Teach for June

Natural targeting is a term I just created. It’s what we do in the Ultimate CI approach. What is it?

Instead of pulling targets from word lists in textbooks (semantic sets, thematic units, high frequency verb lists, etc.) and then testing our students every few weeks as we do now, we use the questioning levels in Phase 1 to generate our targets naturally.

When teachers target word lists in the textbooks, student interest immediately devolves and boredom immediately sets in. There is a feeling in the room that you “need” the students to learn the words, which is deadly in a CI class.

Teachers don’t seem to want to pay attention to the fact that only student-generated input can keep kids interested. They should pay attention. It’s a huge error. When the kids generate their own content, it’s a wholly different CI game, big time.

So when the targets occur naturally as a result of the questioning level process in Phase 1, the targets are being created by the students, not the textbook company. Some people think of this as “non-targeting” but it is much more accurately termed “natural targeting”,

All that is needed to effectuate this superior kind of targeting  is to stop testing students on such a frequent basis. Just do the right thing of simply waiting for all the CI to accumulate over the months. This has always been a common principle of good CI instruction, as coined in 2004 by Blaine Ray as “Teaching for June”.

If CI departments make that huge decision to delay frequent (weekly or monthly) testing, they are guaranteed much higher proficiency scores at the end of the year due to the fact that doing this natural targeting results in so much greater student interest in the tableau and story creation process. It’s purely applied Krashen, if you will.  Not to mention the time saved from all the stupid testing.

The delay of formative testing is what the research indicates is best for real proficiency gains.

Teach for June. Use Natural Targeting. Don’t be stuck in the past, even if the colleagues in your department don’t want to change. In all seriousness, the change we’re in right now is going to demand trained people in CI*. Others need not apply. And it’s coming faster than most of us think.

*Many people will SAY that they are trained in CI, but if they are still trying to mix CI with words lists and the textbook, they aren’t truthful. CI means what we describe above. Understand the difference.



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