Krashen Let The Cat Out Of The Bag

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28 thoughts on “Krashen Let The Cat Out Of The Bag”

  1. The rhetoric of the TPRS wars, I would assume, must be remarkably similar to the rhetoric that must have accompanied Galileo’s championing of Copernicanism and the notion that the Earth is not the center of the universe.
    It’s interesting, Ben, that you chose this analogy. Copernicus published his work De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543, shortly before his death. He presented the same heliocentric view that Galileo championed in the early 1600s. So why wasn’t Copernicus’ work attacked the same way that Galileo’s was? While there are many factors involved, one of the key factors is that Copernicus presented his work as one more way to look at the universe whereas Galileo championed the position as the way the universe actually works. The “powers that be” were willing to accept a heliocentric theory as one more way to view the universe (sort of like “there are many accepted methods for teaching foreign language, and CI is just another of them”); they were not willing to accept the idea that this was genuinely the way that the universe functions (sort of like “CI is the only/overwhelmingly best way to make actual gains toward fluency”) despite increasing empirical evidence. The first position did not threaten the status quo, the second one did.

    Krashen threatens the status quo and so must be resisted (goes the largely subconscious/unconscious thinking – but I think the reasoning isn’t even that coherent).

    Krashen let the cat out of the bag. Now it is up to us to tame the cat.
    Or ride the tiger.

  2. Bryce Hedstrom

    You go, cowboy! And Robert, your phrase “Copernicus presented his work as one more way to look at the universe whereas Galileo championed the position as the way the universe actually works” nails it for me. Acquisition comes with CI. This is how it works, not just one more way it works. Ben’s analogy and this further definition helps to sharpen my thinking on the language battles in which I engage daily with flat earth colleagues.

  3. That is what Mimi Met said to me and I didn’t buy it – she said that TPRS was just another tool in the toolbox. It’s not. Anything in the toolbox that allows output too early, before the neurology is there, and that allows English to be used as a means of instruction in the target language, is not even a rusty tool but one that shouldn’t be in the box. So there is only one tool in my toolbox and it is a great big hammer made by SK Tool Co., a subsidiary of Krashen Manufacturing.

  4. Robert said:

    …Copernicus presented his work as one more way to look at the universe whereas Galileo championed the position as the way the universe actually works….

    I haven’t yet acknowleded the accuracy in how this point applies to us, Robert, and now, some months later, wish to do so. However, it remains a big challenge for me to take the Copernican high road in representing our ideas about comprehensible input with colleagues. I want to, but I can’t get the Galileo dog in me to shut up.

    1. Before I ever read this analogy, I’d drawn the same parallel myself between Krashen and Copernicus! . . . How about bracelets that read “What would Krashen say?” 🙂

      The non-CI ways of teaching do in fact lead to fluency by a few advantaged students.
      Fluency = acquisition + learning.
      For the average person the percentage contribution of acquisition is probably 95% and learning probably 5%. Traditional programs practice the 5% and with practice can increase that contribution, especially for the few good monitor-users.

      So, while it is possible for a small fraction of students to play the “learning” game and appear fluent, that fluency is not based on acquisition, what you probably mean, Ben, by saying it was not “real gains to actual fluency.”

  5. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Eric is helping me see that though WE embrace Krashen, the research is perceived as inconclusive?, and defenders of other ‘toolbox’ methods can whip out that research to bolster their position. (They don’t seem to align with ANY research from the get-go – but once challenged, they either call us intimidating/divisive, or grasp for and cling to other positions…)
    I want to understand & speak knowledgeably about competing SLA research POVs. [I’d love a lil table of top SLA researchers and their position on SLA.] How is Krashen/VP’s position different from the SLA researcher darlings listed (Wikipedia) here? BTW, I know this is not an exhaustive list. (i.e., Long isn’t even on it):
    H. Douglas Brown
    John Bissell Carroll
    Pit Corder
    Nick Ellis
    Rod Ellis
    Fred Genesee
    François Grosjean
    Judith F. Kroll
    Teresa Pica
    Paul Pimsleur
    Richard Schmidt
    Larry Selinker
    Merrill Swain
    Elaine Tarone
    Jyotsna Vaid
    Lydia White

    What are they teaching new teacher candidates in universities about SLA Theory? Does anyone have knowledge of teacher-formation programs? Is T/CI wending its way into college language courses and colleges of education?

