Helena Curtain

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39 thoughts on “Helena Curtain”

  1. I’ve been watching this.

    A lot of what she is saying would fit with what we do. Context. Intrinsically engaging. Putting grammar instruction more in the foreground, not forefront. Has to interest the teacher to be worth teaching the kids. Lots of input. . . She seems to me like this antiquated teacher trying to stay relevant. You can google the FLENJ 2012 PPT she gave where she talks about thematic planning, UbD, and group work. She makes FL Ed fit into current education best practices. I wonder if she’s ever seen a good TPRS lesson. She would see so many of the principles she is recommending and she’ll see them better applied than in her traditional applications.

    Check out her storytelling demo around 51:45. Tons of INcomprehensible input and she has the students repeating back to her German in the first few seconds. When students repeat, doesn’t mean they’ve understood what they’re repeating.

    And her insistence on using English as a last resort. . . what do we naturally do when figuring out meaning of a new word from a picture or a gesture: We think: “Ohhh, a ‘mesa’ is a table.” In other words, even if we are given the concept and not given the L1, we still think of the L1 meaning.

    1. …what do we naturally do when figuring out meaning of a new word from a picture or a gesture: We think: “Ohhh, a ‘mesa’ is a table.”

      Carol Gaab made this same point last weekend at a workshop, Blaine Ray made the same point when I was talking with him two weeks ago, and it is something I´m embarrassed to have never quite internalized. In the back of my mind, when I was dancing around in front of my students trying to help them understand the meaning of a word without slipping into English, I was trying to help them link the new word to the action and context, like we learned new words as a child in our first language. My students, of course, were really just guessing the word in English in their heads and I just wasted five minutes of class time establishing meaning when I could have just said “This means that.”

      … Tons of INcomprehensible input and she has the students repeating back to her German in the first few seconds. When students repeat, doesn’t mean they’ve understood what they’re repeating.

      Something that surprised me a bit from Blaine Ray´s workshop is his insistence on output from the very beginning, at least from his student actors. He expected full sentence responses from them two minutes into the story, and would park on that sentence/structure until they could answer different questions about that sentence confidently without looking at the board for help. He straight up said that this is one thing he disagrees with Krashen on. The other thing that surprised me was how helpful I found it as a student actor to actually have to answer in full sentences right away. I know what Krashen says about comprehensible output, and about the “silent period”. But my comfort level with the language was way, way better when I had to answer in complete sentences than when I was in the class just saying yes, no, ooh, ahh. Not quite sure what to make of that.

      1. My students, of course, were really just guessing the word in English in their heads…

        This is one reason why L2 acquisition is somewhat different from L1, I think. We can build off the fact that they already have language in their heads to our advantage. There’s an article written about this online somewhere, called something like, “We only learn language once.” Does anyone have that link?

  2. Eric you are e x t r a o r d i n a r y . You never fail to impress.
    2 answers so far on ACTFL !!!! Doesn’t it say it all..??

    Years back – rookie “me”- dared comment on Ñandu (FL elementary listserv) and FL teach (listserv) about the lack of novelty and inspiration at a national XYZ multi$$$$$ conference. Eric, I didn’t get 2 answers. I got hatemail by the 100s. Pages up and down written by some of the biggest names in the “industry”. How I wish I’d known you by then.
    I am still traumatized by that experience.
    At -those- conferences you’ll see me wearing a tshirt “I am not t h a t Catharina.”

    You are brave, man.

  3. Matthew, you hit on exactly what I’ve said before. Blaine’s “teach for mastery,” by forcing correct output is not Krashen. He does output practice from day 1 on the structure until actors respond in first person. I wrote somewhere before that this is not the best use of time. I didn’t realize he actually admits that it’s not aligned with Krashen. Blaine also insists that he is “teaching structure” and not just words. But Natural Order research, not just that of Krashen, has a lot to say about how structure can’t be “taught.” I wonder, Matt, if you preferred a fuller response in L2 because it made you feel competent, made you feel more like an L2 user ?? Since I didn’t require correct first person output and now that my students have had at least 1 year of CI, it’s much easier for them to start using first person. I could have wasted a lot of time on it in the beginning.

    Thanks, Catharina! Your story is incredible! I would love to share with the public this stuff that happens to us when we dare not to conform. I’m daring ACTFL to respond to me 😉

    Check out the response I got to my personal email from a teacher today: “I don’t think ACTFL will ever publicly go against a textbook unfortunately because they, like education in general, are getting so much sponsorship money from them.” . . . I suspected this was true. Capitalism at its best.

