Q. I have read “A Natural Approach to the Year”, and am so excited to dive right into it with my Spanish level 1s. My dilemma is that I’m starting at a new school next year, teaching Spanish 1 AND 2. I would really love to do the same with my level 2s, but I’m not sure how/where to start because they’ve had a full year of Spanish, and this is going to be my first year doing CI, TPRS and non targeted instruction exclusively (and I’m new to the school). Any suggestions, recommendations or guidance for starting my level 2s?
A. Yes Haley I’m glad you asked. The answer may surprise you. Teach the level 1s with the new stuff, but don’t try it on the level 2s. It’s because most likely they will rebel, and hard. Their reasoning: “Why should I work in a new way with you (thus experiencing rigor) when all I had to do was memorize a few verbs for the A in level 1?”
Then, after a month or so, they will hear that the level 1s are enjoying the class. Some level 2s will ask for some of that. Do not give it to them. Teach them exactly as they were taught last year.
However, as the weeks go by, starting in October or so, give them five minutes of an OWI or something like that at the end of class. Tell them that class ended early that day, the important stuff is over, and you just want to speak some Spanish to them and all they have to do is listen – tell them that it is a “listening activity”.
Even with the level 1s, I suggest giving no speeches about how they will be doing “something new” this year! No big promises. Just go into the language as per the plan in the book and stay in each section of the proposed instructional plan as long as you want. Then when the 2s start looking at the walls, at the gallery and all the fantastic images, and start wanting in, be very standoffish. Make them earn it. increase their time backwards slowly from the end of class and by spring you will have undone the culture from year one, and the change will be complete. But don’t go overly fast.
On Monday, July 2, 2018, 6:34:38 PM MDT, Haley Keller
CI and the Research (cont.)
Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could
14 thoughts on “Question”
I have a similar question, so I will post here in the comments.
Last year was my first year with CI. I jumped in with all my levels at once (clearly a mistake). However, by the end of the year, all of my classes were “on board” with the new method (even though I was not doing that great of a job). I made mistakes and felt overwhelmed by the “GRAB BAG” approach to CI. I tried too many things too often and at the end of the year, I was exhausted and not feeling so great. Imagine my happiness when I got A Natural Approach to the Year.
So my question is, since all of my classes are “on board” with CI, can I just use ANATTY with all of them and just adjust for speed/needs? Thanks so much!
Yes. I think the BICS approach (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) can go for all four levels. Tina is now developing CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency) and she thinks there is a lot of potential in going to CALP from BICS during the four years. However, my feeling is based on the simple idea that as long as they are getting comprehensible input they will be fine – as in, really advanced – by level four.
It kind of depends on what the goal is. Do we want the students to be able to communicate in a general sense (BICS) – which takes at least two years of nothing but reading and listening input that is interesting to them (my idea was to base it on images – Invisibles, One Word Images, etc. instead of boring word lists) or do we have some kind of “academic” outcome in mind where they – not just the few but ALL of them – can write better than a three year old, etc.
So yes. In my opinion ANATTY w adjustments is a good plan, and CALP is not really a necessity unless you are in a more competitive academic environment with a bunch of high achievers. Tina might disagree but that is my view.
This is a question that needs more investigation, however, as we are still in a proving stage since I only thought up this stuff in 2016. It needs testing and conversations and discussions. A PhD at Texas A & M who is a member of this group (Julia Lynch) who reported tremendous gains last year in testing the Invisibles might be doing some reaching out to group members here with some research questions that are similar to what you asked. This would be a great focus for this group this year, keeping the discussion going and testing all aspects of ANATTY who will be doing it anyway.
This is a better venue to do this than, say, the CI Liftoff FB site, where a focused daily discussion about ANNATY with 4,600 people would be a bit hard to follow.
By the way, I can totally relate to that feeling you describe of feeling overwhelmed by the “grab bag” approach. Wow. That was TPRS for me. Overwhelming. If I had not been at retirement age in 2016 anyway I just would have quit, but I happened on a practical application of Krashen’s core concept of non-targeted instruction (as our group member here Greg Schwab in Chicago calls the Invisibles a “practical application of the Net Theory”), so now I have all the energy of a brand new teacher.
I will post a few older articles on the “Grab Bag” idea in the next few days. I personally labeled it “Candy” There is also, here in the categories, what I consider to be an important article that I wrote about two years ago on this topic. Most of us have read it here, but any new people trained in TPRS might find it interesting:
Thank you so much for your thoughts. After I read ANATTY, I did a massive unfollowing of colleagues on Twitter because I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the ideas. They are not bad ideas, but there are too many of them for me. I needed exactly what you and Tina produced in ANATTY. Now I feel like I have one focus for the year and, for the first time in a long time, I am excited to start the school year. I already have some energy back. I am absolutely dying to attend one of your workshops next summer. Any chance of doing one in Colorado? 🙂 Thanks again and have a good night!
