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14 thoughts on “Automaticity”

  1. I’m guessing that is automatIcity? (looking for the pronunciation as I’ve never heard this one before.) I do like the idea of having a word for this, as before I would just try to explain it, and then re-explain it when I wanted to reference the idea again. Works for you Bryce?

  2. I have been (mentally) pronouncing it to rhyme with electricity. \??-t?-ma-?ti-s?-t?\
    Here’s a definition. It’s a good start, but it doesn’t address either the oral/aural component or writing.
    The state of being able to complete tasks without conscious thought. Fluency is the result of automaticity; to be able to recognize and comprehend written words reflexively, without having to decode or pause to consider their definition.
    Here’s an interesting excerpt from an article on reading, automaticity and fluency. I think the article worth reading.
    Automaticity is defined as fast, accurate and effortless word identification at the single word level. The speed and accuracy at which single words are identified is the best predictor of comprehension. Fluency, on the other hand, involves not only automatic word identification but also the application of appropriate prosodic features (rhythm, intonation, and phrasing) at the phrase, sentence, and text levels.
    Excerpts from another article:
    Any person, who speaks a language that he knows well, does not concentrate on vocabulary, or on sentence structure, or on grammar. His mind is focused on what he wants to say. . . .
    . . .
    [Automaticity] is usually the result of learning, repetition, and practice. The main process by which we develop automaticity is called
    overlearning (also called overtraining). Overlearning is a pedagogical concept according to which newly acquired skills should be practiced well beyond the point of initial mastery, leading to automaticity.
    The last excerpt in particular speaks to the issue of students who quickly gain initial mastery – they need to keep “practicing” to develop automaticity.

  3. No, I didn’t make up the word. I have seen it written regarding other skills and I thought it would apply to acquiring another language. Robert hit on the point I was trying to make with the word–that some kids are able to memorize words quickly so they think they know them well enough. after all, that’s the degree of “knowing” they need for their other classes–just pass a vocabulary test. But we want kids to know it so well they don’t even have to think about it. We want acquisition.

    1. I was reading Tools for Teaching, which I finally bought after seeing it recommended for years on moretprs and Fred Jones talks about automaticity as a goal in teaching. Has everyone else read that book? I like when he talks about input output input output, because that is how my class feels when I am circling.

  4. Extremely well said, Bryce. It’s odd that many teachers of language accept the short term memory demonstration of knowledge. They must know that, unless the word is acquired, the work they are doing with their students is pretty much useless for the vast majority of them. It’s just so odd, really. The ACTFL positiion says 90% of the instruction in the TL, and these teachers don’t do it. They mkight do, on a good day, 30%. That ain’t jack shit.

  5. I think automaticity (ha that word isn’t recognized in the auto spell check… yet) is exactly what one of my adult students explained she was feeling after listening repeatedly to a CD I made of all our class stories. Here’s what she said to me about it:
    “The stories are so familiar so I wasn’t sure I needed the CD or that it would be helpful. But, being so familiar and hearing it repeatedly, I feel like I am thinking in spanish instead of translating back and forth. That’s a big step.”

  6. Jim,
    The CD idea is great. Recording our own stories on CD for our students is a fantastic next step. Es obvio! For the last 3 years I have had the students in my community college classes listen to Blaine’s books on CD and their comprehension and fluency has soared, but I have not seen this step yet. I am going to do something like this. The power of collaboration!
    Muchisimas gracias, Jim!

  7. Once your Story CD is recorded, all you have to do is make it available to your students. They just pass it around and one person makes a duplicate of it each night until all who want it have their own.
    Or, if you want to go the fancy route, buy one of those duplicating machine towers. They are awesome and not that expensive. Or maybe your school has one.
    I can think of no few amount of students in secondary schools, however, who wouldn’t be that interested in Story CDs. This is an idea for motivated students, I would imagine.
    Jim, great idea and I will make a separate blog post for it.

  8. I have an inkling you’re right Ben, most secondary students wouldn’t be into this type of “homework” because there is no way of them seeing immediate accomplishment of any sort (as opposed to finishing a worksheet or something). One way I have kind of tricked students into getting this extreme repetition is by having them add sound effects, music, and illustrations to the raw audio that I give them, on a comp program like Garageband. (I’ve referred to this as ‘Jazzing up Stories’ in the past.) When they do this project, they are repeatedly listening and backing up, listening and backing up, to get the sounds/images in the correct place that they want to insert.
    Of course, each student/pair does this for one story only, for like 3 hours per semester. I fear overdoing it and taking the novelty and utility out of it, plus it’s a pretty time-consuming process. But the finished product (the resulting automaticity and the interesting listening material) is worth it.

  9. I record or upload to MSUClear here:
    You have to make an account, and the audio can be recorded on the ViewPoint tool. If you click on my name above, (I think) you can hear a simple recording of one of the many class stories that I uploaded last year. You can also upload sound and video files on this site, and then just give kids the url.

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