    Watch Helena’s longer demo at 1:15:37. A flood of incomprehensible input. She starts with some shitty TPR, then a boring mix of animal props and colors. Nothing personalized. If I taught like that every day the kids would throw that shit right back at me. Literally. haha. It’s watching this that reminds me how much better our method is. I challenge any Curtain-style teacher to get better results than a TPRS classroom. Man, are we ahead of the curve!!!!!

  4. Eric, your rebuttal on ACTFL was brilliant.

    It seems as if you’re getting personal emails of teachers agreeing with you.
    If only they had your courage and expressed it publicly …

  5. Eric – where is this dialog of you and ACTFL that you speak of?
    to the Group: My question kinda pertains to this thread…..I’ve been thinking about this for the past two days trying to figure out who to ask…..but, it is brought up by Matt above.

    My colleague, who “doesn’t care for TPRS”, made mention of WIDA the other day (one of the oversight groups for ELL instruction). I was reading through their site and see that they encourage output “practice” from the beginning too. My thought was: well, why not? the are immersed in the TL culture anyway, they HAVE to try to use it outside of the walls of the classroom anyway! Then I realized that in my Level 1’s, I habitually (still) introduce “what is your name” “your birthday” “where are you from” and the answers for each, all written on the board, and we practice it — then I have them practice with each other after a few weeks, so they “feel” comfortable speaking the language coming out of their mouth (and so they “have” it – albeit memorized, because NL calls for ‘memorized’ texts ) – and since I only get them for 80 +/- hours a year now, I feel that it is necessary to move them on to the next teacher.
    But, apparently Blaine feels the same way?
    Here is the WIDA theoretical foundations — Eric, or someone else — what do you think? (I am trying to find common ground with my colleague, which we seem to have – but since I went to “TPRS” conventions, she sees me and things I say as totally “TPRS -from 10 years ago! – slanted”.

    http://wida.us/DownloadDocs/standards/TheoreticalFramework.pdf

    Thanks! (I hope I made sense!) Eric – looking forward to seeing you on Thursday!!

    ~~MB

  6. WOW – some dots have been connected! – but I’m confused.
    WIDA is part of the FL teaching program at Univ. of Wisconsin, where Helena Curtain is the director for K-12 FL teacher certification program.

    Someone please explain if we are not talking apples and apples with her, and Blaine; and the “oranges” is the Natural Order of input?

    I am very confused! :-/

    1. Hi mb. I read the “Theoretical Foundations that Support the Standards Framework” on the WIDA page you linked for us, and I’m having a hard time making sense of it. Seriously. I can come out of reading that gobbeldy-gook as saying, “Language helps us communicate.” Great. But how nice to see all those references to articles on language acquisition (snark).

      Here’s a quote from this WIDA doc:
      “A variety of individual and environmental factors impact second language acquisition, including age, time in the country, and educational background.”

      So, level of language acquisition depends on student’s “time in the country,” or, may I include, number of hours spent listening to the language. This we know as CI teachers. I took some classes on ESL instruction, and one take-away was the idea that students can experience a “silent period” of a couple of years when they move to a L2 country. During this “silent period” we see that students are in need of lots of input before they can give output.

      So, to the point of forcing output, from what I gather from this WIDA document is that not every student will be able to give output when you want them to. We agree with that.

      I think we do disagree with the following:
      “Recent research shows that language growth occurs more slowly at intermediate levels of proficiency than at beginning levels of proficiency (Cook, Boals, & Lundberg, 2011).”

      Rather, we say that L2 grow occurs more slowly at the beginning stages and then grows exponentially in the intermediate stages.

      1. Good reading Sean. It does grow exponentially at the intermediate stages, when comprehensible input is used. How can it not do so? Notice how they say “recent research” to support their point but don’t actually provide it.

        1. I think we might all agree about speed of growth if our terms were the same. They are most likely talking about the amount of time it takes to get from zero to Novice low as compared to getting from Novice Mid to Intermediate Low on the proficiency scale. It does take longer to grow at the higher levels, if that’s how you’re looking at it.

          We say that growth is exponential after the first two years because we’re talking about how kids can’t do output, can’t do output, and then suddenly start exploding with it. It’s exciting for everyone!

          If we had all the students, perfect situations, perfect research methods, teachers, money and time in the world, we could study how long it takes kids to get to Intermediate Mid with “true” TPRS classes. There is a lot of recent data out there that shows that most students in Spanish classes get to Novice High or Intermediate Low after four years of high school, rather than to the ACTFL ideal, Intermediate Mid. The research doesn’t discuss how they’re taught or what their levels of English are to begin with.

