VanPatten Videos

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64 thoughts on “VanPatten Videos”

    1. VanPatten is definitely about CI. But I don’t get why he doesn’t call it that. Did he even say “comprehensible input” once in those videos? Is he trying to separate himself from Krashen for whatever reason?

    2. Oh. And Krashen is referring to VanPatten’s Processing Instruction (PI). VanPatten has shown that he can get a form acquired by input manipulation – by making the subject focus on meaning, but a correct response requires the correct form. I think we do something similar by getting tons of reps of a grammatical structure while we focus on meaning. PI is for overcoming those faulty strategies we have for interpreting input. Totally impractical to design. And painful. And it only focuses on 1 form at a time. The research has important theoretical implications (VanPatten and other researchers of PI have shown PI to lead to acquisition, while drills and other practice not, except for a study I read in which subjects completed a meaning-based output version of PI). But I don’t think a methodology is supposed to be based on PI and from what I’ve read, VanPatten would agree with that statement.

      1. Eric wrote…”But I don’t think a methodology is supposed to be based on PI and from what I’ve read, VanPatten would agree with that statement.”

        In that Muses article VP refers to himself as “the lone scientist in the department.” He is interested in how language grows in the mind/brain…and the implications for language instruction.

        I am not a scientists per se…I want to get to the best results of student learning and then make it better. I wish VP was involved in our work so we can get that scientific articulation of what we are doing… That Muses article is pompous.

      1. I started reading one of his books, Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen. I borrowed it from a colleague and she needed it back. What stood out to me was that language is not acquired by taking a linguistic rule-based approach, but to use language to accomplish authentic communicative tasks. E.g., asking Joe, “What is your name, Joe?” is either humorous or ludicrous. Asking Joe what his Dad’s name is authentic, because we do not have that information. The idea that I remember is the use of a survey as a tool for students to discover and (perhaps quantify) information about each other. I cannot say how much of this is teacher CI, nor do I recall what he does to establish meaning. It could be similar to our circling of student interests activities. If we were to quantify our findings that would increase an authentic use of numbers.

        Maybe I can borrow the book again and learn some more.

  1. I posted these videos to moreTPRS. I made the same comments made here to Mike Coxon who then asked the listserv why VP doesn’t mention CI or TPRS. Krashen responded:

    “Here is why:
    1. Scholars won’t mention me for two reasons: (a) they don’t want to be criticized/attacked. (b) the reviewers of the book or article insist on this. I know of many cases like this. It has even happened to people you know.
    2. TPRS. Many have never heard of it. They only read one or two journals, and talk to each other.
    There might soon be a big change in journals and accesibility – this is good: Harvard University says it can’t afford journal publishers’ prices

    Michele, you ought to go in and share with moreTPRS how VP will have an ACTFL webinar and how he has been introduced to TPRS.

  2. I remember being at ACTFL a few years ago in Philly. There was a round table discussion that a few of us TPRS folks attended and I remember us being very excited by the conversation. Richard Donato from the University of Pittsburgh was leading the discussion with another heavy hitter from academia. They were very concerned about the linguistic abilities – or lack thereof – of their student teacher candidates. They seemed to be talking the talk, but nothing seems to have come out of it. I remember that we were very excited because they were saying all the right things. I also remember on of our group cautioned us that it may have just been that – talk. Ben do you remember the conversation we had with Jody on the way to Breckenridge? She said that ACTFL will interpret their position statements,and use them in the classroom as interpreted through their own prism. As a result, we think we are all on the same page, when we are really not. It’s been a few years since that chat, but Eric’s question seems to have touched a nerve. I have no way of knowing whether all the people who are calling for an answer to his question are TCI/TPRS/PLC people or not. I will take the fact that you are getting encouraging emails privately, that some people outside our group may be waking up to the possibility of at least asking for an answer.

