Dana Miller-Kitch is the Canadian CI teacher who replaced me at the American Embassy School in the fall of 2016 in New Delhi, India. She had trained up over that summer on the Invisibles since she knew that she would inherit kids who were taught using them. I consider this article important enough to repost here from time to time:
Hey Ben –
I had a great conversation with a parent today. A little background information…
This is a highly educated woman who is a writer. They arrived at our school last year and her daughter began taking French with me in seventh grade. Her daughter is a reader and is a highly motivated student.
At our first set of parent conferences last September, I explained how I was teaching and showed some examples of how much the children understand after just six weeks of school. She was amazed and very curious about this way of teaching language because it’s so very different to how we were taught and how many school still teach language. By the second round of conferences last year in the spring, she was blown away by her daughter’s progress.
So today I bumped into her and she was telling me how this way of teaching still fascinates her. This is assessment week in my class [see A Natural Approach to the Year) so she was going over some of the documents that I have shared on Google Classroom with her daughter to help her review. She was asking her what some words meant in English from the vocabulary list that we keep a running record of and her daughter couldn’t remember a lot of them. So she told her daughter she better start learning these and getting them under her belt.
Then she started asking her about the stories in about some of the characters and she was blown away by how much her daughter understood within the context of the story. So the girl knew what the words meant in context but out of context, in a vocabulary list, she didn’t know.
I find it fascinating how the brain works and how we acquire languages. This way of teaching language, with the Invisibles and non-targeted comprehensible input, is such a rich and valuable way for people to acquire the language. She said that she had to go back and apologize to her daughter because she was wrong. And she just loves the way that I teach the language using the Invisibles.