Comprehensible Input – 30 Points

A repost:

Here are 30 points about teaching using comprehensible input. Most were taken from points made over the years by Robert Harrell and now located in various articles in the Primers section of this site (hard link above):

  1. We emphasize the gradual acquisition of language that follows a different timeline for each individual learner.
  2. We do not emphasize the memorization of vocabulary and rules.
  3. It is the narrative framework of a story that makes new language items (lexical or grammatical) interesting and easier to grasp and remember by the whole brain.
  4. Stories are created through a collaborative process involving both the teacher and the students.
  5. Stories tend to be quirky and memorable (and to give students opportunities to be inventive), which heightens engagement.
  6. Co-creating stories together with our students helps to bind a class as a community.
  7. Students are more confident when they eventually produce language.
  8. Eventual writing and speech output are far more authentic when this method is used.
  9. Communication is the standard and so communication is the method used to reach the standard.
  10. Storytelling is not an extra curriculum component but a technique that more completely supports the standards.
  11. We assess students in terms of the standards connected to the ACTFL Three Modes of Communication in the areas of interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive communication.
  12. The Interpersonal Mode of Communication requires students to sustain focus for the full class period with no zoning out, side conversations, etc.
  13. The teacher uses messages in the target language that learners find compelling and understandable to help them acquire the language unconsciously.
  14. Comprehensible input is not the teacher talking at students; it is not learning about a language; it is not immersion. Rather, it is about students hearing and understanding messages that they want to hear and understand.
  15. Thus, comprehensible input instruction is student driven and student centered because students give input and direction to the flow of conversation.
  16. Comprehensible input instruction is going “deep and narrow” with the language rather than “shallow and broad”.
  17. Comprehensible input instruction is relational, back and forth and participatory.
  18. Comprehensible input instruction is aimed at acquisition of the language rather than learning about the language.
  19. Comprehensible input instruction is contextualized.
  20. According to the US Department of State, academic rigor includes a sustained focus, depth and integrity of inquiry, suspension of premature conclusions, and continual testing of hypotheses. The teacher incorporates academic rigor in the classroom by requiring sustained focus from students for the class period.
  21. The teacher and students develop a positive professional relationship with one another that is devoted to real outcomes.
  22. The student-driven nature of the course of study means that they can explore deeply and fully in the target language topics that truly interest them.
  23. As students are exposed to the language in a contextualized, meaningful fashion, they suspend conclusions about how the language functions rather than having those conclusions forced upon them at the outset.
  24. The unconscious mind continuously tests the students’ hypotheses about what sounds correct in the language.
  25. Comprehensible input classrooms typically reflect the ACTFL position statement of using the target language in the class 90% of the time because the teacher speaks and encourages the students to speak the target language at least 90% of the time or more.
  26. The teacher and students engage in a conversation or dialogue in the target language.
  27. The teacher checks for comprehension regularly and often.
  28. Grammar is contextualized and embedded in the language.
  29. The teacher explores those topics and items that interest students as shown by their responses, reactions, and requests.
  30. In the comprehensible input classroom there are no worksheets, optional homework, and no mind-numbing drills.



4 thoughts on “Comprehensible Input – 30 Points”

  1. Thank you so much !
    I was looking for this ! Though I would have to trawl through various posts but youve made it so easy for me. Thanks 🙂

  2. Those are really from Robert Harrell. I just gathered them together in a list. They are from an article he wrote that is now in the Primers. Other articles that make things simple from various PLC members over the years can be found in that Primers hard link above, Yvonne.

  3. TPRS/CI teacher needed!

    Position Type:
    High School Teaching/Foreign Language – Spanish

    Date Posted:

    Carmel Catholic High School MUNDELEIN, IL

    Date Available:

    Full Time Spanish Teacher


    BS/MS degree in related field

    State licensure

    Advanced or greater proficiency level in Spanish

    Excellent verbal and written communication skills

    Willingness to seek out professional development

    Openness to collaboration and instructional coaching

    Ability to pass criminal background check including fingerprinting


    1-3 years prior teaching experience

    OPI Exam Score

    Knowledge about principles of Second Language Acquisition (SLA)

    Familiarity with ACTFL proficiency levels, modes, IPAs and testing

    Familiarity with comprehension-based instruction (CI, TPRS, TPR, content-based teaching, immersion, OWL, AIM method)

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