  3. For those going to ACTFL later this week: I noticed there’s a panel from the Research Special Interest Group led by Bill VanPatten. I’m curious about the Research SIG so I’m going. Plus, sounds like someone teaching Chinese is using INPUT. I like seeing that.

    Also, just learned of Carol Gaab’s list of CI-friendly presentations, which I see includes those by PLC members Bob Patrick, Michele Whaley, and myself (did I miss anyone?):

    ACTFL Research SIG Panel I
    Fri, 11/21: 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
    Grand Hyatt
    Room: Crockett B
    This panel presents three papers showcasing the variety of interests in the Research SIG. “The Teaching of Linguistic Form: Using PACISODE to Teach Foreign Language Grammar”, “SLA Knowledge and Language Instruction: Are we Putting the Cart Before the Horse?”, “Investigating Learners’ Comprehension of the Chinese Passive Structure: An Application of the Input Processing Model.”
    Session Presenter(s)
    Manuela Gonzalez-Bueno, University of Kansas
    Le Anne Spino, Michigan State University
    Xiaofei Pan, The University of Iowa
    Bill VanPatten, Michigan State University

  4. VanPatten featured in AATSP:

    That led me to this 2-page article on VP:

    ” ‘I think it’s [language acquisition] much more like child language acquisition, where what happens is that you have stuff in your mind/brain that organizes language independently of anything else you do; instruction or practice.’ Van Patten says that in learning a language, what you need to do is process stuff from the input. You need to process language that you hear and read. And, in processing that language, you get data that you need and the linguisticism builds up over time.”

    While VP did invent “processing instruction,” he is far from the first SLA researcher to argue SLA happens the same as first language acquisition! The article made it seem like VP is the first one to argue that.

  5. I sent this message to VP today since I had a few minutes. In that Muses article I was little taken back by his comment, “Leaving all humility aside, the field I work in is the field I founded (referring to Input processing).” I get that IP is his baby but come on…I didn’t much humility aside 🙂

    Professor VanPatten,

    I recently came across your article from Muses 2014. Once again I enjoyed a lot of the information you shared.

    In our Professional Learning Community (300+ teachers) your work plays a significant role in many of our discussions. I am a practitioner of TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). Much of what you discuss is manifested in the modern versions of TPRS or TCI as we often use (Teaching with Comprehensible Input). Many teachers seem to be familiar with the older TPR (Asher) or even the old acronym of TPRS (Total Physical Response Storytelling).

    I wanted to extend an invitation to you for 2 of our INPUT-based teaching workshops that take place in July. They change locations every year around the US. I am not affiliated with these conferences other than as a participate and sessions presenter. This year they take place in the Midwest and the east coast area.

    1. iFLT-International Forum on Foreign Language Teaching (Carol Gaab-St. Paul, Minnesota) which takes place the middle of July 14-17. This a great conference because of the language learning labs. Attendees can watch teachers teaching actual students in a variety of languages at various levels. In addition, various teachers present on a variety of SLA topics but in the context of classroom implementation.

    NTPRS-National Teaching Proficiency and Storytelling Conference (Blaine Ray-outisde of Washington D.C) which takes place the last week of July 20-24. This conference is larger and has a variety of presenters and language learning demonstrations by expert TPRS practitioners. You might appreciate the intellectual type of discussions at a conference like this one.

    Your work and advocacy has been a great addition to the perspectives of Stephen Krashen who often participates in these conferences as well. I am sure you are super busy but I wanted to make sure you were aware of the concentrated efforts of thousands of teachers that are involved in advocacy for INPUT-based instruction.

    Hasta pronto,

    Michael Coxon
    TPRS practitioner

    1. Way to go, making the connections, Mike. I think that it is the connectedness that has been building over the years that sustains this. It is so easy to yield to the multitude of distractions, novelties, insecurities and oppositions. But it is not about us versus them. It is about them versus them. Let’s keep making connections.

