Video by Sabrina Janczak – 2

Here is the link to the second part of that class:

https://vimeo.com/59204047

My comments:

I see that the artist is working on transparencies for later use on the overhead projector. Perfect. It could be done on regular paper if you have a document camera and I like to hide the artist’s work on the back of the big rolling white board that I like to use.

Where are you writing words down? If you are not, then that is mastery bc it means you are never going out of bounds and so don’t need the board. Now, the asking the girl’s birth day scene was NOT out of bounds. I could tell that they certainly had acquired that. By the way, that is a good way to work with terms associated with age and one’s birthday. You asked Betty Crocker what her age was. Very effective. I need to learn to do that instead of just asking the class the age of the actor. And then you did the same thing with the date and establishing Jan. 22 as the date of her birthday. Really effective.

Great use of gestures. Fantastic, on “together” and “went”.

Awesome to hear a kid doing Où/Where. Loved that.

You got Randy and Betty going to the first location perfectly. Great job on staying with something a lot of us forget, Get the actors through at least two locations. That spatial referencing is huge for the kids’ ability to comprehend and keep things straight in their minds.

Masterful use of MAKING them – this was at 7:00 of the second video – add a detail to the fact that Randy and Betty went to Buffalo Wild Wings in Florida but WHICH ONE? (QUEL BUFFALO WILD WINGS?) – this is the essence of the method – to trick the kids into focusing on the message and not the words by adding details. Wonderful.

Nice use of It’s obvious/C’est évident! that they went to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Miami. However, you are now seven minutes into the story and you only have their names and where they went. This is a great example of how long it sometimes takes to get to more levels of information. Obviously, you are sacrificing everything for their comprehension by going slowly and MAKING SURE THAT THEY UNDERSTAND. But I sense from this group that they have been there done that and would like to move just a bit faster.

Perfect example of unforced output of a high quality when the girl in the front row answered that they went to Buffalo Wild Wings because it was Betty’s birthday. That kid knows how to play the game!

Two awesome things you did at 8:00: 1) you recycled the information about the date, etc. Just a nice quick effective repetition on that. 2) at this point you have not once turned around and written ANYTHING on the board. Your instruction is TOTALLY COMPREHENSIBLE to them so you don’t need to. Amazing, really, when I think about how I used to go through a marker a day. And everything I wrote down, pointed to and paused at, my students DID NOT ACQUIRE. It took me so long to get that. I thought I could just write anything new that came up into the story and we would all have a grand old time. I thought Point and Pause meant to point and pause to any new word. Now I get that Point and Pause is for when we use the target structures only. This is why I suggested years ago that we stop allowing the “How does one say?” question, which can seriously make a class go way off the tracks and out of bounds.

So clearly the first target structure was “sortait/was going out”. Nice reps. How do I know? You can FEEL that the kids are perfectly fine with sortait.

At 8:56 there was a chance to do a mini-RT scene with Randy eating chicken wings. After he did it kind of half assed the first time, you could have stopped him and asked the class “Acceptable, classe?” and of course they would say no and you would make him eat the chicken wings

  • angrily
  • romantically
  • innocently
  • fearfully’
  • timidly
  • noisily
  • fast
  • really slowly
  • etc.

I think this is new for all of us, the idea that RT can occur anytime anywhere in any scene in our classes.

At 9:12 you asked Randy how many chicken wings he ate. You did Not ask simply how many. You asked how many chicken wings he ate. This shows how we can keep getting reps on everything. Alway thinking reps. That leads to fluency. I would like anyone who uses ANY other method to teach a foreign language make a case for what we see here as being in any way less effective than what they do. Indeed, this clip is just a superb example of the method. What could be more effective?

OK. this is important. Susan Gross always tells us to FEEL what is happening in the story as REAL. And you do this so clearly when at 9:34 you can be seen just laughing at how she eats one wing while Randy eats a thousand. That struck you funny in the moment and you just enjoyed the banter, the contrast between her eating one and he eating a thousand. That humor and happiness is so atypical of what the kids experience in their classes during the day that they don’t even know how to react. They are in a class with lighthearted happiness that is GENUINE from their teacher. I think that on some level all the district researchers KNOW FULL WELL that this human element is what is missing in their schools. It doesn’t exist. But it does in this classroom. You kind of laugh from 9:35 all the way to 9:40. Such genuine teaching!

