Does CI Work? – 5

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18 thoughts on “Does CI Work? – 5”

  1. Whew! Awesome topic. Awesome video – I had not seen it, but the 6 million people who have seen it in under a year make me wonder how I missed it.
    Lots of questions here.
    Does 4 HS years of CI work to get kids ready to interact in the outside world?
    Actually, I think it can. See the stats below (I also posted these to moreTPRS). It won’t prepare everyone, but way more than traditional teaching. Even the “4 percenters” will be more prepared to communicate.
    Do we have enough time to see noticeable gains from TCI?
    Depends on what and how you measure. It can be done. Do we need better ways to measure? Most certainly. The ways SLA measures acquisition are still mostly unknown to FL teachers. And actually, SLA still needs better ways to assess for acquisition. Self-paced reading and eye-tracking are 2 more innovative ways.
    Should we focus more on output?
    Not if you want to measure output that comes from the acquired system. It is plenty possible to output based on your learned system under the right conditions.
    Are TCI kids learning as much as we think they are?
    Great question! And it’s going to take better measurement tools to give us the answer.
    Do we get enough results to convince the non-SLA informed?
    The “result” an admin looks at is “how many parents contact me?” and “how many kids get sent to my office from your class?”
    The result that parents see is their kids coming home talking positively about class and using the target language with siblings or at the dinner table.
    Language teachers are the hardest sell, because they have on “grammar/accuracy goggles.” We already have a mountain of studies showing how much better TCI is to traditional instruction with no loss of grammar knowledge. Traditional teachers don’t care about the studies. We have to come up with better assessments and better ways to score them. And then invite traditional teachers to give them to their students. Even that won’t be enough, because how is a teacher going to efficiently relearn this gig? Testing is just one piece.
    Remember the iceberg metaphor – much more of the internalized system in our heads which we cannot see can be better tapped via comprehension-based approaches to testing. Even if we must show output, then tie that output to input (require kids to listen and retell what they’ve heard). The less developed that system in our heads, the poorer we will do when tasks require comprehension.
    Stats on time and vocabulary size via reading (Nation, 2014):
    moderate comprehension = 95% known words = 3,000 word families for spoken language
    adequate comprehension = 98% known words = 7,000 word families for spoken language
    Assuming a relatively slow reading rate of 150 words/minute, assuming 12 repetitions per word is necessary for acquisition, and assuming you are reading OPTIMALLY (98% of words are known):
    3,000 words = 65 hours* = about 10 minutes/day for 1 year
    7,000 words = 622 hours* = about 30 minutes/day for 3 years
    9,000 words = 1223 hours = about 1 hour/day for 3 years
    *The article does not list how many hours of reading are necessary to acquire the first 1,000 words, but looking at the general pattern, I allotted 10 hours of reading.
    These are theoretical numbers, extrapolated from short-term studies. We need the long-term studies to see if this vocabulary size is actually attainable in these time periods.

    1. Very good points there Eric. I would say that Strict CI would not work in ALL schools. I would not say however that ALL schools don’t work. Some schools work for some students — meaning they are helpful for moving them along the formulaic life of School –> college —-> Job.

  2. “Do we have enough time to see noticeable gains from TCI?”
    … I know right? You have so little time with students and the demands to show growth are so intense.
    The saddest job in the world is teaching high school ESL. When I taught high school, I faced much more pressure from administrators and colleagues to show “growth… Now!” The kids who come to the US at 16, 17… who cares if they show enormous growth in your class; they are still not going to graduate unless you cave-in to the ESL-teacher-as-a-math-tutor thing … and perhaps not even then. In some cases, I had to limit how I much CI I gave kids in the interest of helping them finish projects and get ready for tests, because there was no way they could ever truly master English at a proficiency level that would allow them to pass ANYTHING. It’s sad when acquiring language has to take a backseat sometimes to looking like we are “teaching” and emphasizing “rigor.”
    (Note to Ben: if you are interested in investigating how ESL and TPRS overlap, you may consider observing in an Elementary ESL classroom. You have a much better chance of seeing Comprehensible Input when students have the 5-7 years required to reach proficiency in English.)
    Eric, you are so right that the key is finding appropriate ways of measuring growth. I’m not sure how you test “eye tracking”- is this related to miscue analysis and running record?