    2. VanPatten is amenable…he’s coming to Alaska in September (as far as I know, having been in on the early negotiations). Maybe some of you want to blitz up to Anchorage for our conference??? Ben??? We’d love to have you!

      I’m pretty sure he’s doing the keynote opening and a follow-up, hands-on session.

  6. Alisa Shapiro

    Maybe it’s time to book Van Patten to speak at one/both of the big summer conferences, so that we can address him directly and he can attend sessions & Learning Labs…could be great for his research, but also great for us…how bout a moderated discussion panel w/Krashen and Van Patten? Talk about Prime Time!!

  7. Alisa Shapiro

    Oh PLCers who understand research design –
    Please help me understand VP’s research/position. I read some of his research.
    It seems to me like with PI he’s:
    1. Trying to dispel/interfere with the Natural Order;
    2. Advocating for focusing on grammar (which comes at the expense of more input;)
    3. Claiming to successfully manipulate the unconscious Universal Grammar or Language Acquisition Device

    Also, it looks like his ‘results’ don’t stick when he retests after a period of time…!!
    Having trouble understanding why this part of his research is important/credible/worthwhile.

      1. Alisa Shapiro

        I googled ‘Van Patten Processing Instruction’:

        These are not the most recent of articles, but I was dabbling to try to understand…it’s very difficult content for me…
        On the one hand I love what he says in his MSU videos about the complexity of acquisition. Phonological systems, syntax, morphology, meaning…a lot is going on in the acquirer’s brain!!
        I do believe he is in our court on the subconscious/unconscious, too. But then why in the heck is he busying himself with this PI line of research? What am I missing?

        1. VP’s demonstrated that we can acquire a grammatical aspect via manipulated input-based instruction. And that input instruction led to comprehension and production, while a mix of drills and communicative output instruction only develops production. There are studies comparing PI to MOBI (meaningful output based instruction) and these output-based groups do make similar gains to PI, but then it is unclear whether it’s the output or the input the subjects are getting from others in the MOBI groups. The point of his work is to overcome faulty processing strategies (see his input processing principles listed in Appendix A of the 2003 article I shared).

          My take on VP’s work is that his PI studies are theoretical – he’s shown that input alone leads to acquisition. I do not think he is recommending PI be a method in the classroom, except perhaps for 1 tool for more advanced acquirers who want to fill their acquisition gaps and in order to do so they need to overcome faulty processing.

          The point is: acquisition is input-dependent. The point is NOT to suggest a comprehensive teaching method. VP is absolutely someone we need to get on our side, especially since he is a contemporary respected figure in SLA.

          1. As Krashen would say, just give ’em more comprehensible input and what L2 can be acquired from input, will be acquired.

            I’m not sure whether VP thinks extensive CI is enough to overcome faulty processing. Maybe he thinks processing instruction is necessary in order to achieve more accurate acquisition of some items.

            VP is not without critics. DeKeyser is the main name I see who is a proponent of skill-building and who has a different interpretation of VP’s results.

      2. Chris Stolz shared a great article on the Forum a while back titled “The Evidence is IN: Drills are OUT” (2003). I have uploaded it to my google drive so I can share it here:

        I also recommend reading “The Two Faces of SLA: Mental Representation and Skill” (2010).

    1. VP and associates have since shown that excluding the explicit grammar step originally included in Processing Instruction yields the same results. And there are studies that use delayed testing that do support PI.

      Of course, one problem with much of SLA research and maybe even VP’s research has to do with the quality of the assessment. Was it designed to measure implicit knowledge (acquisition) or explicit knowledge (learning) or does it allow a mixture of both?