    1. Michael Coxon

      The problem with research nowadays is that people claim that research suggests a thousand different things. None of my colleagues or admin seem to care too much about research unless it is slinging something they are advocating. Research can be disproved or discredited but most of the time people don’t read it or care or don’t understand it.

      What do we do???

      The only thing that is better than research in my opinion are RESULTS!

      How can we put others in contact with the opinions of our students and the RESULTS of Teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling/teaching with a boat load of comprehensible input?

      1. We have been talking about listing, identifying, publishing those results for decades. They do exist. But when they get mixed up in the current non-CI testing environment, said testing overrides and skews our own results so that they look, oddly, equal or even lower in some schools, to the results traditional teachers get.

        We have talked about this for years here. I always say that it is because we can’t measure what has been planted in the unconscious mind. The seeds, the millions of seeds that we plant via CI, are there in the ground but haven’t sprouted yet. There are NO seeds in the deeper minds of traditionally taught kids, but the memorized stuff gets tested and no one questions the lack of seeds. And since our kids don’t memorize, the come up lacking.

        Our work bears fruit over time but the data collectors want the results now.

        It just sucks. We should never give up, though.

        1. But but but !!!

          TCI is the approach that allows for immediate gratification. It is our kids who can immediately understand and produce more with the whole language than other kids. If the day comes that this is no longer so, then I’ll be changing approaches. One of my favorite all-time articles by Krashen discusses this and I know I’ve shared this before (worth re-reading!):

          “Most language tests are based on the skill-building hypothesis; they test grammar, vocabulary, spelling, etc. It seems obvious to many people that the best way to study for these tests is to study grammar, vocabulary, spelling, etc. The research, however, tells us differently: Students in classes with more comprehensible input do better on such tests than those in traditional classes.”

          This has not been completely my experience, since the students of a teacher who is super heavy on grammar did significantly better than my kids this year on the hyper-traditional 8th grade placement exam. I could care less about results on such a trivial test. It comes down to a fair and reasonable test. If we were to measure fluency of more holistic language use, then our kids should rock the house.

      2. Ok. Here goes . . .

        SLA needs more, better designed/controlled studies, particularly of implicit instruction (focus on meaning) and better ways of assessment. The problem is that we observe language behavior, but can’t definitively know what the brain is doing. It is debated in psychology and SLA whether there are 2 separate systems (implicit & explicit). There is also not a consensus of when something is “acquired” or not (where do you set the cut-off of accuracy to conclude it’s acquired and under what conditions?) Even in implicit instruction (like TPRS), we can create conditions that increase a students’ need to pay attention to meaning, but we don’t really know what is going on in their head (paying attention to meaning and/or form?).

        SLA is a young field – 40 years old or so. There’s tons of different theories – different interpretations of the same data. Input is important to everyone, but it’s attributed different roles and effects. Those researchers recognized more as the originators of a theory or construct (Krashen – CI, VP – input processing, Long – focus on form, DeKeyser – skill-building, Pienneman – teachability/processability, Swain – CO, Schmidt – noticing/consciousness) look for ways to explain the results in accordance with their ideas. I’ve recently found it nice to read from some researchers who aren’t credited with theories, because they may provide a more balanced report, include all the varying explanations, and don’t make strong conclusions about what is clearly insufficient evidence.

