I very much appreciate what Alisa wrote here a few years ago about nontargeted instruction, during those days when we were hammering out the NT piece here about seven years ago. It’s true. It’s what Beniko says and Krashen’s work indicates. Alisa also talks about Story Listening (Beniko Mason) here. If you are not incorporating it now in the drag of winter you should – just do a search on it here in the search bar, read, find out how easy it is, and go ahead and implement it now (the perfect time of year to do Story Listening to break things up a little now at this very difficult time of year:
Here is Alisa:
The more my students listen to story listening stories, the more used to “not comprehending each word” they get. They learn to do what counts most in CI – get the big idea.
Tolerance for the noise builds, but at the same time, each exposure to the perhaps yet un-acquired parts of the message adds a facet of understanding to it. The students don’t feel that they must attend so much to the non-essentials wrapped up in comprehending the story. I think it makes them feel smart and successful right away!!
As a SL student in a workshop, I can feel my teacher unlearning happening like the peeling of an onion. With every compelling, contextualized exposure, I am able to eke out a bit more comprehension of the parts of the story that make the message.
Of course, there is always a blast from the past for me when I listen to a story being told to me via the Story Listening method. I feel a blast of cortisol when I don’t understand a certain word, or when it issn’t written down on the board, but when I succeed in letting it come back around naturally with a gesture or drawing later on in class, fully immersed in the sounds and meaning, after awhile the cortisol jolt leaves me alone.
Dr. Krashen’s message of the ‘illusion of transparency’ becomes understood more deeply in SL. My ‘transformation toward’ NT is progressing; I will provide richer language and a wider net with less stress and less labor-intensive management by (comprehensibly) telling more and asking less with my own students.
I agree that we in this group are onto something BIG. Though I know it’s not necessarily new in the sense that NT isn’t new, and that Krashen has been talking about it for years, the classroom rollout is definitely different than how I was trained up until now.
My work just makes a lot more sense now, having experienced and implemented story listening in my classroom, especially for an elementary teacher with so many levels and classes. We really are more language parent/storytellers than teachers, which, in this day and age, is really saying something optimistic and encouraging!