Request from Jeff

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.



21 thoughts on “Request from Jeff”

  1. In my opinion there is no need to respect and prepare for four levels of instruction. Those terms are specious, in my view. People require over 10,000 hours of input to arrange a language in the unconscious part of their brain, where language is actually acquired. We are talking about a very small percentage of those hours.

    Why even draw lines between children who have had MAYBE 500 hours in four years (if all the minutes were used for comprehensible input)? Realistically with all the distractions we deal with a high school student will receive no more than 100-125 actual hours of input per year, at the most. That is nothing. Doing the math, that is 100 x 4/10,000 or 4% of the time needed for serious mastery, and for any real proficiency (IL or higher), to emerge that isn’t fake and unpolished.

    And we are going to delineate that small percentage of actual time needed into years one through four and call them levels and all that? Why? Isn’t it time we stop saying that 100 hours of a language is equal to a year of study and a level four student is “advanced”? They are not advanced – they are a baby.

    Here is the key point – humans cannot advance toward fluency in a language more than maybe ten yards in a mile run in the amount of time they have in one year of a high school class. They can’t. We’ve got the time thing all wrong,and Jeff is questioning it along with about four or five other people in the world. Everybody things that a level four senior is advanced. To repeat, a fourth year student is NOT ADVANCED, any more than a 8 month old child is advanced in a language.

    There is no real difference between a second and fourth year student, if one looks at the argument in the terms expressed here. Not really. We routinely combine, in DPS, first and second years into one level, and three and four as well. Big whoop. Nobody even notices.

    I had, in my mixed 3/4 class this year, students with only three years showing much greater gains than others with four years under their belt. I often used the same stories/materials for both my level one and level 3/4 classes.

    So Jeff, if I am reading your question right, that is my answer. Do whatever you want in planning. They’re all babies. We don’t say when a child is one year old that there ought to be a difference between what they have achieved linguistically and what a child who is 1.5 years old has achieved. But when we label the kids in terms of level 1, 2, 3 and 4 that is what we are doing. Fools are we.

  2. My comments are specific to little kids, but I’ve come to the same conclusion teaching elementary grades. I prepare 1 lesson for preK and K, and another for 1st+2nd+3rd grade.

    It has been such a relief ! I can practice the same story all week, and try to get better at PQA and other skills, before moving on to another story. If I prepare a power point, one set of pictures has the text, the other set doesn’t. I can differentiate slightly between the grades in other ways as well, but the core lesson stays the same.

    Next year, let’s say I revisit the story, the kids won’t care. They actually seem to like the familiarity.
    It brings back happy memories, and joy.

  3. A kid was looking through Vol. 1 of Anne’s script book before class today and found one we had done before Christmas and all the kids in the room started giving details that I had long forgotten about a dinosaur. They reconstructed the scene, the details of the way the dinosaur looked, colors, etc. They seemed so happy to do so. I acted like I kind of remembered but I didn’t.

    1. They really do love their old stories! One of my best sub plans, if I have it together, is to create “books” of old stories with space left for pictures. (One or two sentences a page.) Everyone gets one, and all they have to do that day is create or find good pictures for the old stories. They are immediately absorbed. They do a peer review that responds to whether there are enough details in the drawing to show everything written about in the story.

      It’s only a problem when we don’t have enough stories yet.

      1. I agree that it’s a great sub plan! I also had a sub do this recently, having kids choose past stories to illustrate. If they wrote some captions to the drawings, then they could be stapled/binded and added to the classroom library!

  4. Jeff, great questions and I have something to contribute on this since I combined my levels 2, 3, and 4 this year.

    And Ben, your first post in this thread is a breath of fresh air for me as I found myself frustrated this week when kids seemed spaced-out about structures I thought they should know. Thinking about the time spectrum for language learning and the actual time we have in class gives me more grace for them and myself.

    Here are my main take-aways from my experience of combining my levels this year:

    1. -I love only having 2 preps. Yes, it is a lot less work and I find I can hone my skills better with story creation and PQA doing the same structures for (in my case) three different classes throughout the week.

    2. -I prefer to not combine Latin 1 with other classes for the most part since they are really at the beginning, although sometimes kids of higher levels who have a schedule that doesn’t work for their proper level end up being in a Latin 1 class. Most of the time they don’t seem to mind at all.