        Each theory is based on the data, but also involves reasoning. Much of Krashen’s theory just makes logical sense, but it still should be tested. SLA has devoted way more time to trying to show that form-focus causes acquisition than meaning-focus. I bet this parallels the problem in the FL teaching field that form-focus is seen as more academic and scholarly. Krashen is still able to say today (30+ years later) that all the research is consistent with his theory, mainly because of the lack of research that tests his theories, i.e. most use measures that favor explicit learning conditions – not spontaneous, free oral communication (monitor-free). Whereas Krashen views explicit knowledge as separate from acquired knowledge, skill acquisition theorists interpret gains on monitored tests as a step towards automatized knowledge. Krashen will also discredit studies that don’t delay tests by 3 months after treatment. That’s not typically how research gets conducted, largely because so much can happen in those 3 months to confound the results. Under those 2 criteria (monitor-free & 3 month delayed tests) you could throw out every study VP and his colleagues have ever done on processing instruction. In fact, under those 2 criteria, I bet you can throw out 90%+ of all studies.

        Classroom comparative studies are NOT controlled studies – so many things are different about teaching approaches, teachers, and students, that it’s hard to say what the key factors were in producing the results. In the studies of implicit instruction (TPR, MT, TPRS, FVR, immersion), there is more CI, which is why Krashen says that the studies are consistent with his theories, but CI is far from the only difference between these treatment groups and the comparison groups.

        Classroom comparative studies are valuable in showing what can be achieved with an approach, but not so much in explaining the “why.” In the end, we’re teachers and the “why” isn’t as important, except that if we were able to identify the main factors, we could make sure we maximized their inclusion. Similarly, we can’t explain the “why” of the comparison group, e.g. does traditional instruction show inferior results because of less CI or because it was a bad exemplar of skill-building instruction?

        But then the problem of more controlled studies in which a few structures are targeted for treatment is that this gives away to the subjects the “name of the game,” i.e. the treatment sensitizes them to try to figure out the rule and to try to monitor their responses. And then you have to carefully pick your subjects so that they don’t have prior experience with the targets and evaluate their developmental level to see if they are ready to acquire the targets. And then, you need assessments of what has been “acquired.” Krashen wants tests that essentially require a person to use the targets fluently, but that can NOT be expected of any study only providing subjects with a few hours of instruction. Here’s where I think the Elicited Oral Imitation Test should be used. R. Ellis was supporting this implicit measurement tool in 2009, but I don’t know what came of it.

        Then there is the issue of whether or not fluent (speed) of accurate language use can be developed with CI alone. Obviously in the real world and in classrooms, people get CI and also tons of opportunities to output so it is impossible to do a long-term study of this.
        1) Krashen says that CI alone would develop fluent and accurate output.
        2) VP suggests that input is the only way we can “acquire” but that output practice is necessary to make fluent and accurate use of what has been acquired.
        3) Skill-building proposes something similar – that input (and output) can develop our (explicit) knowledge of form-meaning connections, which are the basis of acquisition, but that only through task-specific practice (comprehension practice for comprehension, production practice for production) can we make those tasks fluent.

        I think I understand the criticism that Krashen’s theory is not falsifiable. By just looking at language performance we can’t show that a student is performing based on implicit acquired knowledge or explicit automatized knowledge. Functionally, they are the same thing. Even a monitor-free (fluency) test won’t distinguish these 2 types of knowledge. And you can’t argue that learners in the treatment were solely focused on meaning and not some combination of meaning and form – you can teach in such a way that encourages this, but still not totally control what a learner decides to pay attention to and process. And just because you do not teach the rules explicitly doesn’t mean the learners aren’t inducing their own version of the rules. Maybe neuroscience will eventually give us some evidence. What we can do now is develop better assessments and then compare efficiency gains of TCI to other approaches.

