100% Use of TL

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29 thoughts on “100% Use of TL”

  1. I find it EXTREMELY difficult to even do 90%. Not because it’s hard to stay in TL but because I’m extremely ADD and I get off topic a lot and I just like talking to my students.

    I think the 90% TL Statement is extremely important, however, for us as CI teachers. The traditionalists will not survive when forced to use the TL 90% of the time. As long as more states put the 90% statement in their standards documents, the termites will continue to gnaw at those decrepit buildings, as per: https://benslavic.com/blog/2011/09/18/termites/

    1. I agree Chris. I love talking to my my kids. It’s essential for building a great classroom community. But they love talking to me en inglés, and that’s becoming a problem. I’m torn.

  2. Wow! Details please! The big mystery to me in the 90-95% vs 100% is the quick establishing meaning piece, in order to avoid that scene from the YA novel where the teacher spends the whole period doing weird charades that the kids never end up understanding? And then would this also cancel out the whole “movie reading” ???

    1. No, I am not referring to reading at all, which I think we did a pretty good job of hammering out this year. I am talking about PQA and stories. 100% use is definitely possible because we have a teacher in DPS who does it, Reuben Vyn, and he does it really well. Diana and I always talk about how improbably it is, but Reuben’s kids’ test scores are ridiculously off the chart each year, and since he came here to DPS two years ago with no prior teaching experience, it never bothered him. Yesterday he observed my class and when we were talking afterwards, because he could see – I could see him sitting there watching the struggle in me – how I wrestle with Bad Ben the English User in class, and he just smiled and said, “You just start in on day one and never stop.” In terms of giving class instructions and such, he explained that you just norm it in August by writing all that instructional stuff on the board a bunch of times but eventually they acquire the norming language and so then you are free to go fully into CI. I have notes at school that I took during those first attempt classes yesterday that I will try to share here. The insights kind of blew my mind. The big thing between 90% and 100% for me was that I got a lot more buy in from the kids and there were less problems. Kids who usually had a bitchy edge seemed more exposed by the rest of the class who seemed to be relieved that it was now all in French. A lot to say about that. I’m glad it’s happening now bc I will certainly screw this up, as these kids have not been normed (hello!) but at least I can practice for the fall. I think it is a whole new world for me. It sounds like 10% of a change but really it is a 100% change.

      1. Just to be clear I still have to pin Reuben down now on the details of this 100% deal. So I make no claims as to being able to do it until further study, but I really like the idea. Maybe it fits Reuben’s personality or something and can’t work for others, especially people like me who have let Bad Ben the English User have too much sway in my teaching psyche over the years . Maybe the first two weeks of the year should be an exception and then all French after that. I’m thinking that may be true. Jury is out on this one, but all signs point to its use.

  3. I learned German from an excellent teacher who never spoke anything but German in class. I thought she was wonderful, but I also remember many of my classmates who felt very frustrated and unable to grasp what she was saying. I sometimes get a class where we are 100%, and we celebrate those classes with a chocolate cake, but when we’re reading a text or “movie reading” I feel like we’re working on muscles that will let us do more 100% classes.

  4. Grant Boulanger

    I, like Judy, am not convinced this is necessary. Or, maybe it’s not a good idea even. Or, maybe it’s 90% at the least and 100% for those who can pull it off. But, here’s the thing. Immersion works very well at a place like Concordia Language Villages where a kid is surrounded 24/7 by the language. The kids do feel frustration. sometimes a LOT. But, they’re given time, lots of repetition, lots of fun activities and cool, caring counselors to help them along. Plus, the kids can’t run away. Traditional schools are very different by nature and implementing full on immersion in this environment is exceedingly difficult.
    It would require SO MUCH concentration and effort on my part that it seems like the focus of the class would be on ME trying to CONTROL myself, rather than where the focus NEEDS to be. On the kids.
    I have done the 100% TL in class and have seen others do it as well. I see the frustration on the faces of kids. I saw kids give up. I saw teachers try to stay in the TL, fail and then consider themselves failures or lose the class. I just don’t think it’s worth it if it makes even ONE kid feel like a failure.
    i also think that by using English to establish and reestablish rules and only rules you make a connection with kids that you otherwise might not make. It minimizes misunderstandings about the rules and maximizes the opportunity for the language to be FUN, using it for converation instead of disciplining.

    I’ve gone down the 100% road before, Ben, and I don’t have the energy for it. And I would even go as far as to say that if you’re at 90-95%, the law of diminishing returns may be applicable as one tries to reach 100%.

    Note my lens here is working with beginning language students in a traditional, four-walled classroom for 53 minutes at a time.

    1. I’m there with Grant. As we’ve said at times before, the classroom management stuff often works better in L1. If it’s short and TPR-like, I give instructions in English, but especially when I want to use the hammer, I am not going to read the riot act or even the calm “Leave now” act, I don’t want to have any misunderstandings. And actually, if I do all my discipline in English, it means I’m a “nicer” person (as the kids see it) when I’m speaking Russian.