  7. I posted the link and comments of the ACTFL dialogue at “Report from the field – Ben Slavic.”

    http://community.actfl.org/communities/viewdiscussions/viewthread/?GroupId=439&MID=6604

    Blaine’s “practice” is about getting actors to respond correctly and parking on the structure until they can respond automatically. Blaine wants the structures to be mastered in student output. I think if we just give them more CI, then they’ll eventually find accurate output much easier. I don’t see him putting students in groups to practice or having them memorize.

    I glanced at the WIDA doc and noticed Krashen is mentioned only 1 time. Only 1 citation! The document is in favor of “multiple theories,” although Krashen does not see these theories as complementary and compatible. Plenty of people cite Swain’s Comprehensible Output hypothesis and Long’s Interaction Hypothesis. You can read Krashen rebuttals to the CO Hypothesis and the Interaction Hypothesis says nothing about what it is in the interaction that leads to acquisition. It’s easy to cite this work and just accept the researcher’s interpretation, rather than examine it critically.

    Blaine and Curtain have some stuff in common, but when it comes down to pedagogical recommendations, I think they’re very different. If we understood how the Natural Order and Developmental Sequences apply to our teaching, then we would understand that lack of grammatical accuracy does NOT mean they are NOT acquiring. And we wouldn’t try to control when grammar is acquired.

    MB, see you Thursday!

    1. With respect to all parties involved, Blaine is the practitioner who out-Krashened Krashen. Can we out-Blaine Blaine?

      Blaine says his role as a TPRS teacher is teach students to answer his questions and to make the students fast processors.

      Is the silent period something we are insist on? or is it something that we are to allow for? Does Blaine choose actors who are less in need of a silent period to help produce input? What is happening with Blaine’s student actor output? Is he really expecting output or is he simply using more capable students to answer his questions in order to create more interest, more reps, variation, and thus more compelling input?

      Link to a few Blaine quotes on Mike Peto’s blog:
      http://mrpeto.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/a-day-with-blaine-ray/

      1. Completely consonant with Krashen is the idea of allowing students to produce when they are ready. Krashen is not against output per se. He is against forced output. So Blain may indeed be choosing students he has identified as fast processors and ready to begin output for his actors. My impression is that so much of what Blaine does is simply intuitive with him that he has to create the theory a posteriori.

        I think the output debate arises in part because of a misunderstanding of the silent period and the distinction between forced output and unforced output. How long should the silent period be? As long as the student needs. Some students will be speaking within a very short time; others will take longer. (Wow, doesn’t this sound like little children? Some begin speaking early, and others begin speaking later. You only begin to worry when the child’s silent period extends beyond the range of normal; then you start looking for causes.) I can identify students in my classes who are ready to produce and others who still need more time in the silent period; I deal with each of them differently.

        We need to give students ample opportunity and encouragement to speak the target language without forcing them to do so prematurely.

          1. I don’t know anything about the science. All I know is what I saw over 37 years. All those minutes of looking at them while teaching them. My conclusion is so simple and not based in science at all, rather based in intuition: the brain does not like to be forced to think in a certain way. It likes to do what it wants to do and it is much better at bringing speech than I am. So when I saw those kids during stories make little shapes with their mouths from time to time, or actually say something, I just let it happen and went on. I never got students to a high level of output. Now I know why. I needed another five or ten years of 50 minute classes. I didn’t have them. I should have cut myself some slack. I wasn’t a bad teacher; they just needed more time, and lots of it, thousands of hours more than I had with them in my four year high school programs. That’s how I feel about speech output. Same with writing. Neither can be forced.

          2. Eric, at this point you are probably the most well-read and knowledgeable person on the PLC as far as the research about this is concerned.

            However, to answer your question …

            Short, theoretical answer:
            My understanding is that the great preponderance of evidence indicates that output is not necessary for acquisition. Input alone suffices.

            Longer, practical answer:
            I don’t live and practice in a theoretical world, nor am I interested in conducting the sort of research experiments necessary to test the whole input/output debate. My practice is informed by the research and theory but does not create artificial situations just to test theories. (The school setting is artificial enough as it is.) So, I work with the following foundational considerations:
            1. The goal of learning a language is to communicate, so any communication that occurs is positive.
            2. While output is not necessary for acquisition, that does not mean that it is superfluous or meaningless; it has value for many things, among them communication (which is the goal of acquiring a language)
            3. Since the goal of instruction is communication in the target language, we should not discourage that. Unfortunately, some people perceive the emphasis in TCI/TPRS on not forcing output as a mandate to discourage spontaneous and voluntary output.
            4. Intrusion of English, especially spoken English, beyond what is necessary for comprehension into the discourse hinders acquisition of the target language by cutting down on the amount of Comprehensible Input being received, by “derailing” the thought process and establishment of neural pathways, etc.