        I am also searching for the common ground between all theoretical frameworks. For instance, I’ve never seen any researcher advocate a “synthetic approach” – teach piece by piece and have to put it together. Even DeKeyser decries a “structure of the day” syllabus! (Note: skill-building is not behaviorism). And DeKeyser criticizes the traditional curriculum as trying to cover too much without the recycling, such that under his framework the knowledge gets proceduralized, but not automatized and if time isn’t spent automatizing the language, then you never get fluent communication and the learning fades. So, the mainstream approach – grammatical syllabus with expectations of high accuracy from the beginning – has no support that I’ve seen from ANYONE.

        I think we ALL need to be aware of the limitations of the studies. We need to be aware that we are all lacking empirical evidence and thus all rely to an extent on theoretical reasoning. And we should acknowledge that there are numerous and conflicting SLA theories. Hence we are not the only SLA-aligned teaching approach. There are researchers that do in fact support what appear to be eclectic approaches (e.g. Paul Nation). No, we cannot ever “prove” anything, but we need to do a lot more “supporting.” Although, it seems reasonable to me that different ways of teaching would reap different results. In that respect, we also need more controlled investigation into the results of TPRS. Specifically, results that represent spontaneous, unrehearsed, time-pressured, meaning-focused language comprehension and production on unfamiliar tasks and across genres.

        And to answer Alisa’s question, I would bet that meaning-based instruction that includes focus on form (not formS) is what is taught in FL teacher training programs (e.g. TBLT), that is, IF they include any SLA. And actually, TPRS falls within this category!!! But one huge problem is that being taught the SLA information is far from sufficient to put it into practice. Teachers need more extended experiences of the various approaches in order to not revert to how they were taught. And even so, there are institutional pressures to teach with a synthetic approach.

        We must also keep in mind that what works for acquisition in ideal situations may not be what works in a classroom. I imagine intrinsic motivation making a difference here. This is where the path of pleasure is the only way of the classroom. By the way, the counterargument to “the path of pleasure” is that competency at other things (chess, driving a car, playing bball, etc.) require tons of “practice” to master, practice which people accept even if it’s not always pleasurable.

        It would be interesting for Krashen, VanPatten, Long, and DeKeyser to each train teachers to teach in accordance with their perspective and conduct a longitudinal study that assesses fluency of global competence and does so with different L2’s. (When 2 languages share a grammar, then when a person falls back on his L1 for lack of L2, then it can still come out right and mislead us as to a person’s actual state of acquisition). FL teachers should agree with DeKeyser that “the real goal is fast, accurate, spontaneous, effortless use of knowledge.” So which approaches get us to that goal most efficiently? That sounds to me like the question most relevant to teachers.

  6. Eric,
    Mil gracias. I can’t believe you whipped up a PhDs summary of the research!
    Incredibly clear, dense (in a good way) thought provoking, logical, helpful. I will need to chew on it this summer and beyond. I so appreciate your global knowledge and ability to explain it! This helps me understand the umbrage that legacy teachers may (choose to?) take – but in the end, if we surveyed ’em all (‘Why do you use the methods/strategies that you do?’), they’d prolly have to credit inertia- teach as they were taught + textbook+ department- institutional constraints….
    I have gotten so much positive feedback in the past 2 yrs – more than during the 20 yrs prior added up- from students, parents, principal, admin, (fellow Ts- ‘my kids use Spanish all the time!!’) What accounts for this change/wave of positivity? Pleasure, a feeling of success and a sense of accomplishment at the task- understanding and creating messages in L2.
    I keep thinking back to Gregg Duncan’s ACTFL presentation in Philly – including stats on WL class attrition- students were asked why they stopped taking WL class. ‘Because it’s not fricking getting me anywhere! That’s why!’ No efficacy.
    Perhaps the SLA research is too hard to parse- some Ts are confused, disinterested, passive, unempowered- whatever. Perhaps our energy is better spent on the ‘feel good’ campaign- filming /sharing our classes, looking at free writes (like Cris’ ‘show me’ project), showing (misguided but positive) oral proficiency results (like our SOPA)…and yes, challenging the old guard.
    Also, what would researchers say if they spent serious time in our t/ci classes? I guess they’d be faced w the same chicken/egg conundrum (learning/acquisition), but they could at least compare the microfluency we get with the temporary linguistics my son is getting!