    3. -Another aspect I felt was difficult about combining levels 2, 3, 4 was that I felt that the content of what I was teaching seemed to appeal better for a 3, 4 split than for a 2, 3, 4 split. I’ll try to explain:

    Last year I had a Latin 1, a Latin 2 class, and then a combo 3 / 4 class.
    This year I had a Latin 1, and then combo 2 / 3 / 4 classes.

    I liked the former arrangement better because of how the kids seemed to interact with content based on their maturity level. This is what I like doing now:

    Latin 1 does cards/Circling with Balls in the beginning of the year, then TPRS Stories (creation around a Matava type script) and in the 2nd semester I slowly increase the reading and writing activities around “novel” readings (Cambridge Latin Course readings that have simplified vocab).

    Latin 2 does basically the same thing with some variations and more reading and writing around the Cambridge Stories over the whole year.

    Then in Latin 3 and 4 I still do TPRS Stories, but do various units that involve a set of readings and usually some short historical piece of Latin literature. I’ve shared some of these examples before.

    The bottom line is that overall I feel that the 3 and 4 level kids seem “ready” for this more “meaty” historical and literary kind of content, more so than the Latin 2 kids. I think for most kids in high school there seems to be a jump in their maturity from 10th grade to 11th grade.

    Now overall, I’d say a number of my Latin 2 kids have surprised me and they have held their own with the 3s and 4s, sometimes outperforming some of their peers in their scores on tests and their interest in the content, so when I talk about maturity, it’s in general terms and doesn’t apply to all students equally.

    4. -One difficulty I find is that I have to change curriculum from year to year so as not to repeat curriculum for kids who I have for multiple years (which for me is ALL my kids). Since I do different units for levels 3 and 4, I can’t repeat any of these units for 2 years, otherwise kids will get the same content again.

    I still need to shelter more vocabulary! I just try to hit kids with more than they are ready for in my zealousness to have them learn MORE words rather than learn to really communicate better with FEWER words and DEEPER quality. I think it’s my biggest factor for loosing kids, helping to foster inattention and creating confusion. I feel I do a better job each year with this, but I still need to work on it REGARDLESS OF THE LEVEL, in all my classes I need to present vocab slower with more reps and just work within that context.

    I say this all at the end of a tiring year. And lately it has been hard to keep my attitude positive. I had a really difficult group of kids in one of my Latin 1 classes this year and have been frustrated with their disrespect, selfishness and thoughtless comments.

    I also felt I dropped the ball early-on in the year with some discipline issues. And I don’t think I did a BAD job with discipline, but I feel like it must have been just not good enough for the particular group of kids I had this year. Oh well, I learned a lot and will enter next year wiser and ready to take less crap, but at this point, I’m REALLY looking forward to the summer and right now I’m trying to finish as strong as I can.

    1. …thinking about the time spectrum for language learning and the actual time we have in class gives me more grace for them and myself….

      Thank you David. I love your use of the word grace and I love that sentence you wrote. It is easy to set aside the the “time spectrum factor” (great term by the way) in language learning, how long it is, and how short we want to make it, as we try egoistically to cram years of work into much smaller amounts of time because that’s all we have.

      What teachers did with their grammar schtick over all those years was judge. What we do when we do stories, IF we remember the time spectrum required, is NOT judge our students. But if we forget the time spectrum factor, oops… we judge.

      I know that many of us who have been doing this for awhile know what that means, to NOT judge our students and honor them instead. I know that there are teachers in this group whose hearts have grown in learning to honor and respect their students because of the way we teach them. We should not let ourselves forget how long it takes to acquire a structure lest we, too, end up judging our students like all those teachers who still teach in the 1950’s way only cover it up with computer program based instruction instead of books, but it’s more of the same old crap.

      I googled the word grace and I really like the verb form definition:

      …do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence. – “she bowed out from the sport she has graced for two decades” – synonyms: dignify, distinguish, honor, favor….

      Like how Matthew 7:3 reminds us not to make the worst of people, but the best of them, to dignify our students and stop treating them as if they are little and unimportant. That’s what this is really all about.

      If we think that kids at the end of the year can retain structures, no matter how many reps we got during the story some months before, we are simply wrong and putting unrealistic expectations on our charges. It doesn’t work that way. All we need to do is go in and take an Arabic or Chinese class with a good comprehensible input teacher and see how much we remember, and we are adult language geeks and they are only teenagers trying to figure out life.

    2. …I will enter next year wiser and ready to take less crap….