      1. I think Eric’s point about how VP’s careful research now suggests that the explicit grammar step can now be called into question speaks to the heart of the matter here. Over his career, Van Patten has written plenty of prose and given many a classroom or conference presentation praising the things this group stands for. But he also has another extremely important side to his CV that pays allegiance to that one thing some people in education overlook – science. Taking in the sweep of the empirical studies of Van Patten and associates, you’ll see a pattern of investigation that slowly chips away at a narrow, focused group of questions on how SLA occurs. That’s how science (especially science that involves the way the mind acquires language) works. It is slow and deliberate, there is a lot of back and forth debate, critique, and counter critique, and, as Eric pointed out, there is progress as well. I don’t spend a lot of time reading in that side of SLA, but I admire it immensely and salute VP for his seriously awesome efforts to that end.

        On my end, I’ve recently discovered a passage in a Steve Thorne article that connects Mihály Csíkszentmihályi to Lev Vygotsky (a point that I also believe is highly pertinent to this group). That leads to a completely different set of questions for scientific inquiry to grapple with that I’m sure would thrill the likes of VP but for which he has precious little time to pursue – we only have one lifetime, and it can be precariously short.

        1. Maybe VP has some grad students who could go into that line of inquiry, Mark. The ZPD and the concept of flow, which Krashen talks about as well, certainly have their commonalities, except that they get fuzzy rather fast, don’t they, in terms of what can be measured? In that sense I think of both Csíkszentmihályi and Vygotsky kind of like Carl Jung, kind of “out there” and easily rejected by the more conservative science wing of the early days of depth psychology. It’s just so easy to reject something if it can’t be measured, right? Could that be the reason VP doesn’t go there, and not really because of a lack of time? In fact, is it possible that the general malaise expressed here about VP is that our work looks at language as possibly larger than science with all sorts of things going on that can’t be measured empirically? Is VP sticking too much to science and trying to fit something that can’t be measured into something that can be measured?

          1. Ben,

            I was reading a little more about Vygostky. I once had a colleague try to argue against Krashen and TPRS by referencing Vygotsky. This was an attempt to support the teacher presents the lesson and student practice mentality. He felt TPRS depended too much on the performance of the teacher.

            One way I see Vygotsky being helpful to learning languages is for perhaps giving credit to ACTFL’s modes of communication. Vygotsky would have been a TPRSer for sure!

      2. As I feared, VP’s way of assessing his PI instruction has been challenged. I’m not sure VP’s research allows for conclusions to be drawn about the relative effects implicit (acquisition) and explicit (learning) instruction have on implicit and explicit knowledge. When I talk about “acquired competence” I am talking about what CAN be done with implicit knowledge. In other words, VP’s studies may not tell us anything about what has been acquired.

        “The last point to make concerning the PI studies reported here and elsewhere is that it suffers from a research design problem that currently plagues all studies of the effects of different types of L2 instruction. The outcome measures that are typically used are not valid for testing whether the underlying system has been changed in any way (Doughty, 2003; Norris & Ortega, 2000).

        “In other words, the kind of knowledge that they test is metalinguistic, declarative knowledge about language. This is a harsh criticism which is not unique to PI studies, and which must be made of practically all effects of instruction research. Table 13.4 displays the measures employed in the four studies reported in this section. Of these, only the video retelling task used by Sanz can be considered valid. Since the aim of PI is to assist learners in processing input so that it becomes intake for acquisition, then the ultimate test of the effectiveness of PI (or any other kind of instruction) has to include a valid measure (or measures) of SLA (Morris & Ortega, 2000). We must turn our attention in instructed SLA research to resolving this thorny problem.” – Doughty, 2004, p. 269-270

        1. Look at her go!!! This is Doughty from another book on PI of the same year – 2004. These are the same things Krashen has been preaching!!!

          “More specifically, all that can be said at present is that, when the outcome of very short-term, explicitly focused instruction is measured on language manipulation tasks, it has proven effective. Like any other type of memorized knowledge, L2 knowledge learned in this way would be expected quickly to be forgotten. Furthermore, although not enough studies included delayed posttests, a few studies have shown that explicitly learned knowledge is indeed forgotten, unless the feature is subsequently encountered in the input for a period of time (Lightbown, Spada, & White, 1993; Spada & Lightbown, 1993).

