iFLT 2013 San Diego Videos

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21 thoughts on “iFLT 2013 San Diego Videos”

    1. lol Ben is teaching a class full of well behaved girls. It’s like driving one’s family to church in a Bugatti. Get some popcorn.

      (sarcastic jk, of course–in case that doesn’t come through the screen 🙂 Sorry I’m at a curriculum writing thing today and getting bored.)

      1. Yeah but James they were all so ready to memorize and I am not the person to teach 7th graders. Too young and literal for me. I found 8th graders the best age of all for this work with CI, including all levels of high school. The ones I really respect are the Catharina Greenbergs of this work, who work with the really young ones. There is a reason there are so few elementary CI teachers – it’s the hardest work of all with comprehensible input. But yea, with those little kids it took like a few days to even get the ice broken. And I had like seven or eight of them – what can we do with that?

        1. It hasn’t come easily to the Catharina Greenbergs.

          Teaching FL to little kids has some advantages though. Zero accountability. Happy kids=Happy parents=Happy administration=I keep my job. No formal assessments, no grades, no parents’ phone calls, no homework, minimal prep. No textbook, no curriculum, no nagging colleagues. It’s still black and white, a little praise buys a lot of goodwill.We can practice circling, try, fail, try again, throw those pingpong balls one at a time, learn how to go slow and simplify. No projects, no reading or writing! There is usually some kind of “happening” that needs immediate attention. Often the stories unfold naturally. And what is cuter than a bunch of 4 year olds responding in French as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Now of course we don’t make the big bucks.

          I haven’t always been this positive, but the more I learn about TCI the more I believe FL instruction should start day one. I think Leslie Davison’s keynote speech at ACTFL was just that: How to reach our littlest ones from day one. I wish I’d been there to listen to Leslie. The absolute authority in lower school TCI.

          Little kids are not sponges. Quite the opposite. They need extra time, extra reps, extra love and care. Yet 150 hours of elementary TCI is not negligeable. C’est toujours ça de gagné.

          1. “Happy kids=Happy parents=Happy administration=I keep my job. No formal assessments, no grades, no parents’ phone calls, no homework, minimal prep. No textbook, no curriculum, no nagging colleagues.”

            I have found that I can get away with the same thing at the high school level, except maybe the nagging colleagues part.

    2. I’ve seen the first 15 minutes of Day 1 with Leslie Davison. . .
      I know it’s unfair to offer any critiques of someone putting herself out there like that and teaching in this artificial setting, but there were some red flags. . .

      – did not shelter vocabulary
      – 100% target language (it was immersion, not TCI) – did not establish meaning with translation
      – spoke too fast
      – low energy (where’s the play?) – the teacher tries to make up for the lack of student energy
      – I can’t imagine my kids being this quiet and well-behaved. Ever.

  1. Thank you, Diana!

    I’m on an exam prep day and sympathize, James. I have no classes, just time to write four levels of semester exams. I got the writing sections done… um, the shortest part. Next is reading, 75% of what’s on there. Thankfully I have more than just today to complete these.

  2. Diana it took me ten minutes to write an exam. And it wasn’t really an exam, it was just a chance for more CI because I wasn’t going to lose all those minutes to finding out what they know, since what they knew was hiding in their unconscious minds anyway.

    We had the exams discussion awhile back. Just click on the Exams category on the right of this page if you are interested in that discussion.

    1. Yep, I know it. Essentially I’m only writing one reading for each exam, built from what they’ve already read, so it is aimed to be more reading CI plus a little writing. I’m also going to have them draw the meaning of a short reading – like 3 sentences long or so – which will make it more fun to grade!

      I’m just lower motivation than usual today. I take a lot of breaks to get tea and walk around!

      1. Diane the idea of the kids drawing a reading is brilliant. You can grade it in a very short amount of time. Does it get gnarly when they say they can’t draw? (Or when they say they can but can’t, which is even worse.)

        1. They know it’s fun if they don’t draw well. If they’re worried I won’t even know what they drew, though, it’s ok with me if they add a few labels in English, but I’ve never needed that.

          This is actually the mildest work on an exam I’ve ever done, so I’m getting better, Ben. This one is much more holistic about the language skills and there are buffers built in for forgetting characters on the whole thing. Chinese 1 & 2 will have an audio file of the reading portions read aloud.

  3. OK I’m not going to get in y’all’s face on this exam thing. But I have to say that when I was a young teacher I remember burning myself up with work when I should have been toning things down for vacation. That was crazy and I will never do it again. Just sayin’. Why? Because NOBODY CARES.

    1. To assess reading, I’d just pick something for them to read – 1-2 pages of a TPRS reader or a reading from LICT that you haven’t done. They get 10 minutes to read it. Collect it. Then, tell them to summarize the story in L1 or fill out some kind of graphic organizer. They’d get points for accurate story elements (e.g. characters, setting, problem, beginning, middle, end).

      To assess listening do the same thing, just read them the story.

      To assess writing or speaking, do the same thing, only now they summarize in L2. Base grades on the number of comprehensible utterances.


      I pre-tested kids this way. It was fast, about 15-20 minutes needed per skill. The readings I chose were translations I did from an English graded reader series. Texts were unbiased (not from TPRS materials). I look forward to see how they do at the mid-year and at the end of the year.

      1. Yeah, see, Chinese doesn’t have all those nice resources. I also cannot show any of these levels any unknown characters on their exam — it’s cruel! There is no way to sound out a word, and there are no obvious cognates in writing (and not many spoken either). They have to have only words and structure they know. These are all beginners. At my level, sure, show me stuff with new characters in it. But my students aren’t ready for that on a test situation especially.

        So I write the readings, or more accurately, write parallel and recombined versions of what we’ve already read. We do use readers but there aren’t that many — and those there are require pre-teaching because I won’t show them reading unless they’ve already had massive reps aurally. Other than these caveats, great ideas!

  4. wow – I *LOVE* Joe Dziedzic!!! He is just SO awesome! Before I ever saw him or knew who he was, I used his research (from iJFLT) for my Masters Research. A month later I met him at Breckenridge – got to see him teach at iFLT (I *highly* recommend attending iFLT btw!!! These language labs-style is awesome! …… as you can see from these videos!!!) So, seeing him actually teach at Breckinridge really made an impression on me.
    People say that TPRS just isn’t for them. they say, “I can’t jump all around and get the kids excited and makeup stories and keep talking in the language and make up stories about purple elephants, etc. etc.” Well, just watching these videos – especially Joe (for me)- it proves that you can just be “chill” and just TALK with the kids and be yourself, and they will like it! But, also what I want to get across is that Joe’s teaching style really resonates with me – so does Bryce Hedstrom’s.
    So, keep watching videos of teachers teaching with TCI and you will find one that resonates with YOU….keep watching that teacher — it will build your confidence as well as your repertoire (cause you’ll be *stealing* parts of theirs) and you will find an inner peace and calm.
    Diana Noonan — thanks so much for sharing these!

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