Language Activity Facilitators 5

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



9 thoughts on “Language Activity Facilitators 5”

  1. “Listening and reading are the good soil, speaking and writing are the plants.” Yes! Thank you for another great gardent analogy! Today was day 2 for me and I can feel it in my body that this was the right thing to do and of course the right time. I don’t know why I had any hesitation about renewing…in the spring. Ummm. DUH! So much has been set in motion in just 48 hours! I’ll list three here: 1) student comes up to me unsolicited in the hallway to tell me about a video he watched last night in Spanish: “I’m not counting it as my real homework, but it was really cool and I might watch that one again or pick another one.” ***I’m using Nathan’s 30 min per week idea. Instead of homework I’m calling it “independent adventuring.” 2) In class today as we were going over the “independent adventuring” idea, one student asked: “You mean, like that time a couple weeks ago when I visited my Pepe on Sunday and he spoke French with me and told me all these stories, that could have been my homework?!?!” 3) Directly related to this post, a blurt from my barometer student: “Yeah, when you’re 2, nobody is following you around with a grammar book. You just listen.”

    1. My experience too, is bearing out what Ben and others say, namely that even the “lamest” attempt at CI strategies often gets amazing responses. Today I typed up stories that I had been telling students in class, with their input, for the past week and a half. I had my first year students read aloud, and I was so impressed by their pronunciation. But this happened because the soil had been watered: they had beenengaged in the story for a few weeks, and they understood it all, so they were prepared to read aloud with comprehension, confidence and accuracy. Later, in my 2nd year class, we were reading through a story I had just typed up for them, and I was having a bad day. I had to stop the class repeatedly and deal with a few uncooperative students. Next thing I know, my admissions director is at the door and asks if she can bring prospective parents in to observe. She also asked if this was a bad time. After almost saying that it was indeed a bad time, I allowed them to come in anyway, and we continued. I thought it went pretty badly. At the end of the day, I went to apologize to her for what I was sure had been a bad experience for the parents. She said that the parents were also teachers and they were very impressed by the level of student interest and interaction during my “crappy” lesson. A 3-minute glimpse of a bad day of CI, and now parents who are teachers want to send their kids to my class.

  2. An attempt at some didactic verse re Ben’s “…we begin to write because we have read, and we begin to speak because we have listened.” and Jen’s “Listening and reading are the good soil, speaking and writing are the plants.”:
    Hearing compelling speech become comprehensible
    And so intensely heeding the speaker(s)
    Learning to listen first
    And starting to speak when ready
    Learning to read because we’ve listened
    And starting to write because we’ve read
    Much listening and reading, some speaking and writing
    But becoming more & better as we become more ready

  3. Dr. James Ascher, the inventor of TPR and an early proponent of TPRS, nevertheless warned against oft-repeated reliance on any one instructional modality. According to Ascher, and as we ourselves have all experienced, such heavy reliance can result in psychological “adaptation”, whereby a pleasurable mode of learning can easily become stressful or boring. The ideas starting to come forth in these last few blog entries suggest, however, that we don’t have to abandon the delivery of CI for more or less lengthy periods of time. Just find interesting ways to vary the forms of that delivery!

  4. Please change the 6th line of my didactic doggerel from “And starting to SPEAK because we’ve read” to “And starting to WRITE because we’ve read”. As usual, my haste makes waste!

  5. Have you ever been reading something and your heart just warms up? That is what happened to me in reading this lovely doggerel by Frank. Just his use of the word “doggerel” pleases – few people use such words anymore and we are all the poorer for it. This doggerel makes me think of when people used to entertain each other with song and poetry – ways of preparing for sleep so that we slept with hope and were thus strong in our work for the next day and not full of fear. Instead of what my own experience has been these past few years, that I am into something not to be trusted in teaching and not good enough at it and under that microscope. Times have changed so much when people felt inspired to write poetry just because. While reading this, I just felt so much like I was a member of a bunch of people who actually would produce POETRY to express their joy in finding a way to teach that brings them joy. Indeed, I love the feeling of that poem. Positively from another time. I’m trying to decide on the century that it mirrors. Robert? I especially like the last line:
    …becoming more & better as we become more ready….
    We are always progressing. I once told Susan Gross about six years ago after doing this for four years that I think I had it down. Her scoff was classic Susie. She said something like, “Well, I will be learning this stuff for years and years, myself.” She, of course, was right. We are always getting better at it. All the shitty classes, and the good ones, they are all part of an upward curve, possibly exponential in nature -although we can’t know that yet – that we are all on together.

  6. Dear Ben, the century that my doggerel doggedly mirrors? Well, I’d say pre-Romantic but also post-Renaissance. That would make it mirror the eighteenth century (?): the Age of Enlightenment– le Siecle des lumieres!?

  7. I was going to say the 18th. But it had kind of a medieval feel to it as well in the repetition. Minstrel like. Writing poetry about the joy of teaching. Think about that. Some would say I’m getting too much into this. I don’t. If it is about uplifting kids’ experience when they learn languages, giving them hope, then I’m on it. And poetry spontaneously written in this way is a powerful indicator that good things are happening. And good things are happening. We may just not feel that way here in April after, for me at least, a bucking bronco of a ride through this particular academic year.

  8. Robert Harrell

    I would have said 19th-century historicism (era of ne0- everything), but that’s just me. Nice bit doggerel, though, Frank.
    I just had a delightful period with my unruliest class. We were talking about summer activities, and they had a great time comparing S, the couch potato, with C, the zombie, and what each one does. (Did you know it’s possible to fish, surf, ride a bike and do any number of other things while lying on the couch?) No story developed, but there was lots of CI, a good deal of laughter, and more attention than they’ve given for a while – and this is the week before spring break.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



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