Laurie offers a perfect image to help us understand what our students experience in our CI classrsooms:
For [our] students, students, [L2] is a giant green screen. [L2] is green. “New” [L2] and “old” [L2] are all green and cannot be separated in their minds. On the other hand, acquired [L2] is now a recognizable color.
When these words/structures [are acquired], then real images start to appear, and to connect and begin to form something recognizable! When too many “green” words appear in a story or a reading, they are invisible and the story gets lost.
It is like a person wearing a “green suit” in front of a “green screen” who is virtually invisible to the television audience. When a story is made up of “visible” words, it is comprehensible, visible, and best of all useable !
The problem is that, because we ourselves have acquired so much more language, we can “see” all those images appearing on the screen as part of the story, but our students can only see the images that they have acquired. It is hard for us to see their screen. That is why it is so important for them to tell us when they are lost, and for us to do frequent, useful comprehension checks.
The Problem with CI
Jeffrey Sachs was asked what the difference between people in Norway and in the U.S. was. He responded that people in Norway are happy and
1 thought on “The Green Screen”
Laurie, this is a wonderful image! I’m teaching my native language, so it’s often hard for me to realize that my students aren’t getting it, and when I see the deer in the headlights look, to figure out where the problem is. Sometimes a sentence that seems very simple to me, where I’m sure they know all the vocabulary, leaves them blank, then I realize that it doesn’t make sense to them because there’s no “that”. To French speakers “The boy I saw” is just four words stuck together. “The boy that I saw” has meaning. I’m going to keep your green screen image in mind to help me try to see what they’re seeing.