From Michael Coxon:
Check out Dr. Stephen Krashen and Professor Bill Van Patten discussing the field of language learning at ACTFL 2015:
Opening the show:

46 minutes in the middle:

Closing the show:

You can listen to archived shows at:



20 thoughts on “K/VP”

  1. If this isn’t evidence that dedicated teachers in our TPRS community have succeeded in making break throughs into mainstream, I am not sure what is.
    As Carol mentioned, Krashen was well-received at ACTFL. At the same time, Tea with BVP is another resource for educating others in SLA. It also seems to be a weekly commercial for TPRS. 🙂

  2. Lance, you should look into putting VP in touch with those. Perhaps you can tweet them out for other teachers? I think teachers that want to use this as a classroom resource would actually do so since your edits kind of cut out the banter and stand up comedy shtick. There has been a lot of communication about people using this radio show in their departments, methods courses, and with their language students.
    Personally, I like when they kind of goof around. Although some of the humor has been a little too edgy. Not all of the audience is looking to listen to an hour of intense discussions on second language acquisition theory… of course most of us are though.
    Great work Lance keep it up!

  3. …Not all of the audience is looking to listen to an hour of intense discussions on second language acquisition theory…
    Exactly. I’ve emailed Tea with BvP about their existence, but no response. I suppose they’d prefer people to just listen in, or catch full episodes on Sound Cloud. I don’t Tweet, but go ahead. The link is on my CI Materials page, just not too many people know about it.

  4. I feel like I’m crashing this thread, but here goes. Was listening on Friday afternoon to the recent BVP podcast, and was really happy to hear BVP talk about walking into class with no textbook, just a few underpinnings on the topic we might want to discuss, say a picture of a refrigerator and the idea of talking to students about what they have in their fridge. I thought how much that supported all our ideas in the past about walking in and just talking with the kids.
    My only idea about how to add to the classrooms that we already have is to ask the kids for questions they’d like to ask the class. Do they want to know what’s in the other kids’ refrigerators? Or do they want to know what everyone’s favorite class and teacher is? Or maybe how to handle the schedule, or lunches … I’m thinking that maybe we’ll start an “interesting question” box.

    1. The kids don’t want to know what’s in the refrigerator. Maybe at the college level they do, to get the A. But secondary kids? I don’t think so. It’s gonna take more than a picture of a refrigerator to hook some of the kids we here in this group teach. Sorry for the unintended plate of snark, there, Michele, but to me it’s true. Krashen and VP are wonderful but they can’t do what we do.

  5. And what VP does not explain is -how- he makes his fridge conversation -comprehensible-. We know how to do that ! In any language, at any level. Unless I missed that tea episode?

  6. Bill did say that he doesn’t think that motivation is a part of our jobs, but then he went on about how class needs to be fun. There might be a distinction there, but maybe not. If I’m not motivated maybe I can enjoy myself, but then again maybe I can’t enjoy myself if I’m unmotivated.
    Either way, I’m not sure many secondary students find that it’s fun to talk about what’s in their refrigerator, UNLESS you were to ask whether they had a dinosaur in their fridge, or unicorn meat, etc.

    1. The unicorn meat would do it.
      Lance I am so full of respect for you right now, not just for the way you put your videos out there in raw form, but also how you now go on dialoguing with us, making quips, while going through arguably what can be seen as an extreme form of mega-stress there in your school. I would be crying and full of fear right now, which is Monday there so you must have had that meeting. Such strength – very admired. And almost a requirement in today’s educational system, right? – where teachers who bring the good stuff for some reason are always on some kind of ledge, since what we do is so radical (and makes so much sense!). Heaven forbid what we do that draws so much ire make sense and be based in real research! I salute you and I think I speak for the group on that, as a few others have already said in this thread.

      1. It’s funny. I think I read this here (was it a Jen, Jill, or a Judy?) that someone said once they wrote their resignation everything felt better.
        So true.
        I’m in high spirits. Today the kids are doing a 5min timed write so I can get some results to look at and share, and then we’ll finish watching Pirates of the Caribbean (en español). I have 4 days left and we’ll just start learning some Latin during that time. That’s it. We’ll do CWB in Latin, then maybe some TPR Word Wall. It feels pretty good.