At 10:00 you get the Quand/When kid to do it. I can’t. Nobody will do that one. Nice! And then right after that you taught en bas/down. Then the fist bump. Good to teach those terms but remember that in the chimp world the alpa male is not the one who is biggest or fastest or smartest – it is the chimp who gets the most touches in the group.

At 10:45 this is the “suddenly” move you invented and that I have an article on here on the blog. So what if you broke out of French to get them to do it together? Fun and they were a little shy with the camera on. Doing this kind of working on connecting meaning with gestures and movement absolutely can be done in English.

Nice tie-in to being fat, he is fat because he eats a thousand chicken wings but she is not. But for me, I have banished that word from my classroom. Not these days.

At about 10:45 you used a vu/saw. I don’t know if this is because you had memorized the scipt or not. I would have been back to the script about 10 times by now looking for the next sentence in the script. Are you following a script? Either way, it’s mastery.

Fantastic coaching of the actor into a really funny scene at 12:45. He took your lead. You are the one who gave him permission to be that actor.

Man I wish I could teach like this! And you got here in less than one year!

Nice ignoring of the How do you say something? by the kid in English at 13:31. You just rolled through it. Perfect.

Now at 14:15 the screen comes into clarity and I can see all the words up there. Did they go up during PQA? Can you comment on that?

You’re gonna freak a lot of French teachers out at 14:55 with that passé simple in place of était. Freaky. We need to do that more often. Do you do that chill? Most non-native teachers don’t use the ps and they should.

And there it was “acceptable” at 15:34. You said Ça va? but that’s fine, it was RT. And you sensed that the girl in her reaction of being furious would be too much a challenge for her to act and so you accepted it and backed down and that again shows your sensitivity to the kids’ feelings of shyness.

You are up to 16:00 and could have inserted, every five minutes, a recycling for more reps. OK there is the first recycling at 17:30. I sometimes forget them altogether. In fact, it’s best you didn’t do any recyclings bc the energy and flow may have been compromised. So, we learn that recyclings occur naturally. This at 17:30 was the first natural occasion for a recycling. You recycle with questions. I just restate what happened. Same effect.

You can really see them focused on the meaning and not the words at 20:00. Krashen would love this.

 

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31 thoughts on “Video by Sabrina Janczak – 2”

  1. Oh my goodness! Fut!! Do you have other ways of asking questions with the ps? Was the question quelle a ete sa reaction? and you used fut or was it etait? Is fut commonly used in spoken French? My kids freak out with the a ete/etait thing in the upper levels. I am not sure fut would easily roll out of my mouth and it’s confusing to me anyway. Anyway, Ben’s observations are spot on. Love the name dyslexia – my clapper now has the job of clapping me for English and name dyslexia. Really comforting to see a young Frenchwoman looking briefly puzzled between vieux and vieille!!! Again, nice rapport with the kiddos. Thanks, Sabrina, for going to the effort to post this video. It is big work.

    1. The name dyslexia reveals kindness. You’d have to see the moment (13:38 video 2) again. The kid very subtly tried to fault Sabrina’s name error. Very subtle move on his part. She had to make an instant choice and gave in, saying, “Yes, it was my fault and you are right!” That reveals character.

      In all the thousands of articles and comments here, we have never talked about those little moments we experience on a daily basis when a CHILD tries to find fault with us for something that only a child would see as wrong. This kid found fault with kindness (13:40) so she was kind back.

      How we react to those moments, with a closed or open heart, understanding that they are just children, reveals a lot about us. And there is another way to react when the child crosses the line, which this boy could have done. And that is the reaction of quick loving strength, the direct look in the eye that says, “You will not do that!”

      Sabrina made the right call in that moment. She owned it. But it was close. This is Gladwell, Outliars talk. Thinslicing, those little moments of struggle about how we react to rude kids. All day.

      Anyone who thinks this profession is easy is nuts.

