Lonsdale Video

This is from Mary Beth. I found the first eight minutes not very useful to his argument but if you start around the 8′ point you can get his point that he is for comprehensible input:

Hey Ben –

I can’t remember, but I think you posted this TEDx video a year or two ago about Chris Lonsdale talking about how to be fluent in L2 in 6 months.

The background is that I have a colleague who has always questioned why I do things the way I do, constantly informing me that my methodology is not “quite right”, i.e. the kids need to be forced to speak, we need to use immersion, they need to memorize lists of vocab, etc.

With this colleague I have not been able to articulate my research and learning over the past few years. With her I have felt insecure, that my students would not be able to regurgitate a list of words back on a vocab test at a pre-determined time, etc.

But now, by her sharing the above video link with me, I am glad that now she sees that I am not making this stuff up.

However, while looking up the Lonsdale video, I came across another guy’s website, a blog I guess, wherein he seems to be dismissing everything that Lonsdale says:


So, here we have a TEDx by a psychologist that supports TCI, and a who-knows-what dismissing us.

I thought I would share!




7 thoughts on “Lonsdale Video”

  1. Of course Lonsdale’s claim to fluency in Mandarin and then “native” fluency later are preposterous, and he has no idea what he is talking about regarding speech output, but his overall point is acceptable that we learn via comprehensible input.

    The other video, from Viktor K, does contain one sentence (in Point 4) that caused me to raise an eyebrow:

    …students taught by comprehensible input… will be hard to find today, since – like most hypotheses – it has been mixed into the 21st century language teaching methods….

    Yes, OK Viktor, comprehensible input has been mixed into other methods. So everybody uses it. OK, I get it now, thank you for the clarification.

  2. Mary Beth in the Lonsdale video at about the 14′ mark we see him advocating for very early speech output. I think that is what your colleague wanted you to see. I have had this argument with colleagues. It seems their most passionate point, and the one that upsets them most about what we do. They want us to teach our kids how to speak, and not let it happen naturally in the unconscious mind over a very long period of time. So I think she really gave you the Lonsdale link to try to school you on output.

  3. After Mid Year exams used this for two days. I started from Haiyun’s blog on Ignite Chinese because she gives her testimony about studying English for years in China, coming to US knowing two practical (memorized) expressions. Her neighbor picked her up at the airport, stole both of her lines, and left her speechless.

    After reading Haiyun’s blog, we viewed the Lonsdale video with a fill-in-the-blank. I stopped it frequently and asked questions, in L1 and in L2, depending on the level and knowledge of the class. I pointed out where what he said applies to our class and where it applies to his situation. His situation was that he went to China without studying Chinese with the goal of being fluent within 2 years. He became fluent within 6 months.

    I pointed out that we use English because it is faster, whereas he is telling how to use gestures and facial expressions because English was not a common language to Chris and his interlocutors. With “use the language from day 1,” my focus was on using what you can from the point that you can. For example, if the teacher says Hola, respond with Hola, not with Hello. If the answer is Sí/No, respond with either Sí or No, not with Yes/No.

    Not having done anything like this before it was a needed break at the end of exam week, and will give a point of reference for some important concepts like brain soaking, CI, Krashen, use of visual images, tool box words (What is this?/ How do you say?), HF verbs and other words. It was a reinforcement of much of a CI class. I was able to illustrate how our use of questions creates a a way of mixing words (Asher talks a lot about the importance of recombinations in the delivery of input. So I think it will prove to have been worthwhile.

      1. Same blog, in fact. Haiyun invited me to blog there a few years ago. There have been 5 of us altogether who’ve blogged there.

        As Jim noted elsewhere, if you click on my name in a comment, it’ll take you there.

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