    Last thought for now- what ever happened to Krashen’s (?) notion that SLA shadows first language acquisition? Can’t we say that babies n toddlers employ no focus on form or meta cognitive processes at all? Wouldn’t that strengthen our position?

    Yer freaking awesome.

    1. I think the mainstream content (cover the grammatical and topical syllabus) and the approach (not enough meaning-based, not enough input) is not credible under any SLA theory. It’s a bad example of skill-building. When we compare TPRS to traditional instruction, the instructional content is totally different.

      Yes, anyone can cherry pick the SLA research to find something to support what they do.

      Our language development goal is: fast, accurate, spontaneous, effortless use of knowledge in unrehearsed and unfamiliar contexts (Note: problem of transferability to new contexts is likely a problem for beginners). In order to assess beginners we probably need less stringent conditions.

      The “feel good” campaign is where it’s at! And we should show what KIND of results to expect from our classes. Student retention, enjoyment, and confidence. We should report on fluency tasks and evaluate them according to fluency (e.g. # of words in comprehensible clauses), accuracy (#of words in correct clauses, and complexity (length of sentences). The problem we run into is that evaluating student work in ways that SLA researchers would is time-consuming!

      We need to get SLA researchers from various perspectives to observe TPRS classrooms. I think they’ll all find a lot they like. This is what Reed and I were discussing back in December, i.e. the need to label what we do in TPRS in terms of current SLA terminology so as to speak their language (e.g. the acquisition/learning terms were never adopted by SLA researchers as meant by Krashen – it’s better to call it explicit/implicit instruction or explicit/implicit learning or explicit/implicit knowledge – I think calling what we do “acquisition” may incite non-CI teachers). We are a form of “trendy” instructional SLA, like TBLT, because we focus on meaning and integrate some focus on form, while also including fluency development activities!

      To the degree that you think SLA is like 1st LA determines your perspective and as VP says, this question is “at the heart of SLA.” It is highly disputed. The idea of a Critical Period after which one cannot acquire a SL has been rejected. What we observe are 2 things:
      1) There is wide disparity in ultimate attainment of an L2 and non-native like proficiency is more the norm.
      2) Attainment seems to decrease with age.

      There’s lots of explanations available (e.g. the environment for kids and adults is very different and expectations are very different). VP argues that the external factors are different, but the internal processors are the same. It’s also possible, he notes, that the mechanisms for acquisition don’t work as well for older learners.

      Some argue (e.g. connectionists like N. Ellis and the competition model of MacWhinney) that there is no Universal Grammar or LAD, but they still theorize acquisition is input-dependent.

      One thing I believe is for sure: if the goal is to reach intermediate proficiency, then TPRS/TCI is the most effective and efficient means we have so far for getting MORE students there.

      1. Michael Coxon

        Eric, I recently uploaded these videos of my students using TL. My hope is that these results lead others to question the results in their own traditional classrooms. No other students in our entire HS program are equipped to use language like these level 1 students can.

        The beginning of the year I set the goal of providing tons of comprehensible immersion so that I can get students to effortlessly retell me stories that they feel comfortable with. Aside from TPRS student participation this is the only speaking assignment I assign to students. These videos are from this past week, at the end of the year and I think it is in spirit of “a flood of input for a trickle of output.”

        It is har for traditionalists to argue that this langauge is not internalized. These videos are not examples of rote memorization.

        What proficiency level do any of you think students have obtained?

        I would love to see retells like this in French, Latin, German, Gaelic, Chinese etc. When level 1 students do this others have to wonder how they got there….