Hi Amy. After Ben’s training and Invisibles system, I stopped all the Candy and focused on core skills. This means going SLOW, communicating with student’s rather than talking AT them, pointing and pausing, using gestures for myself and providing the translation for any word that the students feels uncomfortable with. As these get internalized you can then branch out to using strategies but really they are just Candy. Ben’s system jeeps the Non Targeted CI focus and with a purpose that students find relaxing.
That’s awesome, Steven. Thanks for the encouragement!
This is important bc you are right Amy there are people all over the place saying all sorts of things and I think (I could only say this in privacy on this private site) that the Natural Approach books are enough enough and not too much and right on point and as you say do-able so thank you for saying that. I will publish an article called “Candy” – what you call the Grab Bag approach here – in the next few days.
Yes I am up for a training in CO since I am right here in Denver. Where are you? One place I have wanted to do a training in for a long time is Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park. Or if you are close by Littleton I can work with you personally – take a few hours to demo the one word images and how to move into a story w the seven steps and all that. Let me know.
I am down in Pueblo at South High School. I almost made it to the conference in Minneapolis this summer, but my husband got a new job with the Pueblo Police Dept and I had to stay home with our 3-year-old. 🙂 I look forward to meeting you one day during one of your trainings! I am definitely going to move mountains so that I can come next summer. I go back to work in one week and I am revved up! Thanks for everything!
So I still need to get ANATTY and read through it, but it is clearly what I’m looking for after reading in this group and watching lots of related videos. Here’s where I would like some advice in a similar vein as the gals above…
I taught TPRS methods for the first time 2 years ago. Then last year, my admin allowed me to take on a mentor role with a new teacher for the short weeks I was there before I had my little boy last fall. I’ve been home since and return to classes this fall. I will teach Spanish 1 so I get to tweak and improve what I was doing before, but I then have Spanish 3. I requested Spanish 3 because these are the students I worked with as 1s when I started with CI, and I have established relationships with them (not all great, but they’re there;) I’m really looking forward to teaching these students again! What are your thoughts on how to start my year with them? I don’t want Card Talk to seem forced or to start too basic with stories. They haven’t ever done OWIs or Invisibles though. Should I just be using the same methods with 3s that I am with 1s?
Thank you for sharing any thoughts!
Just to clarify Kristy who was the instructor for those level 3s last year in level 2? And what methodology did they use? I ask because if they had anything traditional last year in level 2 they may be lost to CI for level 3. We need the details. The general premise at work here, my opinion only, is that traditional work spoils them for CI work. On the other hand, if they had CI in levels 1 and 2 they are ripe for one word images and the invisibles.
Also Kristy if you are amenable to working with Julia Lynch at Texas A & M on a study she will announce here on our site soon, it would be great. I’ll let her explain what she is doing but basically she wants to get feedback on teachers who have done both (targeted) TPRS and the new (nontargeted) Natural Approach work. More later on this here.
The instructor was the gal I mentored for the beginning of the year. It’s not like I have a lot of experience though, so I just passed along whatever I could and encouraged her in CI. I know she did incorporate a good amount of it, but she did a blended style with what felt more ‘normal’ to her as well. So they didn’t jump into memorization or anything. The students normal is definitely more of the CI approach.
I would be open to working with Julia. I don’t know how I’ll do with the Natural Approach, but I’m happy to give my thoughts 🙂
It sounds like that level 3 class will be ok then, in my opinion. I would like to know how it goes. Invisibles, one word images, would work it sounds like. Often its about the invisible power structure in the class. Even one kid with power who wants to embrace the traditional approach can upset the apple cart.
Kristy I would really like it if you and Beth worked with Julia. She has to get approval from the review board of the university first. I will post on this project in the next few days. The project could get people looking at non-targeted at a time when many are not.
It would be great to get about ten people on it.
These posts are so timely with the beginning of the year right around the corner! I too easily get sucked into the candy as well. My goal for the year after reading ANATTY and attending BICS in Minneapolis is to try NTCI this year. I dabbled in it last year and gained a much better understanding of it and now have more confidence to jump in. Keeping it simple and slow will be key for my success, I think.
I concur on that last sentence. There is a tendency to go into the deep end with a cannonball off the high dive and that is not what I recommend. Each teacher testing these waters must do just that, test them and find out how they, their personality as a teacher, jive with each activity in ANATTY and then find the BLEND of their teaching style with each activity. It takes time. No one person will teach the same way, and it is a testimony to the book that it can stretch to accommodate all the various teaching personalities. Moreover, ANATTY is written so that a teacher could use its ideas over four years if necessary for the transition process to take effect in a deep and lasting way. The process must be natural, like its title. I wish you every success this year, and it is easy to predict the same, since I know that after forty years of intense (to say the least) looking I have found something in that book that I could call REAL. Have a great year Krista and please do report in here often. One of the biggest things we benefit from are the “reports from the field”. Email them to me at email@example.com and we can hash out whatever is going on or celebrate, and last year we did a lot of celebrating of this new NT work! You may want to contact Dr. Lynch (see post here on Aug. 7th) as well on her project (we need people like you who are just getting started with NTCI) which we are keeping limited to this group. We need about ten people.