  2. Sabrina Sebban-Janczak

    Ben,

    I want to thank you so much to take time out of your busy weekend to watch these two videos. And yes it is a little hard to put myself out there, my original intention being to get your feedback only, but the argument that it may help new teachers who can’t make it to conferences was a very convincing and compelling one indeed. Like you said: when doing that one needs to leave one’s ego at the door, so I did just that.

    I appreciate all of your constructive feedback and very nice compliments but I want to point out that whatever you see there is b/c of YOU! You have been my teacher for the last two years as I have watched your videos, read your blog and been lucky enough to observe you at 2 conferences back to back last summer. I couldn’t have done it without you. So all these things you see are the results of the seeds you planted and all these nice compliments really belong to YOU, and a little to Susie Gross and Blaine Ray.

    As for your questions/comments , here are my answers:

    1) I’m not looking at the script b/c since I wrote it I pretty much have it in my head , although in one of my class I forgot to circle the last sentence which is the girl breaks up with the boy.

    2) I had circled all 3 structures pretty much the entire period the day before , so give or take 40 minutes after 10 minutes of SSR. So the structures were all very familiar to the kids, and although I can’t be sure they’ve acquired them, I can be sure they are familiar with the sounds and can recognize them auditorily.

    3) So I guess I’ll have to rethink about having a kid gesture all the structures up front based on your feedback that kids can’t attend to two language systems at once. I think I agree with you there, b/c sign language, even though it s not real ASL but the kids’ made up sign language, is in essence another language so it’s perhaps too much stimuli at once.

    4) The reason I was laughing so hard is b/c of the actor. He is sooo good. You can’t see it in the video b/c he has his back turned but if you could have seen his eyes as he lounged on the desk and started to check out this boy giving him “sweet looks ” like a real player. BTW, I would have never allowed this choice in any other of my classes ( a boy to check out another boy) but in this class the level of comfort is such that anything goes, knowing that everyone is respectful of each other, regardless of race, color, religion or sexual preference! It was so funny to see this actor’s facial expression!

    And finally , I guess I have been doing RT all along without knowing it because I always ask my class to comment on the actors’ performances and of course it never goes and we always have to redo it. I’m anxious to learn more about RT though so I can get more ideas as to how incorporate more of it!

    Ben again THANK YOU!

  3. You are very welcome. I remember you telling me that you have a background in theatre in Chicago and I truly believe that when we get this RT monster unleashed in our classroom we will take it all to an entirely new level. I think we are slow on it bc we are still messing with the basics of CI instruction and the RT piece requires mastery of comprehension based instruction/PQA/stories/how to do a reading class, mastery of the other instructional templates, etc. for it to happen. And we all have to have a little more confidence in ourselves as directors. It’s not that Jason is a genius director (well, he is) but that we have as much potential as he does. But we have to believe that we can direct a scene using RT. I think we can. I would like to work in the evenings in San Diego exclusively on learning to be an RT director. I am going to spend the months leading up to that conference planning instruction in RT at that conference. I want people leaving that conference confident in their ability to do what Jason does, if without the flair and pure greatness. That would be a good gain from one conference right there. I am teaching a bunch of kids I don’t know in the morning sessions and I hope that even works (it didn’t in Breckenridge where they gave me a bunch of 6th grade 4%er girls with no boys – Dori and I had to enlist our own sons to be the two boys in that group. Maybe it’ll work this year.) But for those interested, we need to carve out serious RT coaching time in the evenings. Don’t expect to relax that week. Diana and Carol have a lot planned during the day, but I am saying that anyone in our PLC attending the conference has to be ready to give up their evenings to hammer out this RT stuff. It’s too valuable. By the way, that kid creating that scene is a good example of how much potential a real template-based with clear steps is needed by us at this point. Think what the possibilities are! Instead of stories we could be doing TPRT – Teaching Proficiency and Reading through Theatre. It’s on it’s way. You Sabrina are just a little bit away from having L2 theatre going on in your class all the time. THAT is where a lot of this is all going, in my view. And the college professors who try to twist CI around as per skip’s post and mb’s comments on it today, they will be just lost. They will slowly no longer keep the public’s perception that they know what they are doing. They have ignored Krashen for too long. Their brains will finally dry up and be blown away by the strong winds of fun and laughter generated in the L2 Story/Theater classrooms of the future. My area of inquiry is both in doing theatre based on novels and in doing a larger kind of theatre based on L2 in general. But that is a in the future. Meanwhile, we must master basic RT. We just need to all grow into the method for another year or so. Then it’s going to be lights….camera….action!

