Some SLA Terms Defined

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9 thoughts on “Some SLA Terms Defined”

  1. I think you should just go get your PhD and take your game to the university level, Eric. You are eminently more qualified to be working in university settings than all but a few of the people working in those institutions, and I mean worldwide.

    1. Thank you, Ben. Your words mean so much to me.
      I don’t know if I could ever leave the elementary game, because I like the challenge.
      We need more kids getting TCI/TPRS as their first contact with FL classes!

      1. You could still go for the PhD to increase your influence, even if you never move away from the elementary game.
        The belief out there is that if kids just start younger we will cure monolingualism. We know that elementary must be full of CI to make it (fully?) effective. That voice needs to be heard by the widest possible audience.
        Not saying the PhD is the best route, nor that you should leave the classroom. But if anyone can, you could stand with a foot in each world.

  2. Look at Bob Patrick. The PhD has opened lots of doors for him. A part time gig at U of Georgia and thus influence there. A SE Region ACTFL winner and only a few teachers away from ACTFL Teacher of the Year. A gig at Oxford and Cambridge on CI, etc. The only thing that concerns me with Eric is those tattoos on his arms. I hope they are facing out so he can share all that research with the people he would educate at the university level.

  3. Eric’s PhD degree should come with a full ride. From who? Koch brothers? Kickstarter? Donor’s Choose? Some day, when critics ask, “What’s the source of your info?” and we say, “None other than Eric Herman,” the room will fall silent.

  4. Acquired competence
    This week I had a student talk to me about es and esta in Spanish. He has not been taught rules for these but has only heard he is and he is located or feeling. He pretty much came up with so many differences, that I used to teach with rules, all on his own. It was so cool to see that he had picked up all of that through use. I never even compare the two in class but use them as 2different structures.

  5. “Fluency involves making the best use of what you already know. At every stage of language proficiency right from the very beginning lessons, you need to be fluent in using what you have already learnt.” – Nation, 2014
    The best way to develop fluency (speed with accuracy/understanding) is to spend a lot of time with easy graded content, i.e. extended listening and reading. That means the content should be well within a person’s linguistic competence. What then happens is that lower identification skills such as decoding and word recognition (sight words) and maybe even some lower-level comprehension processes (e.g. activating background knowledge and identifying important elements) are automatized and free up attentional resources for higher-level comprehension processes and thus cause better comprehension.
    TPR, TPRS, and MovieTalk are forms of Extended Listening.
    Extended Listening, like extended reading, means the content is “graded” (aka “leveled”) and a lot of time is invested.
    Graded means that vocabulary and grammar are controlled:
    – There are only a certain number of different word families per level.
    – These word families are prioritized by frequency lists.
    – Each level intends to provide lots of repetition of the same words.
    – Lower levels have shorter sentences and simpler grammatical structures.
    The time invested comes from both day-to-day frequency and occurs over the long-term.

  6. I’ve been working on a different sort of argument for a comprehensible-input based approach. . .
    Comprehension First: Is it commonsense that comprehension precedes production? How many people have we heard say “I understand more than I can say”? A lot.
    What would it mean if someone could produce something they cannot understand, assuming the input was slow and clear? The only way that would be possible would be if the person were applying rules and memorized vocabulary to their output such that they could say something they couldn’t understand if they heard or read it. Thus, if you can’t comprehend it, it is a sign that you have not acquired it.
    And doing such monitoring means that the aspect has NOT been acquired, i.e. it is not unconsciously produced. Without sufficient input, a person would be condemned to conscious learning processes, having no “sense” for language order and patterns. Isn’t it then clear that comprehension first and foremost must take place before effortless output can occur?
    If not convinced yet, then consider monitored output: Does it directly improve comprehension? For sake of argument, let’s say that your own output does improve comprehension (due to auto-input). Is this auto-input method practice the best way to improve comprehension? What would be the best way to improve comprehension? Learning grammar rules? Memorizing vocabulary? . . . How about the obvious time-on-task principle: we learn to comprehend by comprehending.

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