      Just get in the habit in August of STOPPING EVERY SINGLE INCIDENT OF TALKING with a smile and with the laser pointer. Don’t brook any compromise on that. This happens from within.

      Begin now preparing for the fall. When a child brings those side talking behaviors – and I know you have huge classes but that doesn’t matter you have to do it anyway – into your class from other classes because they get away with them in those other classes, just STOP and point to the rule.

      Insist. Steel your resolve. This is the time of year when, back in the fall, your failure to STOP CLASS AND POINT TO THE RULE AND LET THEM KNOW YOU MEAN IT EVERY SINGLE TIME BACK IN AUGUST, comes home to roost in the form of disrespectful and unruly kids. This is a direct cause and effect thing and they are children and don’t know so you have to teach them.

      Let’s promise to discuss this issue again in the fall David, either privately or here online. My unsolicited advice – and I apologize for the soapbox move here – is to start to work NOW on preparing your core – and this ain’t just about doing sit ups, which is easy – and start to build a stronger core personal power center in your gut, the power comes from your gut, not your mind, that guarantees you no longer will ever have to deal with that kind of side talking. This is the real Common Core.

      I’ll post the rules here again from the poster page. Imagine yourself calmly laser pointing to these rules in the fall each time. Make them obey your wishes each time. You are the adult and they are the children. Make best use of these bad boys right here, especially bad boys #2, 4 and 5, each time:

      Classroom Rules

      1. Listen with the intent to understand.
      2. One person speaks and the others listen.
      3. Suggest cute answers, avoiding English.
      4. Clarify if you don’t understand. Other
      Students support all clarification requests.
      5. Sit up…Squared shoulders….Clear eyes.
      6. Do your 50%.
      7. Actors – synchronize your actions with
      my words.
      8. Nothing on desks unless told otherwise.

      1. Hi Ben,

        I know I’m a little late with a reply to your comment, but I have to say thank you for your words. And I agree with you when you say,

        “to start to work NOW on preparing your core … and start to build a stronger core personal power center in your gut, the power comes from your gut, not your mind.”

        This imagery firmly resonates with me and I’m going to keep “the core” as my mantra for the rest of this year and entering into next.

        Sometimes I’ve reasoned that I just need to keep perfecting my system of consequences, but it isn’t really about that at all. Although a good system of consequences helps, it’s nothing if one doesn’t have the “core,” the “gut,” there to be ready to confront the offending student.

        I feel that the students sense this. Like wild dogs, sniffing for fear, they smell if the teacher is really committed to demanding respect or not. It’s more about tone, posture, confidence, (along with the smile), and unswerving commitment to the rules.

        And I like this feeling of knowing that this power is inside of me, because I know that it is always there; I just have to use it.

        This is really, for me, one of the biggest challenges for teaching. Keeping true to: discipline first, instruction second, for me is tough. Maybe I just like the content so much, or maybe I just don’t want the confrontation, or maybe a combination of a number of reasons. But, I keep returning to this issue and I believe that the imagery of “the core” will help me a lot with the root issue in this challenging part of teaching.

        1. David said:

          …sometimes I’ve reasoned that I just need to keep perfecting my system of consequences, but it isn’t really about that at all. Although a good system of consequences helps, it’s nothing if one doesn’t have the “core,” the “gut,” there to be ready to confront the offending student….

          This makes me see that both a good system of consequences AND an ability to confront from one’s core are necessary. The consequences happen over time in the grade book, and work that way (through the grade book) and the core reactions happen in the moment, not over time, in reaction to each instance of a broken rule by a kid. We need both.

          Then there are the consequences like threats to give some kind of detention, etc. Those are totally bogus in my opinion, extrinsic in nature and therefore without real lasting effect and yet so many teachers still use them. Stuff like making a kid come in after school. The idea is that the student will not want that punishment and therefore change his or her behavior. It’s such a false idea. They don’t care.

          Discipline comes instantly from the positive core-based reaction of the teacher as they instantly and quickly and kindly deal with each instance of misbehavior from a position of mental health and balance because they have learned, if not in childhood then from being a teacher, where and when to draw the line with kids who cross it and to do so instantly. It also comes from the strong one-two punch of the quizzes, which make them listen in class, and the jGR, which, if properly used, has proven itself in many of our classrooms over the past 20 months or so to keep kids reflecting and aware of their behavior in our classrooms.

        2. …I believe that the imagery of “the core” will help me a lot….

