?
My 26th year practicing the art of helping students acquire French débuted 2 weeks ago! Actually, that is not entirely accurate. The first 12 years I didn’t focus on language acquisition. Instead, I taught students ABOUT the French language. I instructed them: how to conjugate verbs how to spell words how to figure out adjectival… Read More A new year and a resolution
Our school year draws to a close. Lesson planning ceases. Time opens up for self-reflection. What have I learned this year about teaching L2 (second language)? Much! It’s been a painful year. But growth is like that when pruning takes place. Year 25 teaching French kicked off in August. A new season to teach the way I believe… Read More End of the year reflections + next year’s goals
Pop psychologist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the ‘10,000 hour rule’ for building competency and skill in a chosen activity when he wrote his popular book, Outliers. Recently at the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL)‘s 2016 annual conference in Boston, I crystallized my sense of how second-language classes in schools should operate. Often these foreign language classes are… Read More What IS the skill involved in 2nd language acquisition?
One change I implemented after the enriching and rejuvenating ACTFL 2016 conference was to eliminate ORAL error correction from my teacher behaviors. Over 12 years ago, I abandoned a grammar-focused, textbook driven French curriculum in favor of one rich in comprehensible input. The evidence documented by rigorous research and first-person testimonies at the time convinced… Read More Does error correction help?
Before our December holiday break, I created my first student task based on Comprehensible Input (a method of second language acquisition). Tasks, a new (to me!) vehicle for language acquisition came out of the workshops I attended at ACTFL in Boston last November. (See previous post about putting 2016 ACTFL resolutions to good use). The… Read More Who knew that 4 of their teachers spoke French!
Smiles today from a normally blasé group of 8th graders. Thank you Dr. Bill VanPatten! Recently at the ACTFL 2016 conference in Boston, I made a beeline for all the sessions focused on proficiency via comprehensible input. Many peer-reviewed studies in SLA (second language acquisition) over the past 30 years have shown that explicit language (grammar)… Read More Putting 2016 ACTFL sessions to good use