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14 thoughts on “NTCI vs. PBI”

  1. I was talking to Mike Peto yesterday and we agreed that when the name is ready it will appear. No rush. Branding things makes them weaker anyway. This work is no one person’s personal property. We are all doing the version of CI that is best for us. Each of us represents a point of light and together we will make up the new way to teach. It will dazzle, but it won’t belong to anyone. The combined incandescence of all of our work will continue and generate warmth in the hearts of all connected to it. That’s what clusters of stars. They form galaxies. It will be so wonderful. No one way to do it. People will come and go into and out of the galaxy as the years go by. The textbook companies won’t be able to get their hands on it.
    Related: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkgkThdzX-8

  2. To me the word proficiency is often associated with forced output (ACTFL) or eclecticism. I don’t like to call it proficiency based.
    Also with proficiency you have the idea of “Can-Do’s”: I can order food, I can buy a plane ticket in Spanish, etc.
    I think NTCI or CI is good.

  3. Yeah good point Greg. And re: your point about the “can-do” statements, proficiency chez ACTFL is indeed not proficiency at all bc proficiency (in my mind at least) is something completely unforced. The can-do’s imply that some kids can and some can’t and it is in that separation that I find the national hypocrisy. What even is proficiency? Does it mean that a kid can perform at a certain level on a certain barometer that has been made up by some governing organization? That’s not proficiency at all. A slow acquirer may be quite proficient in her own world as she is progressing just by absorbing in class. To rank her compared to others as at a proficiency level below other students goes against everything we know about how people acquire languages.
    Tina and I just don’t like the NTCI label. We’ll keep looking.

    1. Well… what about the word “Emergent” getting in there.
      ETCI or CItET- Comp. Inp. thru Em. Targ, or …?
      I mean, we say “NON-targeted” but isn’t something like Tina’s calendar talk targeting something? She does want them to express “En mi opinion, hace buen tiempo” and so she “targets” the weather, no?
      Also, once the kids decide what the story will contain, don’t those then become the targets?
      I know that they don;t become the targets in the traditional sense of “Ok, class, now we are going to make you memorize these words from the vocab list and test you on them for recall.”
      I mean, the craft of a good teacher contains the element of being in tune to the students and being in that sense of FLOW where, “Aha, yes, I recognize that this is the perfect opportunity for me, the teacher, to lend a hand with giving them the “tool” of the idiom of “aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda” since it fits PERFECTLY with the story about, ironically a monkey who thinks he’s better than everyone else…”
      This question about non-targeting vs emergent has been nagging at my brain.

      1. The key thing about non-targeted is that when we talk to the kids we are not trying awkwardly to direct the discussion in skewed fashion to include words we “want to teach”. It’s about freedom of expression, to let human conversation be human and not robotic and forced. So it’s emergent. Whatever emerges. If the teacher sees the right moment to slip in the perfect idiom, then that is quite natural. I do it when speaking to my own children, building their vocabulary. That’s non-targeted. Whatever emerges. So Jonathan what do you see in those two terms that is contradictory? I see them as the same.

  4. And if anyone doubts the unconscious nature of language acquisition they should listen to a speaking sample of a re-tell of a heritage speaker. (I just did one to get boxes checked). So this heritage speaker was telling the story and they started out very slowly and in a memorized fashion. Then they stopped and just explained the story. All of a sudden all of these “advanced” structures like imperfect subjunctive started coming out, etc.
    Teachers still are in denial that we can’t teach according to the grammar syllabus.

    1. Exactly my thought Alisa.
      PBL (Project-based learning) / PBA (Project-based assessment) are both too close to PBI for me.
      i even thought, by the title of this post, that it would be a debate about using NTCI alongside what I thought was “Project Based Instruction”
      Proj. -based learning does have merits, and may encouragingly even be the next “required thing” for educators to get out of the “teach for the state test” mindset.
      (SIDENOTE: ironically in VA, our state tests are called the SOL tests- Standards Of Learning)
      AND, the cool thing is that, as Brett Chonko points out in his blogpost, the NTCI method that we are working with actually falls perfectly in line with the aspects of PBLA:

  5. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Jonathan, when we are teaching something that is NOT emergent – that is, not asking a story or an OWI or Invisible, nor working from a category of banter like Calendar Talk or Weekend Talk, and we are, say, prepping the kids for some kind of whole group experience, (my 3rd graders read both Brandon Brown (BB) books mid and end of year), then we may find ourselves doing something more akin to targeting.
    For example, I have a powerpoint of famous dogs – Snoopy, Scooby Doo, Beethoven, etc.-a dozen or so including Lady & the Tramp- and knowing that lots of physical description comes up in ‘BB…Dog’ – and that the dog’s collar comes up later, I ask a lot of Y/N and either/or questions about the dogs in the slideshow – the kids really dig the slideshow. They don’t know or care where the convo is ‘going ‘ – they are excited for the next visual surprise…
    Name, size, color, intelligent/not, collar, etc. You could call it previewing, activating, targeting… But I DO NOT write a list of target words on the board, establish meaning and find contrived ways to work this language in…
    I have, in the past, preceded the slide show or followed it by having kids bring in photos of their pet dogs, and asked the questions ‘live’ in this way – the convo requires the above body of language – but it’s also a great & compelling PQA ‘set.’ They love to report where their dog sleeps and such.
    Does that help clarify the wonderings about what constitutes targeting, and what is not really traditional targeting (or does it further obfuscate)?
    The other diff is the intent to get massed repetitions. The visual anchor (slides in this case) allows us to look at various (& beloved) famous dogs and not have that teachers’ agenda urgency to get a zillion hits on, say, ‘has/doesn’t have.’ When I first started T/CI a few years ago I had pitch counters and had the Ss count reps on different verb-containing chunks. Talk about conscious attention to the process! OY!
    The visual anchor and the teachers’ lines of questioning or discussion naturally guide the convo – it’s nuanced… But we put the jackhammer (and pitch counters) away…

