Targetless Instruction – 19

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6 thoughts on “Targetless Instruction – 19”

  1. I started out this year with the intent in following Ann Lambert’s model of using structures that correlate with the reading. But somehow this idea has evolved into jumping straight into read and discuss mode. I took your bell work idea of doing SSR at the beginning of class. Then we go into proverbs reading and prayer (catholic school) followed by the letter, word, and refrain of the day. After this we listen to the song of the week. I won’t be able to say exactly how this is going to work out until the end of the school year. But my early impression is that the language flow seems more natural. Also, there seems to be more of focus on structure than vocabulary compared to last year. I hope this makes some sense because it is the end of the day and I am tired. Chao

  2. “By offering learners exposure to carefully selected language, and by equipping them to analyze that language for themselves, we are enlisting the learners help. There is no longer an appearance that learning is dependent on teacher control. The most dynamic element in the process is the learner’s creativity. By exploiting rather than stifling that creativity, we make learning vastly more efficient. Most important of all, we shifted the responsibility for learning onto the learner.
    http://www.cels.bham.ac.uk/resources/LexSyllabus/lexsch8.pdf
    http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/forum-topic/taking-a-lexical-approach

  3. I am no longer teaching in a classroom. Most of my students are adults or older teenagers. They are sometimes very weak in English but they are not true beginners. Over the last few years I’ve found that using a film as my “textbook” is what helps them progress the most. Those high frequency structures? Well, they just keep popping up. So we PQA them and talk about ourselves and the characters in the film. Do I get in 75 repetitions? No, not the first time. But because they ARE high frequency, theu come up again and again. I see this as non-targeted CI. Our focus is on the film and its story and I use circling and PQA to help them feel more comfortable with what they are hearing and reading (TL subtitles).

    What I find surprising is that some structures that I wouldn’t have thought vital to target, keep turning up again and again. “Looks like” is one example. Instead of deciding what I think needs to be “targeted” I let the story and my students show me what they need to work on. This is quite similar to the DOGMA approach. I wish someone who was more theoretical and abstract than me would look into DOGMA. It seems to have a lot in common with what we are trying to do.

    1. Steven Ordiano

      Judy, I felt like my time in France was similar. There were interesting texts, politics, films and cultural factoids that I spoke about with my friends in Bordeaux of 05-06 while the university was occupied by the students (read CPE).

      My take on it: Due to the confines of the classroom and time there should be (but not mandatory) to target HF structures. However, it becomes slippery-slope because some HF chunks are not apparent.

      Ex: When I take a story and “retell” it my way — I slip in a “en fait” (in fact) when my kids have never heard that word before. I am going out of bounds but I am in the moment and talking to them naturally.

      It is so hard to measure acquisition. I had a look at my last freewrites from my students and they are rockin’! I think that it is due to the reading that they do. Some students even read to their parents at home!

      Lately, I have been doing some non-targeted stories. I feel that the engagement is there. I see the students eyes light up. Is there a correlation to non-targeting CI and engagement? In my very limited experience there is.

      So as students get a good base, I feel that non-targeted CI can happen (and should) because it encourages student engagement. Also, students feel part of a learning community. We celebrate communication. In the end, the HF structures keep popping up anyway without intention, subconsciously.

    2. Judy said:

      …instead of deciding what I think needs to be “targeted” I let the story and my students show me what they need to work on….

      That pretty much sums up how I see the entire untargeted vs. targeted discussion, right there in one sentence.

  4. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Is there a time and place for targeting/non-targeted? Also, do some Ts go overboard with insisting on transparency, thereby denying i + 1? Is that who Dr. K is referring to? To my mind, Dr. Krashen’s article about non-targeted that was posted was about avoiding a grammar or vocab-set-heavy syllabus. At least that’s how I read it.
    For beginners who don’t know anything, we must start very narrow. How do we start narrow? By ‘warming up their ears’ to the sounds of the new TL – with (pre-determined) hi-freq items.
    Yes the hi-freq stuff – from verbs to transition words, pronouns, etc will come up naturally anyway. But for time’s sake, we try to get lotsa reps and familiarity with them – we want them understood so that we can start to accessorize. Trying to spin a decent story just with those can be stifling, but for many of us who teach Romance languages, we enjoy a smorgasboard of cognates to embellish with. (Not to mention proper nouns – people & places).
    For those who teach real beginners through all of level 1, the first few months/50+? hours have to have intentional reps of the words that are going to come up again & again. This is a cornerstone of the strategies. That isn’t to say you won’t need a low freq ‘distractor’ to make the story great (my lil ones love rompe = break/s; & grita = shout/s). But the bread & butter of the story/text is written with language learners in mind – circumlocuted to stay in bounds, exploiting the most common and flexible words.
    I say we go back over some of our home run stories and scan the language therein. It’s mostly controlled & Hi-Freq, I’ll bet, with a few firecrackers for fun. We mix tenses, persons, transitions, rejoinders – that, to me is non-targeted (and more natural) too – targeted doesn’t (IMO) mean 100% scripted.
    What we saw when Blaine was here w/our young novices was definitely targeting. He feels strongly that the Hi-freq verbs are the right place to start, and I agree.
    When I write an oral story (after the fact), I still go back over it and count how many different verbs. I try to limit the #, reduce/circumlocute non-cognate distractors. I comprehen-sify when I speak and write. New stuff sneaks in. I bring it in bounds. It’s what we do.

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