          Practice this. Practice it with everybody. In the grocery store. Everywhere. Notice when a person sends out energy that they are in some way superior to you. They are not. That is bullying. If we are to succeed as teachers, we have to develop the ability to instantly know when we are with a bully. And, yes, we have to develop the ability to react at the psychic level with such people, who seem to be everywhere now. There is even a term for them – they are mean.

          Students are not the only people to try to exploit teachers in the invisible world. Administrators and parents do it. I have only had one principal in 37 years in six buildings who came from a place of heart and not stomach.

          That is to say, admin bullies tend to want to use their own core/stomach to kind of push the teachers on their faculty who will allow it out of the way. They pull their heads back and lead with their stomach and push people around. Others, those coming from their hearts and leading in that way from love, of non-bullying but rather from a place of cooperation, are the ones I would want to work for.

          Admins can make or break careers in this way. We can be destroyed by admins who are bullies. Neither can we bully our kids. In teaching using comprehensible input we want to come from our hearts, of course, but also from a strong core and not a bullying one. When kids perceive us as mean, we might as well quit teaching – we will never succeed. Look at that video of Sean again if you want to see core kindness coming from an instructor. Sean’s patience with his students is heroic:

          Can someone find the link to that video?

          So to recap core strength means no bullying but knowing when someone has crossed the line with it and acting on that. Strong core in the gut (knowing when the kids cross the line every time, when they talk, etc. and confronting them in the moment it happens) and using that strong core to confront every single time it happens, yet coming from loving heart, is why teaching is such a challenge.

          Sometimes I think that I had to do this work for so long was that I was such a slow learner on this point of core strength, since I came from a place of fear for most of the years of my career. Without comprehension based teaching I never would have been able to confront myself on this issue.

          One thing we cannot afford to do is “like the content so much” as you said David. Those people may make it in universities, where it all stays in the mind, but never can make it in high schools, where we must activate a strong core in our gut, open up a loving heart, and activate those two things along with mental command of the content, balancing ourselves in those three ways – gut, heart and mind.

          We must be balanced in our work with children in a way that university people never have to, because they are protected by the walls of their ivory towers from what we have to deal with. That is why what we do is so much more of a challenge than those privileged to work in one-dimensional mental dominant (and therefore somewhat empty) worlds.

          David this is wonderful for you to report this. I am very happy that you are embracing this work for the rest of the year and making it your mantra for next year. Thank you for your courage. Please report back to the group as this plays out. You are not the only one. I would say 99% of us, certainly including me, in this group need to work on this issue of building good mental health and classroom discipline through work on our core. It’s part of the mastery we seek.

  5. Quick follow-up – sorry my wording is a little confusing on point 3. I should have said: “One aspect I found difficult…” and not “Another aspect…” I should have proofread before I posted.

    I agree completely with what Ben says above about there not really being levels. I think if you aren’t doing textbook stuff and want to teach whatever you want Jeff, there is no reason you can’t. For me right now, I like a mix of the class created stories, “novel” readings and some historical Roman, Medieval and Renaissance Latin stuff in there, so I have some “content levels” perhaps but really the “levels” for ability just don’t exist within a four year school framework.

  6. I use the same story and MovieTalks for grades 3-8. The structures may be a little different, but in some cases, it just means doing 1-2 structures with younger kids and 3-4 structures with older kids.

    I write the reading first for the older kids and then work top-down to get to a base reading I can use with the youngest grades.

    I can use different TPRS readers, but I still prefer the Fluency Fast (Isabella) and Brandon Brown books for all elementary grades.

    I prefer multi-level classes. The more multi-level the better! In my 7th grade, the kids get ability grouped due to an advanced math class and that is hard. I can see how much better it is when there is a balance of fast/motivated and slow/under-motivated kids. I see the same thing in my 4th grade: 1 section has all the Portuguese-English speakers, who get Spanish faster and who are interested. Faster processing/success is directly related to interest. Having a few motivated students and faster processors raises the standard for everyone, gives you some good actors, and is critical to creating a classroom culture of “I want to acquire.”

    It seems especially foolish to me how kids are leveled in high schools, although they’ve all had the same number of hours of a language (e.g. Level I broken into 3 different levels)! Then, you’re practically leveling based on motivation to be there and that lowest level is ridiculously hard to teach.