  4. Sabrina, these videos are just amazing and so helpful. Thank you for putting yourself out there for all of us to enjoy and learn from.

  5. Brigitte and Clarice
    Thank you very much for your kind words. Some days it feels like its effortless but its always joyful b/c we are making human connections with the kids. Since I started with this way of teaching, I find myself dreaming about my students, thinking about them all the time and laughing to myself about things they said and did while driving or running or anytime really. I m having so much fun teaching this way.

    I m looking forward to Ben trying out this story with his kids so we can compare notes. I told him he could put the story script on the blog if he so wishes so if anyone is interested in trying it out b/c it was so much fun to do with all my Fr 2.

    1. ” I find myself dreaming about my students, thinking about them all the time and laughing to myself about things they said and did while driving or running or anytime really. I m having so much fun teaching this way.”

      Yes! It is the difference of caring about and teaching students and hanging out doing it in the “comprehended” language. I, too, can never go back to the way it was before.

      1. That reminds me of my days teaching AP French. Our AP communities were rich and white. The classes were rigorous, but not whole brain rigorous (Krashen) – they were half brain rigorous – stuck there in the analytical hemisphere of memorizing verb forms and all that grammar. Little elitist communities of kids who could memorize and analyze. Rich kids, for the most part. Real community, right?

        I remember that I used the 90% Rule most of the time in those classes – 90% English.

      2. …I find myself dreaming about my students, thinking about them all the time and laughing to myself about things they said and did while driving or running or anytime really….

        I am glad you chose that quote from jen, Clarice, for it reveals much that we want from our jobs, even if we don’t know it. It describes the unconditional positive regard for others, for those more vulnerable since they are children, that make our profession different. Caring about and helping and serving children is what teaching should be, not judging them for lacking in some unimportant area like can they write in a foreign language. Of course they can’t, and neither could those judging teachers who might take a class in Italian but haven’t heard the language enough to be able to write it. Thus, when we do that, when we enjoy them and our days in the classroom, we learn how to enjoy our jobs and not think that we will start to enjoy them once all of our students have passed the AP exam. Enjoying our students and ourselves is, of course, so much easier to do from a CI format. When we use CI we enjoy teaching so much more and we don’t hate it anymore.

  6. Wow! Merci!
    I watched the first part yesterday and just finished the second part. It’s really encouraging to me to see you teaching! The main thing I noticed overall is how much fun YOU are having. This is what makes the whole thing work I think. It’s real, honest belly-laughing fun, yet it is not a comedy show, and it never gets out of control or off track. You are clearly directing the action and keeping to the narrow and powerful stream of language. Because you are so completely present to each moment, going slowly and allowing each moment (and rep!) to soak in, the students cannot help but be towed along for the ride.

    Is this a “typical” class? I know it can’t really be completely “typical” with the camera on them, but I am just wondering how this group compares to itself sans camera. It seemed authentic to me. They are teenagers, nobody really getting all that goofy, but there are a couple of “sparklers” who help to light the way for the others to buy in. I need to remember to highlight these sparklers like you did. Also LOVED the high fives and applauding and other spontaneous encouragement. I can tell that this is part of your normal rapport with these kids.

    Do you assign kids for the acting or do they volunteer?

    I would love to try this script! Thanks so much for sharing this work 🙂

  7. I’m doing the script on Wednesday, jen. I will publish it here as an article so you can use it. By the way, I showed it to my 9th pd. class today and I said that they aren’t as good at acting as those Chicago kids (Randy Savage anyway) and they took that as a challenge so now they want to video their version of Le Coureur/the Player by Sabrina and send it to her so that her class can see it. They are into it! Chicago vs. Denver in a TCI throwdown!

