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?
This is the month when New Year’s resolutions are grasped with intensity and then discarded with quiet disappointment. Yet hope seems to re-sprout with each new beginning, whether that of a school year, a budget cycle, calendar year or sports season. Recently I have discarded my lifelong focus on outcomes. I had become a slave to… Read More What can teachers really control?
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
Having attended the recent annual conference of foreign language practitioners and researchers, And having been rejuvenated through workshops and conversations with colleagues and presenters, And having been given a charter to work with middle school students this current year I pledge the following: To honor my students by maximizing our time together with the goal… Read More ACTFL 2016-inspired resolutions
Every teacher thinks that his or her class equips students the most for life in the 21st century. I’m here to make the case for how acquiring a 2nd language can transform the life of not only the student but those the student serves, later during his or her productive years of work and service. I don’t doubt that quadratic equations, literary analysis… Read More Wanna make the world a better place?