    1. BVP talks about giving beginners incorrect word-order phrases to test understanding of the underlying grammar. He found that beginning learners of Japanese paused longer over sentences with incorrect word order because (he hypothesizes) they had acquired correct word order.
      That’s the sort of research that can be done, but it has to be done with computers and relatively large groups. I think it’s otherwise too hard to tease out what learners have acquired. Terry Thatcher Waltz is always having to explain to me how many variables there are in language acquisition research and why studies can therefore offer conflicting results.

  3. My big paradigm shift is from “teaching” to “communicating,” inspired by BVP’s talk and writings about communication. By the way, I’ve seen Savignon define “communication” just like BVP, which makes me wonder who came up with the definition originally.
    So, can “communicating” happen in a classroom?
    When are our TPRS skills and strategies employed to teach something, rather than communicate something?
    Circling falls heavily on the side of “teaching.” I mean, you’re asking a question with only one right answer and we all already know the answer.
    Asking questions to check comprehension = communication.
    Does the power difference, the roles, between teacher and student make communication hard?

    1. How about putting more of the COMMUNICATIVE BURDEN on the kids?
      E.g. How many of us AUTOMATICALLY re-read the listening quiz items twice? Why not let the kids tell us when they need us to repeat?
      If we view communication as an INFORMATION EXCHANGE, then the focus is on the content of the information. Like a content-based class. Our content is what happens in the story. So, quiz students on that content.
      I was thinking today when I was teaching the LANGUAGE in the Marc Anthony song that it’d be nice to teach the INFORMATION about Marc Anthony (biography). And then I hold kids accountable for the biographical information, rather than teach and grade language (that will be incidental).

      1. Makes me rethink how I do in-class reading. Rather than the teacher deciding when to translate, how about doing it only in response to an actual need? A student request. So just read the story and the kids are responsible for what happened in the story. And they’ll learn the communicative skills due to an authentic need to make their interlocutor comprehensible.

        1. I like this. A lot. So I put a reading up for “discussion.” Read / ask questions / parallel questions, etc. As k more why / what do you think, etc… (scaffolded to the appropriate level) and it is up to the kid in that moment to ask for clarification. “What does ____mean” / I don’t understand _____ / or signal. Then the quiz will be on content and maybe some opinion, expansion, etc. and if nobody asked or signaled during the discussion, then that is because they all understand everything. Which I verify in the process anyway, in the flow of the discussion. ???
          I am going to shift toward this. Probably in different ways depending on the group, but yes. The communicative burden on the student. We are communicating in real time, so each party is responsible for understanding, making oneself understood, and any negotiating required to achieve this back and forth interaction. Hmm.
          I’m eager to hear, ERic, specific shifts to your classroom protocols / activities. Thanks!
          AND…not sure where to post this, but if anyone listens live to Tea with BVP, call in!!! Last week we got to hear Lance! Yay! And ERic the week before. Many of us are in class or meetings, so can’t do it, but if you are able, do call in! Just a plug for live interaction! 😀

          1. Mike DID say he was slightly embarrassed to admit it. BTW, McDonalds is ditching margarine and switching to butter. Better buy up those dairy farmer stocks now!

          2. Lance is a fan favorite on the show and the Hermanator destroyed the SLA quiz. He was giving answers before BVP gave the choices.
            I love that this forum represents Input-based instruction. I would love to see the otherside challenge VP though…just for entettainmemt value.
            BTW Krashen will be on for the full hour next Saturday!!!

          3. I am super jealous that I don’t get to call in. I wanna be fan # 1 c ! That show puts me in the best mood! House party music + sexy SLA w/ “the Diva” + all of y’all = 🙂 🙂 🙂

          4. Jen this was a good idea! I told my kids that they needed to stop me if they did not understand the Spanish/French in the story. We clapped each time a kid stopped me. I looked around constantly as I was reading aloud, scanning their expressions/eyes. I liked it because it let them feel how much they have acquired and it made the reading much smoother, just read and ask a few questions and go on. I liked it and I feel like it was really good to stay more in the language and not keep using English. This reading was almost 100% comprehensible to them…so it was also a good assessment tool for me to kind of take the pulse of the class. Thanks for the idea!!

      2. “Like a content-based class. Our content is what happens in the story. So, quiz students on that content.”
        This makes me happy. Content-based English Curriculum teachers everywhere should read your comment.
        I believe when you assess (and instruct) the language via the content you experience the language in (ie. the story), you assess the fullest range of students’ abilities to both comprehend language and respond to language, whether non-verbal responses or using productive language. Assessment of content from a story is much more authentic (more so than simply using rote memory like a matching English/French worksheet).
        Bonus, the assessment can be didactic on it’s own; like you say, students “learn the communicative skills.”

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