          “In sum, the case for explicit instruction has been overstated. In addition, given that only 30% of studies have employed implicit pedagogic techniques, and that outcome measures have been severely biased toward constrained construction, language manipulation, and the assessment of declarative knowledge (90% of measures), any advantages for implicit instruction have likely been understated. In other words, under the present biased research conditions, any observed effects of implicit instruction are remarkable indeed!”
          (p. 198-199)

  8. Yeah I would like to know that too. What is the deal with Van Patten? Has he changed over the years? Back in the day I had three heroes when I was just learning about CI: Krashen, Van Patten, Vygotsky, whose Zone of Proximal development spoke directly to my heart. And I thought that VP was right in there with that idea, that language acquisition is a reciprocal and participatory process that requires human back and forth exchanges. Maybe I should go back and look at that video link again.

    1. Cherie Thomas

      “… I had three heroes when I was just learning about CI: Krashen, Van Patten, Vygotsky, whose Zone of Proximal development spoke directly to my heart.”

      YES!!!! When I first began researching language acquisition a few years ago, I first came across Krashen, and while it made perfect sense, my ego rejected it. His research meant that the years I spent putting my kids in groups, creating laborious and time consuming output activities that got my kids speaking from day one in my French class, thematic unit planning, etc. was all for nothing. That the awesome teacher I thought I was, was doing it all wrong. Then I came across the Zone of Proximal development, and I realized I had to put my ego aside and reread Krashen. That was it. Since then I have put all of my energy into learning as much about CI as I possibly can. I have made tons of mistakes this year, but I’m at least headed in the right direction. My entire perspective has changed. I know my kids better, I enjoy my job so much more, and my kids are not only acquiring this beautiful language, but they are feeling my passion for it too! They come into class telling me about the latest Stromae or Indila song, reading the Hunger Games in French, and speaking in French to each other outside of class just because. As much “fun” as my jigsaw activities used to be, they never inspired this level of commitment and joy for French from my kids.

      1. “I have put all of my energy into learning as much about CI as I possibly can. I have made tons of mistakes this year, but I’m at least headed in the right direction. My entire perspective has changed. I know my kids better, I enjoy my job so much more, and my kids are not only acquiring this beautiful language, but they are feeling my passion for it too! They come into class telling me about the latest Stromae or Indila song, reading the Hunger Games in French, and speaking in French to each other outside of class just because. As much “fun” as my jigsaw activities used to be, they never inspired this level of commitment and joy for French from my kids.”

        Music to my ears Cherie! Such a familiar statement about the change we’re all making.

        And, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the Proximal Development theory before. Vygotsky to read.

