Question

Steven has a question for the group:
Hi Ben,
I have a quick question for the PLC. Are teachers who teach with NTCI, using less and less written translation on the board? I find that many of my students are tracking me really well, so I just say the translation to them when it’s a new word. This of course could be a cognates or combined with a picture. I feel that it maintains flow better than writing on the board. Anyone else seeing this?

(If anyone has a question for the group, just send them to me at benslavic@yahoo dot com and I will make them into a post so we can get multiple responses and insights instead of just one…)

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10 thoughts on “Question”

  1. Steven so you mean less trips to the board to write the word down in both languages bc the interest is higher bc of NT, right?
    I could see this happening in level 2 and above. Is this happening with you in level 1? That is pretty impressive.

    1. In French 1, I am making less and less trips to the board. Maybe because I am getting lazy. I SAY the translation right away when puzzled looks arise. So, If I say “The plan was LANDING” and there is no visual support, I say LANDING in L2 and then say it in L1 then I repeat the sentence using maybe another support like using my body or hands to create a landing effect. Then I move on.

  2. I notice that I don’t use translation as much anymore, in fact I try to use it as little as possible. If I can describe the ‘thing’ in L2 or I can draw a picture that is better, but the truth is that translation is the fastest way to establish meaning. But, i think it’s important to note that some of your less literate and slower acquirers may need the breather to better understand the message. So going over to the board and pointing and pausing will really help. Also I think it’s important to remember that there really is no such thing as a cognate. I know that sounds silly but to our students often it’s true. I have had students not understand the words: pirata, palacio, romantico, and tigre. We take for granted that it looks similar but the truth is they are doing so much processing that they don’t usually make those kinds of connections. Also if you don’t read a lot you won’t know a lot of cognates like invencible, or if you only hear the word ‘invisible’ in spanish it won’t sound to a level one student like invisible.
    Just some things to consider.

    1. Got it. I have many avid readers in my French classes. However, I want to say when there is a steady diet of auditory input, it’s as if the students can hear the similarities. With cognates or similar words like “Special”, “Guacamole” (used in French) I ask students “what does that mean?” There will be someone who knows and then everyone else will given that they are tracking me. Maybe it’s the school where I work.
      That said, I agree with making things comprehensible in anyway including translation, myself making a gesture or action with my body, pointing to a visual or real thing in the class or drawing a silly drawing.

    2. My experience as well. Also the slower processors are not as good as the faster ones at getting the meaning of unknown items from the context.

  3. I write words in L2 and find they I often just say them in L1 but I get the feeling that writing the L1-word might be good for the slower processors. Yeah, I always wonder how much the slower processors get bc they almost never clarify if they don’t understand. Perfectly understandable, they are afraid to seem to be dumb.
    It’s become habitual to me to ask the kids for translation, by which I don’t mean perfect but do they get the meaning and this often shows me that my own estimate of their comprehension is wrong bc only half of the hands or even less go up. I know of course that not raising their hand doesn’t mean that they don’t get, they might be just not sure.
    I believe we can only do our best to support comprehension and the rest is up to the unconscious.

    1. “I believe we can only do our best to support comprehension and the rest is up to the unconscious.” I agree but there’s context too.
      I had a talk about snacks such as chips today. I asked for a bag of chips from some of my students. Then I told them that we are going to do some math and nutrition (in L1). So then I described a small bag of chips and its calories per serving. Then I told them how much a serving was. Then I told them how many servings there are and how many chips that is. We then multiplied the calories per serving by the total number of servings to get the total calorie count for the bag. It was a whopping 560 calories for a small bag of chips! This is a year 2 class. Though I have some students who are not yet ready for clear transparency of ALL of the vocabulary, the context brought about the “illusion of comprehension” which is tied to the subconscious. As more input is given more will be revealed and the brain is constantly prepping itself.

      1. One can readily see why I am such a fan of Steven Ordiano. He keeps everything real, i.e. in alignment with the research. A wonderful example from his comment above:
        …though I have some students who are not yet ready for clear transparency of ALL of the vocabulary, the context brought about the “illusion of comprehension” which is tied to the subconscious. As more input is given more will be revealed and the brain is constantly prepping itself….

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