      BTW, I have my system back in place to send kids off to other rooms, and today was a successful day in my problem class. Before I put the rules back in place, I took Jen’s idea and showed my own video to them (of the advanced class) and that seemed to help them understand what I’m expecting. It also made me feel better, because I was able to show that in other classes, my students demonstrate respect and interest in the language. I highly recommend this tactic if you have just one misbehaving class!

      1. I hear you. I think Reuben is in a class by himself. However, having done my own clutzy version of 100% for two days now, I’m feeling pretty good about it. I should say, to be clear, that trying for 100% has allowed me to hit 97-98%, with those little totally necessary Englishes. But, when it was 90%, I took that to the house at 85% or less with all kinds of stupid bullshit. On some days 90% to me meant 50%. That’s kind of what I want to say. And yeah Grant the energy deal is much higher. But I prefer it overall. At 97%.

  5. I manage to do 100% CI in only one of the classes – my level Is. I’m sure it helps that this is a group of exceptionally motivated kids (and only 20 of them). With all my other groups, I have to use an incentive program to keep the momentum going and strive for 100% L2. Of course, like all of you mentioned above, there are administrative things and such to take care of where it wouldn’t make sense to use L2. Plus the time it would take to make those things comprehensible in L2 is time taken away from CI that is engaging for the kids.

    Luckily, I’m also a fairly new teacher and have always tried to have a maximum of L2 in my classes, even before I discovered CI/TPRS. And just like Reuben, I could not really imagine any other way to do it. So, now I am just more conscious of the actual need/benefit of doing so.

  6. Grant said something that I would like to point out again.–That the focus moves to the teacher rather than on the kids where it should be. But, the kids focus is on you and what you are saying that is really where it needs to be.

    As teachers and parents we often put the behavior on them. It is their fault. But, it is us. It is our preception of behavior that makes it the issue. Not to say you don’t keep the room running effectively. I am not saying that. I am saying it is us and how we approach it that makes the difference. Rueben is doing what he knows works. 100%. And if he needs English it is later in the hall, not in the classroom which he has transformed to an Island of Language other than English. His kids have accepted this and work with him to get through language barriers but using HIS language.

    I say push for 100%. It is tough. It is hard, but it is what you want ultimately. Start there and stay there and help us learn. I am going to push myself to do it too.

  7. Yes. When we push for 100% we get 98%. When we don’t, we fall well below 90%. It’s something about the higher percentages bringing an entirely different classroom experience than the one I have known personally with TPRS these past 12 years. It may only seem like a 10% difference, but it is much more than that in terms of what they acquire.

    1. Grant Boulanger

      Yes, I get this. strive ffor 100% and reach 98%. I know I’m not meeting my own goals and maybe this is how to reach it. Strive from soemthing greater. I just know that when I’ve PUBLISHED 100% as the goal and broadcast it to the kids- when I use that goal to try to keep THEM in the language (because them speaking in English brings ME into English) it backfires.

      so for me, this 100% will have to be in my mind and 95% will have to stay on the wall.

      I don’t see adding another set of posters. The five finger rules should cover it. For my beginners I teach them sign language for their critical needs. bathroom, pencils, etc. My wall space is too valuable to fill it with that kind of stuff.

  8. Possible strategy:
    We have our question word posters. Maybe we need our common classroom phrases posters…

    Too bad my classroom is made of brick. Nothing sticks to brick.

    1. We need those posters. Who has them already? Another project for us. Let’s just start now. Send in any classroom instruction expressions below as comments in English. We will get the posters in different languages as a next step. First, we have to agree on what classroom expressions we want on the posters. I agree that we need to do this, Drew, and I am glad you said that.

      1. Possbile expressions:
        Who is absent today? ¿Quién está ausente?
        Where is he/Where could he possibly be? ¿Dónde estará?
        May I go to the bathroom? ¿Me permite que yo vaya al baño?
        What is the weather like today ¿Qué tiempo hace hoy?
        How much time is left? ¿Cuánto tiempo nos queda?
        Pass in… Entréguenme…
        Take out… Saque…
        Clear your desks Quitar todo de las mesas

        1. Alternatives:
          ¿Me permite ir al baño?
          Guarden sus cosas/pertenencias en el piso, por favor.
          Guarden comes in handy for lots of other stuff: books, cell phones, lip gloss, etc.
          Abran sus libros a la página ____. (Open your books to page __)
          Pass out: Repartan o reparta (since probably one person is passing things out).
          Take one sheet: Tomen una hoja.

          Going to have to think about this: How to keep it basic and personalized to the individual classroom and needs of the students/teacher. Maybe teachers could ask the blog “how to say” something they aren’t sure about so that each teacher can come up with their own list.

          1. Of course “me permite ir” sounds better to my ear… I don’t know why I want to throw it in the subjunctive though. Maybe to get a rep on “vaya.” I now that I think about it… me permite que yo vaya sounds unnatural.

            I forget about “Guarda” too. That’s a great one.

          2. I am afraid I am going to forget this poster effort Drew so don’t let me. The above is a good start. Let’s try to have the classroom expressions poster together in a few weeks, then we can sort out the metacognition posters and be done with those two things. We can’t wait until fall on those. Both are crucial to our norming our classes and both must be up when classes resume, along with “Old Faithful”, the 2010 rules.

        2. -Who is absent today? Wer fehlt? (The first time I use this is always interesting because the students hear “failed” and think that the absent person failed.)
          -Where is he? Wo ist er?
          -Where could he be? Wo könnte er sein?
          -I have to go to the bathroom. Ich muss zur Toilette (gehen). (I am trying to prepare my students for real life, and once they are out school they will probably never ask permission to go the bathroom again; they will simply tell people they have to go)
          -May I go to my locker? Darf ich zum Schließfach (gehen)? (There is where I get the permission word in; also, the verb “go” is optional.)
          -May I get some water? Darf ich Wasser holen?
          -What is the weather like today? Wie ist das Wetter heute?
          -What day is it? Welcher Tag ist es?
          -What is the date? Was ist das Datum?
          -How much time do we have? Wieviel Zeit haben wir?
          -Give me . . . Gebt mir . . .
          -Take out . . . Nehmt . . . raus
          -Put everything away. Alles weg.

  9. I just got off Skype with my Master Elder. Last time, I had trouble following her conversation. This time, I could follow better. The difference when we discussed pedagogy in English (I don’t think there is a Mvskoke equivalent for pedagogy), we noted that she was SLOWer speaking with me. She waited for me to pull the sentance together, translate it in my head, and go painstakingly through each sentance one at a time.

    For 100% to work, it means that what is comfortable to us as teachers (BC we speak the language–at least you do) is not comprehensible for students. It is way too fast for the majority. When you are flowing in the fluidity of the sounds, we as students get lost in listening but don’t have time to translate in our brain. It is what Grant spoke about with his kids practicing the words SUPER SLOW and drawing out the sounds until they can speed it up well later.

    So you have to become very uncomfortable in how you speak as teachers. You have to become the SLOW-LI. And eventually like with Linda and probably Rueben that pace of slow becomes the norm and comfortable to your body and ears and voice. And boom we the students get it. The eyes will tell you all.

    I will tell you that her observation is that every time English is spoke as we try and guess what is said, she sees us then out of the language and it takes her awhile to rein us in again to the language. She said she thought it is bc we can’t respond in Mvskoke and she actually waiting for that response. So, I gave her your 1-2 wd. English rule.

    Maybe one day she will get on the site herself.

  10. I think the difference between 90% and 100% is enormous, and often undesirable. Reuben is obviously an exceptional teacher, and a natural. He has found a way (or simply possesses a natural way) of connecting with students entirely in the TL. This is what the ESL teachers do, out of necessity, when they have native speakers of 5, 10, or 20 different languages in their classroom. For me comprehensibility and connection with students trumps even input. If there is a language barrier preventing certain crucial forms of communication (discipline, establishing meaning, connecting with a student in a time of joy or need), I will not let that get in the way. I just wonder if there isn’t a law of diminishing returns once you hit 90% or 95%. I am excited to see how your efforts bear fruit, Ben, and others who are going for 100%, but I doubt I’ll be following in your footsteps, at least for now.

  11. Now my goal is 98%. I think it might be the sweet spot. It’ll keep changing between 96% and 98% but it won’t go below 95%. But the comments made by PLC members here a few weeks ago made me realize I can’t be Reuben. (At one point three years ago in grad school riding for Portland State Reuben was also on the bubble for riding professinally and could have ended up in the Tour de France, so we are talking about a pretty intense individual and a model for our future here in DPS World Languages here.)

    To address what John said here:

    …for me comprehensibility and connection with students trumps* even input….

    Today two students, the same exact students who were lipsynching locations 2 and 3 today in class (see other comment), had been involved in a competition in ROTC, a big one with teams from Wyoming and NM. They took a first, second and third.

    One of them was the Buddha in that Krashen video. Buddha had fallen asleep in class a few weeks ago (possible into deep meditation for all I know), and I let him. I had enough connection to know that when Buddha sleeps, it is not normal sleep, and there is a reason for it, one that I can never know. I present it to the class that way when the class complains – they’re not Buddha!

    When I asked him about it after class he told me that he had gotten up at 4:00 a.m. that day bc the team had an early practice for this very competition. So today I just stopped in mid-sentence when it hit me (had been announced via email to the faculty), and went right into English until the class got the enormity of their accomplishment.

    *notice the perfect compound noun subject/verb agreement. That is a Latin teacher for you. Sounds wrong, is right.

    1. I wonder if we could get to 97%/98% use by us and 99.9% by them, with the exception behing when they are made to answer questions like “What did I just say?” from us. The only way that would work is if we were to truly stay at 98% in class or they would perceive that as unfair. I can’t till next year and have a new group to norm.

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