        1. Matthew DuBroy

          That is awesome Michael. I entirely agree that seeing level 1 students do something like this would be mind-blowing to traditional teachers. This would be especially the case in Latin. How do you get students to come in on their own free time to do these? Do you ever have students do this kind of thing during class?

          1. Michael Coxon

            Hey Matthew…If we saw Latin kids doing this the FL teaching world would have to take notice. Students would be speaking more Latin than half of the Latin teachers in the world. I admire what all the Latin TPRSers are doing with the Latin speaking movement.

            This was an speaking assignment assigned to all of my 170ish students. I have been recording their results for years now. What I am thinking of doing next year is giving”extra” credit for early TL producers since some can do this much earlier than day 174.

            The rest of the students were in class working on a final exam study guides, final exam online practice, and screwing around 🙂 while students came out to the hall for this. I like that we are doing this mostly one-on-one and not in front of others…

          2. …I admire what all the Latin TPRSers are doing with the Latin speaking movement….

            I also admire those Latin Kings. I think that they know something that we don’t know about the nature and history (hello!) of Latin. Otherwise, why, all of a sudden after two millennia, would so many of them on their own site of Latin Best Practices (started by our own John Piazza and Bob Patrick) be talking about CI and Latin?

            Something that really caught my eye this morning was something Lance wrote about the difference between translating and reading Latin, as per this article:


            It’s like Rip Van Winkle. I don’t know. There is something very curious and striking about a group of teachers waking up a language all at the same time after so many centuries. It is something very compelling, like a great adventure being started. It’s hard to put into words. Like, did the culture ever die? How could it have, if its language is clearly not dead.

        2. I’m collecting a list of stuff I’d like to video in classes next year. I will probably be sending home a release form so I can sometimes have a few kids in view. Retells of their choice of story sounds great.

          For their proficiency level, I think this is this kind of situation that Terry Waltz thinks of as showing that CI creates a different pattern of developing ability. They spoke in paragraphs with appropriate tenses and transitions, right? I couldn’t understand much. Such length of speaking seems like Intermediate Mid or High skill to me.

          1. Michael Coxon

            Eric and Diane,

            I appreciate the feedback. This is just a sample of what students did. I assign this as a component of the textbook test I am forced to give. They will do fine on it…it is easy stuff for them but I really value this kind of work.

            You can tell in the video I am trying to give a sample of my student population. Equal numbers of boys and girls along with ethnic and personality diversity. Popular, shy, outgoing, black, white, hispanic…whatever can learn to use a new language. To only show the TOP students wouldn’t be fair. And truth be told, I am suspicious of any students at this level that don’t make mistakes. I love seeing the errors that they make in both speaking and writing. I am not use WHY exactly but it tells me more about the learning that took place. These students are all Freshman and I love that they can do more in a year than traditionally taught students can do in 2 or 3.

            Diane if you have students doing this in Chinese…I think it would shake the Chinese teaching community. Not to be offensive but a westerner teaching Chinese and getting students to demonstrate communicative competence in it? That isn’t expected.

            When teachers see it in Spanish they will discredit it because they will say Spanish is spoken in many parts of the US or that these must be gifted or highly motivated students. Truth be told these are good kids but they have problems too. The student in the first video with the hat on…he punched a hole through the wall in my classroom this year. He has issues but Loving CI got inside him and as a result… he is a star.

            I hope sharing this stuff starts a trend of teachers asking questions about how to develop what Ben calls “KICK ASS teaching strategies.”

        3. This is impressive, Michael. Thank you for posting these. Could you share your speaking prompt and rubric and anything else you used or gave to the kids to use? They obviously did not memorize, but how much and how did they prepare ahead if at all, beyond having a year in your phenomenal class? You said, I think, that throughout the year, their only output is TPRS participation (actors and choral response?) and this one speaking assignment. They haven’t done other retells?
          Most of my French students are a lot more tentative with the output. I wonder if that relates to differences between the two languages, as well as me not giving them as much opportunity to speak. I thought I was giving them many opportunities for voluntary output, but something is missing.
          For one thing, I think regular simple retells are a piece that I need to incorporate. Sometimes our stories or whatever become quite elaborate by the reading stage, and maybe that makes it all seem more difficult. The reading is comprehensible but is so far ahead of any speaking. I don’t know, just thinking.
          I need to figure out this output thing. Thanks again for this inspiration.