    The other foolish practice is to level classes based on grammar, supposing the “easy” grammar is introduced in the first levels and the “hard” grammar is introduced in the later years. This is what the textbook would have you do. Research has shown us that we do not acquire language in any tense-based order (especially not in the textbook order), rather we gradually acquire a little of all the aspects of language simultaneously.

    I think the only leveling you may need is between level 1 and the rest, since a lot of norming and real basic, high-frequency words have to be introduced in level 1. Kids who come to me in 8th grade who have never had Spanish before or a TCI Spanish class can make things challenging and it takes time and student character (self-esteem, motivation, resilience, etc.) to catch up.

  7. I do get it about all levels of students being beginners in most senses. One thing I really like about teaching all the levels at a school is getting to see them develop fluency and ability.

    I can see following the same template for most levels of Chinese, but I can’t figure out how to get around the need for massive, extensive, compelling reading input of high-frequency structures at simple levels before moving ahead. I feel like I keep finding Chinese to need special adjustments, but it is quite different. It’s not phonetic, and until you get maybe strong intermediate language ability, components in the characters won’t be helpful enough to help you guess meaning of unfamiliar words (it takes time to reach the point when they’re enough to give you a sense of the meaning of new vocabulary).

    So I think Chinese could have level 1 and then maybe floating range of levels depending on the students as was discussed not long ago in the PLC. I could see one of my 5th graders moved easily into the 8th grade class, and some of the 8th graders vice versa. Scheduling would never permit it though.

  8. I’m in a ridiculously small district (25 kids in this year’s graduating class, 26 juniors, 17 sophomores, etc). My Spanish 3 class is getting cut because of low enrollment (not due as much to interest as scheduling conflict stuff, block classes and all). So, I’m going to propose that we let Spanish 3 students join with Spanish 2 students for a third year of credit, and I think I have all the ammo I need to present it to admin. (Susan Gross’ order of acquisition paper, Eric’s iceberg and flower images)

    1. Jeffery Brickler


      Maybe you should explain that all levels are mixed. From day one of class, the students begin to acquire at different rates. This could help.

      We should point out that teachers who use a grammar syllabus or grammar geared readings (like most reading textbooks in Latin) could never do this. Grammar syllabi and readings are wed to the grammar topics so much that it is difficult to teach using material geared for this very purpose, in my opinion at least. If we unhinge that idea, then we become free.

      I am thinking about proposing 3 levels, beginner, intermediate and advanced. These are inaccurate titles, but parents in my district would go crazy if their sweet darlings were in the novice level for their entire career, which according to ACTFL, most of them would be. It is very possible that the intermediate class could be taught along with the upper level with some scaffolding if the students were really closer to the top of the level or more like beginners if they were a bit slower.

      I’m really just throwing around ideas here. My admins are willing to think differently about how we deliver our FL and are interested in the idea of proficiency ratings. Right now in my school a student can take up to 5 years of a language. Most only take 3. The attrition rate from 3-4 in all languages is at least 50%. The reasons why are hard to pin down.

      I have been teaching six classes for some time now. I teach levels called Latin I, II, III, advanced poetry/prose. I also travel between a middle school and a high school. This schedule is very difficult and I am trying to find a way to ease up my struggles. I’m just thinking about how can I provide the same quality, but with less work for me.

      Is it possible or am I thinking crazy. I’d love some thoughts.


    2. Jim,
      Also, they cannot afford to lose the continuity and continued input. Two of my Spanish IIIs from last year said that their biggest regret year as seniors is that they did not take Sp IV. All of the Sp IVs have made gains in the language. These two realize how much they have lost.

      Hopefully, your administration will recognize your willingness and resourceful in trying to do what is best for the students.

  9. Robert Harrell

    There are some great comments in this thread, so I’ll just toss out some comments.

    One of the topics that people touched on was the difference in maturity level. While it aligns to a degree with years in the language it is not a 1:1 correspondence, and I believe we need to separate the two idea when we discuss the practicality of combining levels. If I were teaching in a college or university or teaching adult learners, I think I could do away with the idea of levels entirely. In both cases the students are sufficiently mature to concentrate on acquisition and be able to focus. In high school the maturity level between freshmen and seniors is tremendous.

    On the one hand, I find it advantageous to have some sophomores and a junior or two in the first-year class. They bring a balance to the general “squirreliness” of the freshmen. Since all are just starting out in the language, the cognitive distance between the two maturity levels is not so great. (I am thinking, though, of challenging some of my faster processors and more mature students to continue with language acquisition in the summer; if they keep acquiring through self-guided input, I could bump them up a level – e.g. from level 1 to level 3 – for the following year. Two students did that last year, at it has worked well for them; they were significantly more mature and committed than the rest of their classmates and have thoroughly enjoyed being juniors in a class of seniors.) So, there are distinct advantages to having a class with mixed maturity levels.