    1. Yes, I used to have a student job assigned to 2 willing souls to “tally” every time I / we in the class “hit” the specifically targeted structures. I’d even tell ’em “hey, our goal is to get at least 50 reps in on each one”… blah blah blah…
      I scrapped that job after 2 semesters.
      It felt forced. And yes, it screams of staying “consciously” focused on those targets. Not very organic/natural at all.
      I even used to give out sheets to the students with the specific “Can do” targets with a line to self-evaluate on how well they felt they could do those at beginning of class and then at end we’d reflect again.
      On the same sheet still allowing a space lower on the sheet for “pop up” vocabulary (I realize that THIS was the “emergent” part and the more important part).
      Even started this semester with the printed sheets that I’d give out, but ditched that after attempting it 2 times.
      I much prefer without. So much more natural.
      Besides, less paper to have to deal with.
      But back to the “pop up” vocab… that’s what the students wanted to know how to say. That was the more interesting stuff. The stuff that they have really retained as ive noticed.
      I mean, shoot, I learned the Spanish word for “to twerk” thanks to that. I went with it. Looked it up right there projected on the board (Spanishdict.com thankfully, not Google images).
      Had a very interesting and memorable discussion with my students about the meanings of the Spanish word “la cola” thanks to a heritage speaker de ascendencia mexicana alongside an exchange student from Spain (who somehow ended up in my level 3 class??) Yeah, let me tell you how much I was enlightened as to how seemingly different body part references that goes to… The word was a “pop up” but it launched us into an enlightening discus
      The positive brain chemicals of endorphins and such were flowing- we were laughing SO hard… it stuck. Even if not all of the meanings “stuck” for everyone, the value of being in simple state of enjoyment in class took students out of the fact that it was ‘school’.
      Remember those Master Card commericals?
      “Spanish Textbooks for each student” = $$$$$$$$$$$
      “Class set of the latest TPRS novel” = $150
      “Year subscription to Senor Wooly Pro” = $85
      “Annual subscription to Textivate” ~$70 (depending on how strong the sterling is at the time)
      “The idea of being in a state of “happy” associated with language class… PRICELESS.”

  6. Alisa, i think your clarification is spot on in your last paragraph. I believe Krashens distinction was targeting 1 and targeting 2. One of those was ties to a list to be mastered. Thia reminds me.of classical tprs where at the end of the lesson students would be able to say whole chunks of the TL using structures like he has or she likes etc… really though this is parroting and rushed understanding. I mean, even if many students got it and could say something using the structures, they are far from acquiring it and spontaneously conversing.
    We’ve had conversations about a new name but really it should reflect what the studenta are doing or going through rather than what we are doing (teaching)

    1. …I believe Krashens distinction was Targeting 1 and Targeting 2. One of those was ties to a list to be mastered….
      Yes but Steven as I read that back in those days, as I followed it, I was then and still feel certain that the only reason Krashen posited those two terms was in deference and in obedience to Karen Rowan, who had her hand on his neck back then (2010-11) and this creating of two terms – only one of which was supported by his research, the non-targeted part, whichever one it was (T1 or T2) – was to keep his link with TPRS. It wasn’t really Krashen who made those terms up, it was Karen and Krashen didn’t argue when he should have. I followed this extremely carefully and this is how I saw it.

  7. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    I was utterly befuddled by all that nomenclature, too, and it smelled bad to me.
    Non-targeted isn’t just ‘anything goes.’ We still must insure comprehensib-ility and avoid overwhelm of too many new sounds / meanings. We are still working within a net; the fewer hours/developmentally lower/newer the student, the narrower the net. Literacy figures in, as well as life experience. The Art of Teaching with CI is to juggle all the contributing factors, and teach to the eyes (Susan Gross), responsively, insuring that everyone stays on board.
    As Ben has reminded us, there is no one way to do it, because communication is relational, therefore affected by our personalities, the individuals and group before us, the time of day, the weather outside, and if it’s someone’s birthday or their dog died.
    NT reduces the stink of the teacher’s agenda (i.e., to teach some pronouns or some pluscuamperfecto subjuntivo). It allows for more authentic communication, because it ‘runs’ on student-offered ideas, emotions, suggestions, details. But we (teachers) have the reins, insuring that the convo or ‘language event’ holds together and stays in bounds.
    Call it Targeting #792.5.

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