Baseball Part 2

Whenever we communicate with our students using comprehensible input, whether in building a character or a story, a one word image, etc., we ask questions, to which the kids answer in yes/no or one word answers. This is how CI works in the early years, and it results in speech output sometimes as early as in levels 3 and 4 in a high school program, but usually real speech emerges later – more time is needed.
But there is this question:
Q. I can understand the importance of adding details when we build our characters, but sometimes the kids just keep adding more and more and I don’t stop them because they are having so much fun. Is there a way to keep this from happening??A. If your students are just piling detail upon detail, you might need to check your pacing. You are probably going way too fast for the majority of them to truly understand the language. Plus, how will your poor artists ever hope to keep up? Once I saw this happen in a workshop. The artists almost quit that day because the input got away from them and the details were raining down too fast. The pace might feel fine to you, but you know the language! My advice is to train yourself to add only five or six details in the class period. You can do this and still provide a whole period of CI by focusing on slowing down, recycling some previously-established details, looking them in the eyes, gesturing, doing some quick TPR (“show me hand, show me face, etc.”), looking at the space where the language is being “sculpted” (so important!) and describing it in a tone of wonderment. I have developed a kind of internal radar once I get past five or six details. I just stop asking questions when I feel that the character or story has a proper balance to it. More is not better in a CI classroom. With One Word Images, especially, it is all about quality of speech and quality of image-creation over quantity.



2 thoughts on “Baseball Part 2”

  1. How do you get their ideas for the problem, failure to solve the problem and the resolution without letting them speak English? I think I missed something here because I haven’t been doing lots of yes/no past the initial character establishment.

  2. Only speaking for myself, I no longer do that TPRS style problem-creation process. What we are doing now – and it developed over the summer since we saw you in Phila. – is we started relying more and more on the back-of-the-page information on the individually created characters. The problems, fears and secrets that the kids provide lead to strong QL5 problems and resolutions. And we use English if we want. No rules.

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