    On the other hand, I give my third and fourth-year students a great deal more autonomy, and we deal with significantly weightier subjects in third and fourth years, so trying to address these subjects in a “mixed-level” class would be difficult. (As noted, though, every class is mixed level; the only question is how disparate the levels can be and still work in our individual settings.)

    I already do a rotating curriculum for third and fourth years. My master teacher taught me how to do it, and I cannot imagine trying to have split classes in which I teach “level 3” some of the time, then go over to the “level 4” students, and then move on the the AP students. Burnout would be achieved in no time at all.

    As I write this I find that I am ambivalent and undecided about a combined first and second year class. I believe it could work but see hindrances in the public school setting, so I’m not sure how successful I would be in implementing it. If schools continue to have benchmarks that are not aligned to the research, it will be impossible for most teachers.

    I hope we continue the discussion.

    1. I’m going to inherit kids in high school Chinese 2, 3 & 4 levels taught by another teacher… I was considering teaching 3 & 4 from the same materials (The Lady in the Painting and a movie, plus some other thing for semester 2 – I have a variety of readers in mind), and seeing if I can take the Chinese 4 students further with it. But I will also be seeing how their acquisition really is first, so teaching 3 and 4 (which are separate classes) from the same format might be totally appropriate anyway. My sense from meeting the kids was that things from Chinese 1/2 had not stuck with them; they looked familiar but they thought their teacher was required not to re-test previous material (?) so they didn’t recycle earlier content so much. They also have used probably the best but still not-good textbook for Chinese, Integrated Chinese. At least that one has more interesting things to read, and more of them.

      I’m talking with the dept. chair (who is a CI teacher and very happy that I will be more so than their current teacher) on Wednesday of this week. One thing I want to ask is if I may do that: use the same plan for 3 & 4, and enrich 4 more as needed.

      I’d love advice about what to talk with her about. The idea of rotating 3/4 content (beginning in my second year there) is very appealing… being able to allow 2 slots in which kids could choose Chinese would also be wonderful. One of their upcoming seniors wasn’t sure he could continue in Chinese 4 because of scheduling.

  10. We have been rotating a 2/3 schedule and a 4/5 schedule so that more kids have access to language classes. In a small school if I didn’t allow mixed levels I would lose students because they wouldn’t be able to fit “Spanish 2” in their schedule. SADLY my new principal finds this “too confusing” and wants to eliminate it. I hope that parents join me in protest. We also encourage our “better” students to skip Level 2 or 3 in order to give them the challenge that they crave. Again the principal is too confused about how that works. Sigh. We have loved the mixed groups.

    I do agree, however, that maturity, especially in Levels 4/5 can be a problem. I used to discuss more “serious” topics in Level 4/5, but if I have too many sophomores it simply doesn’t work. This year in my 9th period class I have 4 very bright, high achieving sophomores, but they are young, innocent and very tender hearted. I simply cannot watch Voces Inocentes or use some of the novels because of this with that group.

    Also…..MUCH of what I do is the “same” lesson adapted for Levels 1- 4…..particularly when using pictures, Movie Talk, current events, etc. Not everything, but whenever I can.

    with love,

  11. I had the ideal situation last year with three classes: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I was able to move kids into the right places, for the most part, except for some who were booked into a level lower than their ability, but that worked out well for them. As we’ve mentioned before, working below your level means you acquire more of the language and can pick up new vocabulary quickly.

    This year, I have two classes of 1-2, and two completely mixed classes. One has more upper-level (AP included), and the other has more rowdy kids. It’s given me a new challenge. It’s hard to have the level 2’s in with level 1 at the very beginning, because level 1 needs to learn a new alphabet.

    Still, I agree completely that mostly the classes aren’t so far apart; they are all at the novice or intermediate level, with a few reaching into intermediate high for brief moments. They need a lot more input, so all the lessons can be based on the same overall plan if I’m being honest. I just don’t usually do that!

    What is very good about this system, as others have mentioned, is that kids aren’t locked out of a Russian class because it’s only offered once, against Calculus or Organic Chemistry. They have at least two options, and level 2 kids have four times they can come in with no problem.

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