            So, in my classes I try not to force output but give plenty of opportunity, even compelling reason, to use the language for accomplishing real world tasks such as giving and getting information; expressing desires, likes, and dislikes; establishing relationships; telling stories. By forbidding English I try to create an environment in which use of the target language is essential for communication, not just an academic subject to be discussed (in English). If output occurs, great. If the student remains silent but indicates comprehension and even expresses opinion, great. We should neither hinder nor goad our students’ language production.

          3. …some people perceive the emphasis in TCI/TPRS on not forcing output as a mandate to discourage spontaneous and voluntary output….

            I agree. We never discourage voluntary output. We treasure it and rave about it when it happens. We just don’t try to get it to happen. I can understand how others would think that we discourage output, because we focus so much on input, but I wish they would dig a little deeper to find out what we really do and why. I consider it a form of hubris to try to force another person’s mind to behave in a certain way. It’s rude. It’s like a little man standing in front of a super computer (the deeper mind) and shouting at it that it can get it to do a better job. We can’t even control our own minds.

          4. Robert, I still got a long ways to go before I can articulate myself well on the output issue. Though, I appreciate the comment, I still look to you for clarification and your response is never short of brilliance.

            I try to read critically a researcher’s conclusions, including Krashen. Simply looking at L1 acquisition you realize it was tons of input before output started and then the output slowly progressed. But there were tons of opportunities for output, and it was all MEANING-BASED output. I know of at least 1 Processing Instruction study that found positive results of meaning-based output, though you can’t distinguish whether or not the output was everyone else’s input. Then, there’s the question of whether meaning-based output serves as auto-input.

            To be clear, too, there’s a lot of student output in my classroom. All unforced. And still small in proportion to the amount of CI I’m trying to deliver. But I can make use of the faster acquirers (and I have a few Portuguese-speakers in every class) to provide some of that CI to the rest of the class. Whether we see it as output leading to acquisition or not, in practice it looks the same.

            More than anything, I feel interaction greatly enhances the quality of the input. In order for students to interact, their first priority is to understand the meaning of what is being said to them. Thus, interaction increases focus on the message, especially when it’s communication about a compelling issue, as happens when we co-create stories. More focus on meaning means more potential acquisition.

          5. “In order for students to interact, their first priority is to understand the meaning of what is being said to them.”

            I agree, Eric, that INTERACTION is crucial. I think that’s the beauty of what jGR gives us. It has the ability to increase interaction. Show me when you get it. Show me when you don’t. Each teacher utterance ideally met with a student response. Then, from the range of responses given, the teacher has choices about which direction to continue the interaction, with whom, on what emotional plane, etc.

            Interaction certainly heightens the quality of the input.

            Thanks for saying that!

    2. Wow, wow, Eric. Your notes on the ACTFL blog are well-thought out, comprehensible, and they show you standing your ground. I hope Ben can make that a post and put it under ACTFL, because I want to re-read that and share it with a couple of members of our department somehow.

      Posts like yours make me feel happy that I’m walking among giants.

      While we’re at it, I’m going to recommend again this series of videos with Bill VanPatten (two hours total). He lays down the linguistics and the arguments against rules. We’re going to invite him to Alaska next September to help us understand how to translate his ideas to the classroom, so don’t expect answers here, just the rationale. I think, given the introduction that another researcher gave him for us, that TPRS may be about to hit his news. Judith Liskin-Gasparro, one of the writers of the first ACTFL proficiency guidelines, wrote me and him saying that Alaskan teachers were ahead of the country in their exciting methodology. TPRS had not hit the heartland where she’s from yet, and it took her over a year to register that she was stunned by what she saw from folks like Betsy Paskvan and Martina Bex at our conference. I think she’s on board now, and that can only be good.

      learninglanguages.celta.msu.edu/sla-vanpatten

      If you like what you see, you might want to watch for an ACTFL webinar from VanPatten on November 13 called “Against Rules.” He just included that announcement in his acceptance to come to Alaska next September for our conference. BTW, you could all get cheap tix to come too! I would make sure you’d be housed and have drivers!