        1. Jim the way I see proximal development is how Mom’s gentle and loving face and soft words seeks to communicate with her baby. Are there softer words spoken anywhere than between a mom and her baby? And since the child is experiencing love, he is open to all the sounds from mom and wants to know what they mean and so language is acquired with all that loving and safe and soft eyes kind of input. It may not be exactly what Vygotsky had in mind, I don’t read research anymore since it’s all tattoeod on Eric’s arms, and for me when I think of Vygotsky I think of this image of a mom and a baby. It speaks to me since the element of lovingness is in there. I don’t think that LCI – Loving Comprehensible Input – will gain much traction with the scholars, and I bridged this topic with Krashen once and he dismissed me as soon as I “went there”, but I am a big believer in the role of love in all things, and so when we teach, if we smile and are loving, then naturally the kids, our babies, want to know what we mean. We don’t talk about that idea much here – it seems to be in some odd way off limits. But if there is one thing to convey to our students it is that life is meant to be happy and being in our classrooms can be a happy time in their day. A safe time. A time when they are honored over some textbook. THAT will bring the gains and all the strategies and all those things that we discuss so much here have far less importance than just conveying happiness to our kids. That’s what Mom does, and it seems to work. A three month old is already working on output at that age, because they want to (are inspired by love) and so they spit and try to form their mouth into speech and if our kids in class are given that same kind of safety in class, then we may know next to nothing about CI skills and strategies and still we will reach our students with the language. Is not the original Word connected to love? Is not language connected to love? It is. People have tried teaching language using only the mind, but it can’t be done. The heart and body are involved, because language lives everywhere in humans. We forget and misuse language like it’s something connected to us and how smart we are and look out for the test next Friday. And we lose our own happiness when teaching that way, so much up in the mind that we become sad and dislike our jobs and want to quit. It’s not easy to smile and be loving in every class, because we are all in such a broken system where trust is no longer in the buildings, and so we forget and thereby maintain the status quo of the last century, with all its violence, and we perpetuate the myth that language acquisition is all about thinking when it’s really about cheerfulness and acknowledging the inherent worthiness and value of ours students. Language acquisition is about giving our students permission to not be afraid. That is why those big wigs don’t get us. They work from a place of fear. But we, oddballs that we are, are now busily paving a major highway between the mind and the heart. Construction is now in full progress. With each class, no matter how shitty it is, if we are trying to use the language to communicate with our students in lighthearted ways, we pave a little more of the new highway. What is the difference between the highway we are building and the old cracked one next to it? It is that we try each day to learn to relax and enjoy communicating with our students and not merely to teach them something. I don’t even know that that means. A student learns a language because she wants to. It has nothing to do with thinking.

          1. Dude. LCI !!! Very nice. I consider my class a success when I feel happy and the students are smiling and laughing all while we spend the majority of time in L2.

            Counterintuitively, when we stop trying to “teach” the language and just use the language to interact in compelling conversation, then students develop more language proficiency. One of the reasons I’ve seen listed for why so many teachers and admin don’t buy into Extensive Reading in schools is because of the myth that learning requires the teacher to teach and thus the feeling that the teacher is not doing her job.

            There is another subtle layer to talking with our kids and not talking at them. Even when we know the kids will acquire when they focus on the message we can still get caught up talking to the kids in a manner and tone (a teacher voice) that gives the underlying message to the students that we are trying to teach something (words or grammar) rather than genuinely interact.

            I don’t know much about Vygotsky so does anyone have any recommended reading?

          2. Cherie Thomas

            I read about Vygotsky a couple of years ago while taking a course on Language Acquisition Theory. I can’t remember specific literature to recommend. What stood out to me about ZPD was the idea of all students being able to learn when met at their level and provided with the appropriate support structures. It just seemed so kind and respectful of the learner, and it brought me back to Krashens i+1. Others may not see it that way, and Ben was certainly much more eloquent in his description, but that is what what resonated with me and opened me up to Krashen and TPRS.

          3. Eric, a great little book on Vygotsky:

            Luis Moll, a leader in the Funds of Knowledge movement (everyone here should read all about the poignant cases of young learners coming up through the Tucson, AZ schools that he writes about in that book and elsewhere).

            LCI, Ben. That’s why I love you, and why the connection between Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (Flow psychology) and Vygotsky is such a fertile ground for exploration.

          4. Has anyone read Willingham’s essay in the latest Educator periodical? I read most of it, thought it was right on in so many ways, except for one detail: He suggests based on some study that SSR works best if the teacher keeps teaching (on an individual basis) while kids are reading. He brought up the historical suggestion that the teacher models reading, like we usually do, but then gave this other approach as a better one. I’m skeptical. Couldn’t find the study from the citations, and now can’t find my copy of the periodical.

            But, he DOES get into the science of rewards, which was really refreshing! And that our primary goal should be to get kids to want to read for pleasure.

