Ben's Blog

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CI and the Research (cont.)

Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could they? They aren’t language teachers. Mike found out that the

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Research Question

I got a question: “Hi Ben, I am preparing some documents that support CI teaching to show my administrators. I looked through the blog and found some great articles but was wondering if there is

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We Have the Research

A teacher contacted me awhile back. She had been attacked about using CI from a team leader. I told her to get some research from Eric Herman. Eric shared this: …I’m dealing with the same

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The Research

We don’t need any more research. In academia that would be a frivolous comment, but as a classroom teacher in languages I support it. Yes, perhaps we need more research in other fields. No in

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WL Teacher Attrition Rates

1.  16% of WL teachers leave the profession after their first year. 2.  47% of WL teachers have left the profession by the end of their second year. 3.  62% of WL teachers have left

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A Pathology of Disengagement

In my opinion, one reason that kids don’t engage in our comprehensible input classes is that we don’t engage them. We get going too fast. We don’t invite them into the proceedings. We make it

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Everything Will Go Swimmingly

Q. What does one do without the support of one’s colleagues when trying to make the change to comprehensible input based instruction? How does one react to a colleague who does not wish to implement

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Thinking Outside the Box

How odd that the power of the old guard and their influence on administrators, in the face of the actual research, is enough to keep teachers down, in a defensive posture, on their toes. The

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Can Anyone Say “Helicopter”?

A CI teacher has again locked horns with a parent simply because he uses best practices in foreign language instruction. Are there any CI teachers who have NOT had to deal with confrontations like this?

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The Grading Piece

Please find below an extensive discussion about grading when using either the Middle School Square or the High School Star. You’ll need coffee, since this may be the single longest blog post I’ve shared, and

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Circling

I’m working with a teacher who has been using Circling, which is the old way that some TPRS and CI teachers still use to get reps on words.  The problem is that – although teachers

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Intuition in Storytelling

Q. You’ve called QL3 and QL4 – where and with whom – the “power questions”. Can you elaborate? A. Many years ago while watching Susan Gross teach us about storytelling in many workshops, I just

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What We Have Become

Teaching using CI should have a compassionate element to it. That is, we should remember how damaged some of our students are and we should try to teach in a way that includes them. Or

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Bad Breath

Why do students choose to not continue on in our four year programs? After all, a four year program of language instruction should not be a one or two year program. It should be a

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Odds and Ends

I write stuff on scraps of paper and they collect on my desk next to my computer and then I throw them away. Before I toss them this time, here they are written out: …when

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Broken Record Technique – 2

There is another point to add here, not touched on in the first Broken Record Technique article but critical to the discussion. The teacher in her initial email to me said this: …their child is

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Learning Styles – 1

It is generally accepted in educational research that people are either visual, auditory or tactile/kinesthetic learners. Some students exhibit balanced combinations of two or even all three of the learning styles; others are heavily “weighted”

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Learning Styles – 2

Listening is the Bedrock My heart goes out to the students whose learning style is predominantly visual but who are in a CI classroom. Why? It is because languages are learned via listening, and so

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No Brainer

Which would you rather have: (a) high test scores from a few of your students, or (b) happiness and confidence in all of your students? You can’t have both, obviously, the way the system is

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FVR – Some History

I can report that FVR as a TPRS reading activity started to stretch out and lose its shape and value to students in the early 2000s when “Read and Discuss” became the norm in TPRS

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Learning Styles – 3

Of course, students whose learning style is predominantly visual, when given worksheets in a language class, prefer them. But auditory and tactile kids, when given the same worksheets, feel defeated. Visual language students in a

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Learning Styles – 5

After your students take the inventory, the main point to stress with them is that even if their visual or tactile learning style conflicts with your auditory teaching style, they can adapt. Make it into

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Learning Styles – 4

Training Them Discuss the 3 learning styles with your students before they actually fill out the inventory. Make sure that the kids understand these points: 1. One out of every three people in any population

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Learning Styles – 7

Some inventories don’t just provide the students with their dominant learning style, but also give them a score. If you use an inventory that does that, the score may reveal that a certain student has,

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Video Link Supports Square, Star

A patron wrote to tell me that this videotape about how the brain learns is exactly reflected in my two new Square and Star books. I’m glad to know that the books that I’ve been

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Learning Styles – 6

Building Community Doing the Learning Style Inventories with the kids also serves as a community-building activity because that is exactly what the learning styles inventory does, and often in just a few days. You will

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Learning Styles – 8

When you tell a student, “Wow! you tested out as a highly visual learner, so obviously this class is going to be more of a challenge for you than a highly auditory learner like Mikey

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Learning Styles – 9

The learning styles message arrives within a context of what is best for the class and not what is best for any one student who happens to be good at doing worksheets and who thinks

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Teaching Grammar for Next Year

Here is a question about what to do about teaching grammar when the kids will have to matriculate next year to a grammar teacher: What resources would you recommend for teaching grammar? It’s nearing the

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Learning Styles – 10

Some other points to reflect on about learning styles inventories: 1. You can learn lots of valuable information about your class makeup. In one small class of about 15 students made up largely of boys,

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Summer Thoughts

Now that summer is approaching, my prayer for all of us is that we stop trying so hard for stories, stop trying to be entertainers, and finally lift the heavy wooden yoke from our creased

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Deliverers of Instructional Services

We are not deliverers-of-instructional-language-services. Teachers who mistakenly think that their job is to deliver language services – well-built and well-planned lessons that divide the language into little pieces all nicely wrapped up in a bow

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Laughter

Accept that you may not get a problem going in a tableau. It’s not a big deal. If you have to control everything, if you have to know what the problem is before the story

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All They Need is Love

We need to learn to teach our students with love.  We also need to assess them in terms that convey approval and love. In the past, we assigned value to them for how many words/verbs

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A Word About Circling

If you have done any work with communicative language instruction before, you probably have heard the term “Circling”. Here are my thoughts on it: Circling doesn’t work very well. It’s an old technique that has

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Destroy the Myth

It really is time to destroy the myth that problems and solutions in stories are difficult. This myth exists because in the past, when teachers have tried to use stories to teach certain vocabulary from

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