    2. …Bill did say that he doesn’t think that motivation is a part of our jobs….
      It doesn’t have to be at the university level. Someone needs to ask him about secondary schools with kids who have no hope of college, and would be happy to just go to a restaurant from time to time.
      Anyway, as Krashen has said recently, it’s not about motivation. If they are in the room where a good story is being spun, they will be motivated even if they’re not motivated. Stories do that. Nothing else does. Be the story.

      1. If you read BVP’s stuff on teaching — I mean specific ideas for conducting class interaction, not general ideas — boy is it obvious it’s universities that he’s talking about.

  7. I just listened to that one too. What I took from that was his statement that echoes essentially what we already know and do: “Think of your students as people. Find out what they want to talk about, use the language /topic as a way to find out about them.” I am paraphrasing, but that is basically what he keeps saying. I didn’t take the fridge conversation as a suggested topic, just as an off the cuff seed of communication that he threw out there to see if it would sprout.
    Michele, the “question box” is pretty awesome. I don’t have a box, but do ask kids to write questions they want to talk about in our “Star of the day” interviews. I weave these into the interviews, and also just randomly use them: “Hmmm…what do y’all think about this?” I like the box though, bc I tend to forget unless there is a visual reminder. This would likely prompt a kid to ask about the box questions.

    1. I don’t for a moment think that the refrigerator is something I would talk about. Instead, the “favorite food” question is a big one in my room. We talked about favorite foods a long time last week (where to buy, how to cook, when, with whom they eat) …I did appreciate hearing BVP say that talking with students was sufficient for acquiring language. He doesn’t talk a lot about reading. That’s the only issue I have with him other than I’d love to watch his class. And I’d love to see exactly what his department requires outside class on their electronic time.
      For any of you who heard Matthew call in a couple weeks ago, that was my class. Now, any time at all that I do a pop-up grammar, Matthew reminds me that I can’t teach grammar. And when I try to go a little deeper for the college-bound Russian-program kids, he gets pushier.

    2. VP says:
      …think of your students as people. Find out what they want to talk about, use the language /topic as a way to find out about them….
      Well duh!
      That is PQA. But does anyone else in our group agree that PQA has changed and that just having a general “get to know you” (Circling with Balls) discussion is kind of old at this point? What VP says above is a line from Blaine 25 years ago. I don’t feel that PQA as described above is the future. I think short and pithy stories that are easier to keep in bounds than PQA are the future. Shorter funny stories with creatures and lots of personalized spin-offs. Seriously, PQA is just a high stress game. Why do it when we can fire off the rocket ship with one creature? I’d like to read what Eric says on this topic of PQA kind of being old stuff. He is into some totally new cool stuff that he recently told me about that I won’t describe here but it’s not about PQA. Just sayin’.

      1. If repetitions are no longer the hyperfocus that they used to be, I think Star of Week, etc. takes care of what you get most out of PQA. Those interview activities provide a way to continue what CWB sets up at the start of the year.
        I think CWB has a firm place in MGMT. I’ve started writing about that in a blog series (http://magisterp.com/2016/02/03/ci-program-checklist-1-of-12/). It’s not an old idea, but it has potential to get old if it’s used later in the year in place of Star of the Week or something else.

        1. CWB happened for the first time in 2004. It’s great, but I really like how you say that Star of the Week, brought first by Jody Noble and kept alive by Bryce and Sabrina and Nina in their own versions of the original idea, is a more interesting form of CWB. CWB works because of its extreme simplicity and so is perfect to start a year, and also for the key role you mention that it plays in allowing ourselves to start the year with superior classroom management while at the same time personalizing our classroom. But I am thinking that those little super mini stories that Blaine first thought of so long ago are also a great way to go with first year kids. I keep moving towards stories and away from PQA. I certainly don’t do any Step 1 PQA anymore. Rather, I spin personalized discussion out of readings and stories. I’m always on the lookout for parallel spinning from a text or story into the classroom, the kids in that particular class. That’s my new definition of PQA. I think that PQA in the old sense is great but puts too much pressure on the teacher. I don’t like to see teachers squirm. Good lord, it’s all some of us can do to get out of bed in the morning let alone go in and become Jerry Springer. A good little story with creatures is more interesting, far less stressful, and brings the kids in far faster than PQA. And I don’t think I’m saying that just because I happen to be in a middle school right now. (Your point Lance about how classroom management is the real goal of PQA is described in detail in the hole here somewhere and thank you for making it. There are now 5690 posts and 42809 comments in the hole as of tonight, by the way.)

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