          5. Ben LCI is such an important part of what we do.

            I agree with you about LCI not gaining much attention of by scholars or academics. When I talk to others about TPRS they are often surprised to hear that I know things about the lives of my students. I am sure this is the same for many of us. In fact, some think it is weird that I use Instagram or assign reading homework that involves parents and students showing me “selfie” photos. LCI is part of the transferring language…I guess Personalization could be synonymous with the L for us. It just means we care.

            Last year, when Blaine came to teach in our department I noticed something interesting. In one class, he zeroed in on a few students and just started talking to them about what I thought were random things. He started talking to a freshman girl that was really tall. She is probably about 6’2″ or 6”3”and at 15 probably self-conscious about being so tall. He ended up speaking to her about volleyball and later in the class and the story she honorably became the “voleibolista.” It was such an act of love that he did something like this…I am sure I am not giving justice to the whole story. If you can imagine Blaine teaching several classes and languages in the span of 2 days and still taking the time to TALK to individual students…it was pretty impressive.

            That type of act is a great reminder, like what Eric mentioned, is so much more important than the covering of material mentality we all get caught up in. I like the idea of the “subtle layer” about talking to kids.

            Teaching with LCI…Krashen should write a new hypothesis.


          6. My thought is that Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski, whose teams are playing today in the Final Four, build relationships with their players in extraordinary ways. Could that be the difference in their success year after year? It is certainly an ingredient.

    2. Michael Coxon

      Saw this comparison while reading…

      “Although Vygotsky and Krashen come from entirely different backgrounds, the application of their theories to second language teaching produces similarities.

      Influence or coincidence, Krashen’s input hypothesis resembles Vygotsky’s concept of zone of proximal development. According to the input hypothesis, language acquisition takes place during human interaction in an environment of the foreign language when the learner receives language ‘input’ that is one step beyond his/her current stage of linguistic competence. For example, if a learner is at a stage ‘i’, then maximum acquisition takes place when he/she is exposed to ‘Comprehensible Input’ that belongs to level ‘i + 1’.

      Krashen’s acquisition-learning hypothesis also seems to have been influenced by Vygotsky. Although Vygotsky speaks of internalization of language while Krashen uses the term language acquisition, both are based on a common assumption: interaction with other people. The concept of acquisition as defined by Krashen and its importance in achieving proficiency in foreign languages, can be a perfect application of Vygotsky’s view of cognitive development as taking place in the matrix of the person’s social history and being a result of it.

      Even the distinct concepts in Krashen’s acquisition theory and Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory are not conflicting but complementary in providing resources for language teaching methodology.

      By explaining human language development and cognitive development, Vygotsky’s theory serves as a strong foundation for the modern trends in applied linguistics. It lends support to less structured and more natural, communicative and experiential approaches and points to the importance of early real-world human interaction in foreign language learning.”

  9. Alisa Shapiro

    This ‘ego punch’ is prolly why the big-wigs, textbook publishers, ‘curriculum heads’ in the profession are not investigating T/CI – it’d render their work and…obsolete…not to mention their income stream…
    But OH, the joy, the liberation, and the results!!

    1. Matthew DuBroy

      Exactly. The issue is that these big-wigs, etc. don’t see that there is a problem – namely that very few, if at all, are really learning the language! If everyone admitted the problem, then they could look for a solution. But it is a situation of the emperor has no clothes — “nothing to see here” – “no problem here.” And therefore no reason to look for a solution or a better way of teaching languages. It is hard to admit that the way we are teaching is not working and maybe even hard to even see there is a problem for the 4%ers who teach (“if they just studied harder or were more attentive, etc. they would learn the language better”).

  10. Somebody said here that the big wigs literally do not know about CI. They don’t. That is one of the truest things I’ve heard in the discussion about why they don’t move on it for the betterment of the profession. It’s not as if they have studied it and rejected it.

    Mimi Met and Helena Curtain didn’t need to know because their careers fit perfectly with the interests of the book companies. It worked for a long time. But it doesn’t work anymore.