    1. Jen,

      Thanks for watching and for your encouraging comments. To answer your questions and comment I have to say that I AM having fun for the most part most of the time, and yes experience and practice makes all the difference in the world and I still feel like I have so much more to learn but really all the credit goes to Ben and this blog and people like you jen who have contributed so much to our communal growth and given me more confidence and a willingness to take risks. I think there is not one single day when I don’t take a risk and OFTEN I fall flat on my face and other days it works. I keep a daily journal so I can reflect whenever I have time.

      jen I’m just so HAPPY and GRATEFUL to be doing CI, and if I couldn’t teach this way I WOULD QUIT, and I m not kidding. As a matter of fact the first year I taught in 2006, I did quit at the end of the year b/c the other french teacher who was so angry at me for doing TPRS complained to the principal and made my life so miserable that I had to switch to the book for the 2nd semester and I hated it so much that I quit.

      And jen, this is a very typical class for me and actually the kids didn’t act any differently b/c they were in front of the camera. As a matter of fact, it was their idea/request to film this story, I m not sure why. I had never filmed that class before and had no intention to do so but one of my kids asked me if he could film on his fone. I did not agree to that b/c I was afraid of him putting it on FB and I didn’t have my camcorder with me, but I decided to let him film with my fone that is why the quality of the sound is probably not the best.

      This class is a mix of pre IB/ Honors 2 kids and except for 2 students they all had me last year so they know me well. Yes, these kids are definitely more motivated than my regular high schoolers but I teach the same way with all of my classes. OK not all stories are so engaging and fun to act but they are just good kids doing their 50 %. Mat the boy who acted always volunteers and he is so good why would I pick anyone else. I asked the girl to volunteer before class b/c the girls are shier in this class. Overall this video is very authentic and typical of how it goes with this class.

      Talking about stories that is another area where I am taking risks. I started writting my own stories and this one worked really well.

      jen I just saw that Ben put the story up. Please try it out and let’s share notes.

    2. Wow Ben,

      Tu n’es jamais à court d’idées/d’imagination ( how do you say that in english?).

      What a fantastic idea! That is so cute!

    1. OK , the Denver Nuggets may have killed us (the Bulls) a couple of days ago but I think this will be our revenge, haha!
      Who gets to judge? Has to be neutral……

      1. Hmmm…What if I had my class watch both and “judge?” and then try it. Wouldn’t that be massive reps? Just an idea. And then the original class watches all of them? I dunno. Could be overkill or could be kinda cool and fun?

        1. Isn’t this how we do everything here? We try shit out and sometimes it works. OK you’re in jen. Let me get my video out to both of you within the week and no cheating.

          Rules:

          Only one day max on PQA to prepare them.
          Film the first story you get and send it in.
          No stopping the camera.
          I get to win bc I am an old white male.

          1. Oh I ain’t gonna win nothin’. I have not done a story for ages. This will be scary and messy $#*t for me. But sometimes you gotta say “What the #%@^!!! I have been working up my nerve to submit a video anyway. And the scariest part is that I am going to submit a French video when I am super self-conscious about my own level of French. Eek!

            BTW I won’t get to do this until 1st week of March. We have a break coming up. So if someone else can do it in the next 2 weeks definitely go for it. I will join in after and it will be even worse and rustier after a vacation, but I think it will be a great motivator for my kids knowing that I am not the only lunatic out there trying this. Either that or they will be very afraid since it will be obvious that we all have the same chip implanted. Bwaaaaahahahahaaa!!!!

            Nice rules! Where do you think showing the previous videos fits in? Before or after PQA? Just checking. I am all in!