  7. What a fabulous and instructive set of videos! Also to add to others’ Qs- have the Ss had any prior language in lower grades? Pls describe your program – how long are class’s periods (I assume they are every weekday)- approx how many hours have they had at the time of the video?
    What’s striking to me is also the self correction- confirming importance of auditory /acoustical input!
    The sum total of the utterances, if dissected, contain so many hi-freq, flexible, practical words/structures. Picture these kids immersed in the TL either in a Spanish- spkg country or local community…without recourse to English…their comprehension plus output renders them able to fend for themselves, no? Not in every context, but they’d be able to communicate well enough!
    To me this looks like solid Intermediate Hi or mid thought he guidelines talk abt the interlocutor in an interview or conversation situation, so maybe next time ask some clarifying questions so that you can claim it with that seal of dinosaur approval.
    Very inspiring, thank you!

  8. Michael Coxon

    I attached the speaking prompts and rubric to the article. They are word documents so you can shange them to fit your needs. I havr to say though I only have those documents for the other teachers. They need things on paper so they can check boxes and figure stuff out. I tell my students to just “hang out” with me a retell me a story that they like. I actually do absolutely no grading of pronunciation or grammar. I only record their times and give them a 90% for 2:00 minutes of speaking and 100% for reaching 2:20.

    I think to some teachers if they know this is how simple I grade students they would be very upset but how can I expect to grade word for word accuracy to beginning learners. I think when the kids know that this is my attitude for grading them they actually take risks and speak.

    To answer Ruth a bit…this is not the only output I have from students. We start doing free writes around October. And I slowly try and get students from saying “sí” and “no” to full sentences answers. I will do this as fast or as slow as students allow. They also are exposed to Sr. Wooly songs and do not realize that when they sing, they are “speaking.”

    About the class and school.

    This is a large high school in a somewhat wealthy community but due to open enrollment we have all kinds of students. My class sizes were in the 40’s and now still too large at 35-37 per class. Most of our freshmen students are in the second year program because they take Spanish in 6, 7, 8th grade. For whatever reason, these kids did not take langauge previously (at least the ones I showed). We meet for 48-57 minutes 5 days a week depending on the schedule. I use a deskless classroom and do not assign homework (other than reading) and I do not use a textbook even though I am required (forced) to give 10 textbook tests a year. The graduation rate is in the high 90s and this is considered one of the top 10 high schools in Arizona.

    I have to say though that my opinion is that it is the method/TPRS process that yields this kind of work. The last 2 summers I have taught summer school and have seen equal results from other students within our district that come from “rougher” schools and neighborhoods with obvious socioeconomic differences.

    Alisa thanks for the tips…and thanks for your proficiency evaluation. I actually have no idea how these students rank on day 174 of the school year. All I know is that they blow the other levels out of the water by being able to communicate for a sustained period. Many of my former level 1 and level 2 students always come back and say they were better writers and speakers in my class. This is often comes from level 4 students. They are just “trained” to do different things in a TPRS classroom.

    I also have to say that this form of output “is not their actual level of acquisition.” Susan Gross wrote this and I think it is important to note…these videos (or writing samples) are just the things they can do with the TL. What they have acquired is much deeper it is just challenging to figure out a way to effeciently show. I say this because this students have been exposed to and understand words like…”however” “therefore” “then” “unfortunately” “in addition” “in fact” “consequently” and the like. These are words that impress others (myself included) but could seemed forced in a situations that don’t require them or seem unnatural.

    (sorry for the ramble).

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