Ted Talk

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9 thoughts on “Ted Talk”

  1. Do you all think this video is over the heads for freshmen, sophomores and or juniors?

    I was wondering if I could show the principles part to my new (and old) students on our “mock” first day to communicate the why of what we will do all year.

    1. I saw this video this morning and showed it to my middle school kids (instead of watching some random cartoon movie in Spanish). I just paused and asked questions and explained things. It went really well and the kids understood it.

  2. Can anyone clarify action number 7? I have my own take on it, but I’m not sure I grasped what the speaker meant.

    Very informative and accurate video! Probably the best I’ve seen on the subject. Good news for the future here! Thank you so much for posting! Actually motivates me personally and professionally at the end of this school year and beginning of my summer time.

    1. Leah, I understood this as making sure that we are connecting words with pictures in our heads, i.e. mental representation, and then he goes on to say it should be in a variety of contexts (his “fire” example). We do this in stories, because vocabulary items that comes up are typically tied with imagery from the “movie in our head”. He says we should avoid the repetitious memorization route, and opt for giving ourselves many exposures to words in a variety of ways.

      I also found this motivating personally, and I particularly like his explanation of facial muscles and imitating them in order to physiologically prepare ourselves for the task of extended communication in the FL. I had never thought to point that out to students…. if you’re it right your face will be sore… might resonate a bit more with our strength-training students.

    2. Hi Leah,
      Another piece of what Lonsdale said was that it’s important to get rid of translation (once you know the meaning of the word). For example, table, mesa, stol, and Tisch don’t have any real relationship except the image of a table in my head. So instead of translating between unrelated words in my head, it’s better just to see the fire and create a new pathway to it via the new language. “Direct-connect” the fire and the new word, without using the old path from L1. This is especially helpful when two words that seemed to be the same initially turn out to be slightly different in meaning. It’s not hard to change the image in your mind to match your new understanding, but if you go through L1, years of experience may cause you to resist the differences in the new language. (I’ve seen students get upset about this in grammar/translation oriented classes.)

    3. Another aspect of this is his use of the term “image.” “Image” in this use is more than a visual image. It is a multisensory representation in the mind. It includes sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, emotions, and probably kinesthetics. In Chris Lonsdale’s words, “…everything you know is an image inside your mind, it’s feelings. If you talk about fire, you can smell the smoke, you can hear the crackling, you can see the flames.”

      Asher’s TPR directly connects actions and things to the L2 sounds. This has practical limitations since we can only have so many things in a classroom and because so many words cannot be acted out. Blaine got around this by using gesturing. The key is that the L2 sound does not have to be connected to the physical world (a la Asher). It has to be tied to the multisensory image in the brain. And that is what gesturing does. It mediates between the sound and the “image” without recourse to our native language.

      Look and Discuss ties right into this also, tying description to visual image. So does one word image: as students describe something based on their “image,” comparing and contrasting theirs with the “image” the class is creating.

  3. Wow! What a great video. I love the term brain soaking. I watch TV in Spanish and the first few minutes I am tuning my ears to the language.

    He said “It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to work.” This was something that I saw in one of Ben’s videos. A girl was giving a retell and she had some mistakes but Ben’s reply was perfect. He then explained that we need to redefine perfect. I so agree with these sayings and both will be used in my classroom.

    The last thing that really stood out was his remark about a safe environment. This comes from the work of creating community in the classroom. But there is also the idea of no correction, just restating the sentence correctly. This takes away pointing out what is wrong to celebrating what is right.

  4. Kyle – Thanks for the feedback! Since it worked for your MSers I will give it a go with my kids tomorrow. I think it’s a perfect way to introduce them to things tomorrow. I might just cut out the beginning…. I will definitely pause and explain and discuss throughout.

  5. Action #5, Get a language parent. Robert referred us to Greg Thomson’s article about the Growing Participator Approach, also about independent language learning. Thomson refers to the language parent as the “nurturer.” Both terms remind us of the type of role we are trying to play in the CI classroom. We are the caregivers, nurturers and language parents.

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