Mixing CI with Traditional

Up until now, after twenty years of doing CI or some other form of it like TPRS, I have always thought that the two ways of teaching were mostly mutually exclusive.

But now, I see no reason why we can’t mix the two, especially in level 1 language classes. That’s where all the oppositional sparks fly when we try to put CI instruction into our language classes.

Why not wait a year to put the pedal down on the CI, and do both in the first year? It makes a lot of sense. It gives us street cred with parents, admins and with our more traditional colleagues. It shuts out all the negativity from people who don’t understand the research and the standard.

In class, we easily teach to the common assessments in half the time needed, since the CI part of class provides excellent support for traditional tests, since language acquisition is really based on sound and images.

I have never in my twenty years with CI seen a class fail to perform on the common grammar assessments at an equal or better level than kids trained with grammar only. That could never be said if the assessment situation were reversed.

But, to avoid all that unpleasantness, do both in level 1. Then, as the kids advance through your four-year fluency program, put the hammer increasingly down with the CI. And your level 1 kids will stay with you for all four levels, and EASILY pass exams like the outdated AP exam.

If you learn what and how to teach your level 1 classes, you’ll soon be dancing like the guy. in the yellow shirt below. (I couldn’t find a picture in which the genders were accurately depicted so I use this one with apologies. The dudes should be in the back and the person playing Thor should be a woman, some version of Susan Gross.)

Image result for put the hammer down gif



2 thoughts on “Mixing CI with Traditional”

  1. I agree Susie was a goddess with a magnificent golden hammer of love when I saw her last. And for mixing both strategies I would never have thought you would say that. But as a learner, yes a proud 4% er, learning from the walls is helpful. It helps me take command for pushing my own acquistion, which I as a motivated learner am compelled to do. And face it we are the students who stay with the language beyond the requirement, but you as a teacher are required to teach all who cross the threshold. I get it. Give me lots of places to find more knowledge and let me know it is okay, but you aren’t going to focus that way alone. You are going to bathe my brain in how the language sounds through stories and conversation so I will be able to speak beyond the written page with real people.

  2. Kate said:

    …[the teacher is] going to bathe my brain in how the language sounds through stories and conversation so I will be able to speak beyond the written page with real people….

    I’m putting that sentence up for the “My Favorite Sentence of June” award. It will probably win.

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