      1. Thank you Michele for posting the link to Bill Van Patten’s videos.
        (I do prefer to learn over teaching.)

        What a team you have in Alaska!
        When I think of “slow” Linda Li comes to mind.
        But I could mention Michele Whaley just as well.

      2. Michele, thanks! By the way, I think one of the first videos I ever watched on TPRS was one of your classes on YouTube 😉

        No one was able to give me an answer to my question. There were 2 more comments from teachers about how being dynamic is more important than method. Though, they both mentioned their own use of TPR, TPRS, and/or TCI! Plus, there were all those emails I got in support of what I said. This is very encouraging to me! I can feel the change that is happening and I feel like it’s spreading wider or speeding up!

        Check out the 3 most recent threads on the ACTFL community! The Editor of The Language Educator, Sandra Cutshall, has posted 3 questions about how we teach with CI in our classrooms. I think she wants to include in the Oct/Nov issue, unless that’s already been published . . .

        EVERYONE PLEASE GO READ AND RESPOND! We should flood this with our own anecdotes of success!
        http://community.actfl.org/ACTFL/DigestViewer/?ListKey=4014d095-4c20-48e9-b1d1-0bf121261b6b

      3. Scott Grapin had also posted some of these videos earlier this year in a post titled “SLA Videos,” but I hadn’t seen the 6 video sequence. (Only 1 hr 20 minutes, btw). So, BIG thank you, Michele!

        I had to stop what I was doing today and watch them! EVERYONE should go watch those VanPatten videos! I’ve gotta share them with all the teachers in my district! It includes so much of the big time SLA findings! I wouldn’t doubt that teachers in my district will see my name on the email and delete before reading. Such is my textbook-abiding district.

        LOVE LOVE LOVE them!

        One thing I don’t understand is how come VanPatten and Krashen don’t seem to mention each other in their research. ??

        Krashen did write this to me: “Elgort and Van Patten both have students/subjects do extraordinary things to get the same results we get from comprehensible input, with less effort and more enjoyment.”

        And Krashen wrote me this a short while back: “VanPatten may have managed to change the order of acquisition… not necessarily a good thing. Maybe there is a good reason some items come earlier than others.”

        It would be interesting to me to see how many SLA researchers are aware of TPRS. You hear researchers, like VanPatten, say that SLA findings don’t trickle down to the classroom, but at the same time, shouldn’t the researchers be knowledgeable of classroom methodologies?! It didn’t seem like Paul Nation knew anything about TPRS. And I understand from what Michele is saying, that VanPatten doesn’t know much about TPRS either.

  8. @Eric – you are TRULY badass!!! please be sure to bring this up next weekend so as to shed light on the efficacy of TCI should there be any nay-sayers (there probably will be – often they come to see what it’s all about) You make such excellent points! Hopefully you have opened up a can of worms on the ACTFL list serve! I hope it also carries over to the FLTEACH listserve which has a lot of conservative traditional textbook teachers.

    We here in Maine are being subjected to the Performance Based Assessments and thematic units. I will talk to you more about it next weekend. I am so torn and confused – I need to learn how to teach with TCI in a department that is writing thematic semantically-based units.

    @Shawn – hahaha — “I can come out of reading that gobbeldy-gook as saying, “Language helps us communicate.” Great. You are SO right! (see why I was confused????) thank you for the affirmation! 😀

    1. oooops! Sorry SEAN!!!
      (I have been working with so many Gaelic “Johns” in the past week — Shawn, Shaun and Sean!!!! – no Shanes though!))
      So, sorry I spelled your name wrong! 🙁

  9. Part of the difference is the difference in the situation of the ELL student and the FL student. ELL students live in a country where the target language is the dominant language. The FL student is learning a language which is not dominant in the country of residence. Robert Harrell referred a few months to the difference between Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BIPS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency Skills (CALPS). The FL student gets BIPS in the classroom, while the ELL students get BIPS on the playground, at the store, or anywhere else they encounter dominant language speakers.
    Consequently the goals of the ELL teacher differ from those of the FL teacher. The FL teacher should to choose the foundation for proficiency by aiming at fluency. The ELL teacher is not looking for success in what the student can pick up elsewhere. The goal of the ELL teacher is success in the academic realm so that the student has the grades/knowledge/skills to get the education necessary for the college track.
    Right after Robert clarified this distinction for us, I took an ELL workshop. The point I left with was that CALPS is for ELL and BIPS is for FL. They have their challenges and consequent orientation and we have ours. That said those who strive for TCI often have more in common with ELL than with the practice of many of our legacy oriented colleagues.