    That sound, the crashing down of the book companies over the next ten years, will cause a bit of a hiring ruckus, as teachers scramble to convince administrators to hire them because they don’t rely on a textbook to instruct children in languages.

  11. LCI is going to be my new organizing principle. It makes ME happy to teach that way, so I always know that at least one person in the room is happy. Actually, I have been blessed with a happy group of 15 students who come tumbling in (always a couple minutes late!!) after lunch, ready to chat and act, read and write and make up stuff. They laugh at the stories I write for them, jostle each other to play a part in the stories we create together, and always use way too much L1 mixed in with the L2. Honestly I don’t think they are much behind in their learning for all that. Sure, if we were all super disciplined I’m sure they’d know a little more Spanish than they do right now, but there is something so magical about the group dynamic that I’m taking more of the long view. It’s such a crap shoot…the size of the class, who makes up the class, how the dynamic evolves…part of the excitement and mystery of this profession. One thing that I know I can always do is to love them. I can’t always be sure that I can teach them.

    1. Loving Comprehensible Input. That says so much Angie. “One thing that I know I can always do is to love them. I can’t always be sure that I can teach them.” May I use this quote w/credit to you? It’s beautiful.

      with love,

  12. …so I always know that at least one person in the room is happy….

    This speaks to me Angie. Honestly, who wants a job they are not happy in? We are very daring in how we include self-care in our work and work hard to develop strategies and mental health that consciously take us in that direction. The alternative is so depressing – without our focus on mental health, we could end up half way through our careers with those twisted faces that we see on so many teachers of all subjects in schools, who just want to get out, and end up just getting by. Our focus on creating fun lessons and a happy way to teach is huge. We will not be defeated by a formidable foe – schools that have lost their way.

    By the way, speaking of schools that have not lost their way, go Badgers!

  13. There’s so much ignorance in our field. I taught using Communicative Approach for nearly 20 years, always hoping to come upon the magic mix to engage all my kids and help them speak. (But not looking hard enough!)
    Luckily I didn’t use a textbook or grammar syllabus (I teach young kids) but I wonder why it took so long for me to find T/CI. I’d heard of Ray and even owned some LICT materials, but I didn’t really get what they were for, plus they weren’t perfect for lil kids…it wasn’t until I went to a workshop that it came together for me…and I had studied Krashen, vygotsky, cummins, bilingual education, whole language etc back in the late 80s/early 90s. My point is that we can’t assume folks have been pitched/have rejected T/CI. They have no idea what it is. It’s still a little known secret outside our domain (and in many corners within;(), but I think we are gaining acceptance and traction in K-8 schools, which will trickle up to HS and college, I hope!!

    1. I agree Alisa. It has taken me 15 years to realize that what we do in the eyes of the vast majority of teachers is like the other side of the moon. They simply don’t know. And why should they be interested? Things are clicking for them. Maybe not clicking for their students except a few, but for them. Isn’t that what it’s all about when you’re a teacher? Gettin’ by? They have the confidence of their bosses and the respect of their colleagues, and so what if 80% of their students are gone after two years of what is designed as a four program of study? Those 80% just can’t cut it, aren’t cut out for language study. That’s the way it’s always been. I have compassion for Sean in that May of 2014 interview where he showed those writing samples to those traditional teachers and didn’t get the job. They couldn’t see past the grammar.

  14. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    I listened to the Van Patten clip where he comments on the effectiveness of TPRS. He cautions against “talking AT the students” in favor of “talking WITH the Ss”… “for more than 4 sentences.” One wonders how familiar he is with good TPRS classroom practice, with regular comprehension checks [incl barometer Ss], rejoinders, teaching to the eyes, etc. Not only do we have compelling content to talk about; but we insure that our interlocutors are comprehending the ‘communicative event!!’
    How much real/live exposure has he had? We need to get him into our classrooms, or to iFLT or something!!

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