          2. Nice. But we need to get one thing straight. We all suck at this. And I am beginning more and more to think it isn’t all us. The human tendency to judge others is at a height right now. The kids’ have been taught to judge our teaching based on how organized our presentation is, how deft we are with the Promethean Board, you know. They go to lunch and discuss what we do in CI as weird, because all they have known since sixth grade is memorization and work packets and memorization, which they have over the years equated with learning (!), and then they double down on the same topic with their helicopter parents. If we didn’t have jGR and if we were cowardly we would be cowering to them – children! It’s all about being good enough in their minds and now WE even believe it. So let’s just all say we suck and our ability to speak the language we speak – unless we are a native speaker – sucks, and then we can share vids. And jen we don’t have to share with the group. Honestly, it could be too much. We could just share the vids privately. Sorry group but I see the real value of this idea as lying in what jen said about how “it will be a great motivator for my kids knowing that I am not the only lunatic out there trying this”. That’s the value in making these kinds of class competition (CC) videos. It shows that we are not crazy and that we are not the only ones out there. And it helps enormously especially now in the dead of winter when the kids need something different to do. jen – on where the previous videos fit in, I say we just play the ones that preceded it, like I played Sabrina’s today, and the kids watch it and try to understand the French, and we just do it like that. I am also going to ask them to notice things that maybe they could do differently when we create the story ourselves. With this CC idea, there will be a lot more ownership by the class in the story. And quit worrying about your French. Aren’t you a Spanish teacher first? IT DOESN’T MATTER how fluent we are. That’s why this site is private, so we can be honest about who we are. I am so IMMENSELY TIRED of this world of Helena Curtains out there who climb to the top of the professional mountain but don’t know shit. Like Troyen. Come on! I have a colleague whom I taught next to for two years and his all- glass door was one foot from my all-glass door at the end of a hallway in this high school and also at a right angle so we could always see into each other’s rooms whenever we got near the door, and his teaching is based all on computer programs and he is this year’s ACTFL Teacher of the Year nationally and he is mystified by CI! But I quite know otherwise. So let’s just treasure that we can be who we are here. I say we don’t share with the group. Sorry group. Just throwing it out there but we have a right to do this throw down thing privately. I STILL don’t know who people in this PLC are and don’t have time to be always begging for bios. I say we have an application process to get in here. OK rambling here but jen we have TOO MUCH TO LOSE if we get all caught up in what people think. This is a tremendous motivational tool for the kids and that is all I am wanting to use CC for. And if we did it knowing the whole group would be seeing it and we don’t even each know more than 30 of us, I think it is wise to keep it private entre nous.

          3. Hey Ben,

            I agree that we all suck…. (or most of us anyway – I can certainly think of some excellent examples of those who do not)

            But, what bothers me more is this fear of exposing how much we suck… I have tried so hard to create a peer coaching group here in Maine and it has been a struggle. I know folks are very busy but I also suspect fear….

            It just seems to take so long and be so difficult to create the level of trust needed to practice in front of others. The irony is that once we reach that level of trust we can really help each other without being intimidated…

          4. It will have to be the new generation of TPRS/TCI trained teachers by us, just teenagers now, who will get together willingly. Because it’s what they know. All the current teachers know is how to drive their boring cars around the streets of Four Percent Town, USA. We’ll have to wait.

            And we all really do suck. I feel as if I am doing in my classroom what I know is possible in my mind about 20% of the time at most.

            Think of the history of flight. Those French and American aviators are like we are now, and many of them crashed. St.
            Exupery ended up in the Mediterranean Sea on two occasions. Bleriot and them, they all crashed. But planes kept improving slowly over decades. Nothing good happens fast.

          5. Yes I agree about the trust needed. What we are doing with the video piece, sending in video of ourselves warts and all, is truly unique in the profession. It is because we trust each other. It is because slowly this group is starting to realize that little growth will happen unless we take risks and trust each other. It helps that you and Annemarie and Sabrina and Mary Beth and many of us have met at conferences. We know it’s not just a name or some internet version of us, but us, who we are, shitty teachers on one day and highly capable teachers on the next. Nothing great will happen on a large scale here, my brother. We don’t need to save the world. We just need to nurture each other and take things lighter. Have you noticed the intensity of the communication here building lately? Not a good thing. We can’t get all carried away here. You and I agreed to take full breaks on weekends and look at us on a Saturday. We need to sign a pact next time we are together. This whole thing needs to just slow down, is what I’m feelin’. Because it’s gonna be slow. I want to post less so that we can absorb new things more slowly for our mental health. But it’s like stopping a slow moving freight train. Or turning an aircraft carrier around at sea. We all do what we can. No Chairman Mao here. No experts. Just us. if people are sincerely interested, picking up on the fine and beautiful resonance of this work and how deeply it can help kids, they are lucky. But because most are four percenters, they can’t. It’s gonna be our own students who bring the change.

            Related:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrkwgTBrW78
            https://benslavic.com/blog/2012/12/17/thomas-merton/

  8. I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish Sabrina a VERY Happy Birthday today, March 2!!!!! Happy Birthday, Sabrina! 🙂

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