  10. On the money, Nathaniel. Apples and oranges. The BICS to CALP (depending on true exposure to the TL) is a 5-7 year process under the best of circumstances. In poor communities, it’s longer–and often never happens. Hey, it doesn’t happen for most poor EOs. Those of you who teach in heavy ELL districts know these things. The other thing we know is that a student with CALP in first language acquire a second language in a much shorter time–a potent argument for good bilingual ed programs.

  11. Eric, you have really established yourself as a leader here in this group. You are so good at synthesizing stuff. You have saved me so much time and have consistently given a great perspective. Just thought I should say, “Thanks!” 🙂

  12. What’s more, Eric reads more than the rest of us put together. This makes him a triple threat with his ability to confront with facts and his knowledge of the research. We bring certain points to our discussion here, it makes him think of certain things in the research, and then it’s like somebody said, “Eric! Sic ’em boy!” And there he goes. Love it. Sorry that the image involves a dog, you know what I mean. He’s like that. Tenacious and protective of what is best for kids. We have a researcher/teacher to protect, illustrate and defend our position. I like that. Eric’s a big dog. Watch him tear away the curtains hiding the increasingly specious positions of the so-called wizards of the last century, as he brings more and more people into the 21st century, with no fear.

    1. “Watch him tear away the curtains hiding the increasingly specious positions of the so-called wizards of the last century, as he brings more and more people into the 21st century, with no fear.”

      Wow. I like that. Now, I gotta live up to it 😉

  13. I am still stuck on this statement:

    “Blaine says his role as a TPRS teacher is teach students to answer his questions and to make the students fast processors.”

    Make the students fast processors????? WHAT????

    Is there something I am missing? Isn’t processing speed something that we cannot control? I operate under that assumption. I know. I shouldn’t assume. Isn’t this the unconscious part? And isn’t “processing” kind of an umbrella term anyway? I guess I also assume that “processing” encompasses lots of things including the physical circuitry and physiology plus the emotional realm, affective filter, etc. Anyone? Bueller? Herman? :0

    1. Hey Jen,

      Good questions. You made me think through this a little more thoroughly. My experience is that the better I know a language the faster I can listen and/or read with understanding. With my students I see great gains in processing. By and large, when I get them in the fall they have had the most minimal exposure to the target language. They have had a lot of exposure to worksheets, grammar games, and explanations in the target language. They process very slowly, if not very, very slowly. But that changes over a year. They process more quickly. They understand at a faster rate. They understand bigger chunks of language.

      Do I have control over their processing? Not totally. But it is within my control to raise or lower somewhat the affective filter. We believe that by talking about the students and validating them there will be a lower affective filter.

      Slight less important, but much more in my control is adapting my input to the processing speed of the students. I can S-L-O-W. I can pause and point. I can clarify. I can teach to the eyes. These are necessary for there to be any processing. They are under my control and I must make a conscious effort to ensure that I am doing my 50%. Maybe once I get good at this it will be as unconscious as riding a bike.

      What is processing speed? It is the rate at which student understanding takes place. It is dependent on the amount of time necessary for the the kathunk to occur. Is understanding conscious or unconscious? I would say that meaning is something we consciously seek out. Meaning is what we are aware of. And as long as we focus on meaning language will be acquired without being aware of it. By consciously making language comprehensible at the processing speed of the listeners, they unconsciously become faster processors.

      With increased meaningful exposure to the language, there is an increase in the flow of language. When language is flowing we have, by definition, fluency. Fluency requires faster, more automatic processing. It demands less pause time in listening and results in less sputter time in speaking.

      How do we do increase processing speed? How does Blaine do this? Not by increasing the speed of input, but by increasing the degree of comprehensibility. Adapting to the students’ processing speed gives them the comprehensible input necessary for increased processing. It is totally counter-intuitive and, hence, must be consciously executed.

      Hope this is helpful. See you at the Green Ladle in a few days.

      1. I think that the difference is between the long term goal and the daily objective.

        Today I scaffold a lot with the hope that in June they will need less scaffolding.
        Today I S-L-O-W so that in June they will need slightly less SLOW.
        Today I pause/point phrase that they will readily understand in June.
        Today I clarify what will be part of there repertoire in June.

        My daily objective is that they understand what I say. My goal is that they freely output in June.

        What if my goal is not materializing in May. I will come back to the blog where Patrick or someone else will remind me that my daily objective is to stand and declare comprehensible messages.

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Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben