I shared this article outlining a possible approach to presenting to school WL departments about six weeks ago here. Since then it occurred to me that if anyone is going to use any part of it they might also benefit from sending out my book Stepping Stones to Stories to the department you are working with in advance of your presentation. That way the teachers won’t have to come in “cold” to your presentation; those of us who have presented in the past know that some of the teachers we face in those workshop settings can be for more on the “icy” side than merely “cold”.
So if anyone wishes, just let me know and I will send you Stepping Stones in ebook form at no charge and you can then request from the chair of the department you are presenting to a list of the teachers involved (maybe the non-icy ones) who might want that book emailed to them and you can just forward it on to those teachers. It might help make your presentation go smoother.
And here is the original article on my plan for presenting to interested departments about the method:
More and more of us are now being asked to present to our colleagues on comprehensible input and comprehension based instruction. We should therefore begin to think about developing our own presenting styles, what works for us. Last spring and over recent years a number of teachers have brainstormed with members of the PLC to get ideas about presenting to colleagues. Find some of those articles here:
Last week jen extended the discussion by asking some specific questions about a two hour presentation she is doing soon:
…I’d love advice on how to break up the 2 hour time slot. I’d like to do the student jobs, have a quiz, do a short reading lesson and maybe even a dictée. I don’t know if that is too much to do? Should the demo itself be broken up like I do in class with brain breaks? Like 15 minutes in TL then some movement or something? Total of 45 minutes in TL or should I try for 60? This is not a lot of time so cards and PQA? Story script? Micro-mini stories like y’all have been posting recently? These are potentially things that I will get bogged down trying to decide. I am good at the non-scripted-ness part, but not so good at choosing which activity to showcase this.
How much time do I leave at the end for debrief, Q&A, etc? When I go to conferences I like to have a student experience and also have some time to observe / reflect from my teacher perspective….
Jen, I would not do an introduction at all. Who cares? Follow up at the end. Just do as much CI as you can. I personally would use this format:
1. As people are getting seated, hand out the CWB cards to a small group who are already sitting close to you up front and ask them to fill in the cards. This removes the glass pane between you and your audience.
2. As others are coming in and getting settled and those earlier ones are filling out their CWB cards, ask others to volunteer for five jobs. Tell them not to start doing their job until you start the story, but get them set up now. When the story starts, the story writer would take notes in English on everything said from the start of the story to the end, the quiz writer would write out five or ten questions, the artist would draw the story on the iPad, and the two PQA counters (definitely use pitch counters – teachers love gadgets) would count reps you got on the two target structures during the PQA set up to the story. (Three structures is too much in this setting; just do one or two).
3. Now that you are set up with the cards and the jobs, start CWB. Use the cards to speak to them in Haitian Creole. (CWB could go for the entire two hours so you will have to limit it to 10 min. if they aren’t feelin’ it; 20 min. if they are, but no more.
4. Then start in with the main course, steps 1 and 2 of TPRS – PQA and the story. I would make it a Micro-Mini Story, as you call it and I love that term, as per recent PLC articles on that topic (see the category). A story in Haitian Creole that is more than four or five sentences is going to be too long. Just take each sentence one by one, as is written up in TPRS in a Year! in Sample Stories A – D. The story will probably last 45 to 60 min. Keep an eye on the time.
5. The Quick Quiz is next – five or ten questions given to you by the quiz writer – 5 min.
6. Then give them a brain break (this answers your question about brain breaks, jen). You really need this time. You have to do two things in ten minutes during the brain break so it won’t be a brain break for you:
a. write out the story you got from the story writer and give it to someone to get up on a document camera while you then
b. record your voice of what the artist drew on the iPad in whatever interactive whiteboard app you chose (Jeff Brickler has shared that Explain Everything is a good tool) . This will just take a few minutes if your artist has limited their work to only three or four frames. Then give the iPad to someone in the group who is willing to set it up on the LCD as you end the brain break and begin to read the story with the group, using Reading Option A. By doing the reading on the document camera while someone is setting up the LCD for the iPad discussion, you will be ready in step 8 to process the artist’s work. You just have to be really fast during the brain break, setting these two things up, or you could create a shorter version of the story. Just remember that your goal here is to show off the variety of things (and these are only a few!) available in a CI class. Limit spin off questions during both of these activities, to make sure you have enough time for both. If you haven’t started using the iPad, it’s time. At this point you are in for about an hour and fifteen minutes.
7. End the brain break, as described above, with Step 3 of TPRS – the reading. Again, my advice is to use Reading Option A (see category on ROA) – 20 min. with limited spin-off discussion/contrast/comparison with celebrities/students in class.
8. Do the iPad discussion – (see category on Interactive Whiteboards) – 5 to 10 min.
9. If things have gone too fast and you need a filler, now is the time for (dictée), but maybe of one sentence only. They (yes, even teachers) can’t do writing output in a language they haven’t heard and read for thousands of hours first, so try to avoid this as discussed above but use it if you have to. Knowing it is an option later on in the presentation is a kind of security blanket, but you won’t need it.
10. Then at the end as part of your wrap up (5 – 10 min.) I suggest that you try hard to remember to make two simple points while answering questions, but make sure you make these points:
a. “In the past two hours I have wanted to show you that language learning is unconscious. You may have noticed during this time that you were focused on the message and not the words, yadda yadda” as per articles in the category labeled Unconscious and/or hand out some of the good articles up in the Primers section.
b.” I have also wanted to show you that what we just did fully aligns with the 90% Position Statement of ACTFL plus the standards expressed in the Three Modes of Communication, especially the Interpersonal Skill (read those articles or copy them to hand out at the end of your presentation – teachers love handouts and we’ve got some doozies here).
Having made those two points, and having done CI with your audience for nearly a full two hours, they will necessarily be full of questions. But we all know what happens. They house bias in their questions. They stuff their questions with ego. Why would we ever want to have any of those discussions about the value of CI again? You just proved CI for two hours so don’t let them take the discussion down that pathway. Some ask questions just to hear their voices. So allowing a maximum of ten minutes at the end is all they should get.
So, to summarize:
1. CWB – 10 – 20 min.
2. PQA/Story – 45 – 60 min.
3. Quiz – 5 – 10 min.
4. Brain Break – 10-15 min.
5. Reading – 20 min.
6. iPad – 5 – 10 min.
7. Q and A – 5 – 10 min.
This puts your presentation at between 1h40 min. on the low end and 2h25 min. so you can make what you do fit into the two hours fairly easily by keeping an eye on the clock. The design here is to get the WOW! factor going on. The activities were chosen to show off the power of comprehensible input in the form of listening and reading. When a teacher feels that they love Haitian Creole and can understand and read it after only a few hours, you will have accomplished your goal. It is hoped that these ideas help others as more and more of us are asked to present to our colleagues on behalf of their careers and their students’ language learning careers.