It’s a good habit to really listen to your students. In fact, if all language teachers did so, there would be more Teaching with CI.
At the start of the year, I hand out Expectations, and assign a few questions to be answered with an adult at home. Let’s face it, CI classes aren’t like other classes, and it’s good practice to make sure everyone understands how that academic environment is different, and what makes a CI class flow. The following response samples are somewhat depressing, but reflect the current state of taking a second language in high school. I offer them as anecdotal evidence that forced language production/output is damaging, as well as assurance that this “CI thing” will reach more students, especially if we embrace the research.
So, what makes kids nervous, and what challenges do they foresee? Some responses:
This is my first post about Teaching with CI Online, but I’m skipping ahead to showing some student work samples before explaining a bit about how CI Online is working out. That post will follow shortly.
So, here’s the context for the student work I’m showing you:
Reading without consciously translating into one’s native language is assumed to be a part of language acquisition, yet is taken for granted and difficult to assess. Through a Speed Reading program, students are encouraged to read chunks of words rather than individual word-for-word-translation. This aligns with how we focus on teaching the most frequent structures rather than isolated word lists. In addition, students find this reading program compelling due to the personal competitive nature.
Take a minute to read the Speed Reading Process (my adaptation of Blaine Ray’s adaptation of Paul Nation’s program).
If you like the idea, all that’s needed to begin is a set of reading passages (perhaps parallel class stories), accompanying document with 10 comprehension questions, and a table showing reading speed per passage. You will need the following files:
Following the initiative of Chris Stolz, Mike Peto, and Mike Coxon, I’ve scanned some student work to share. These 10min timed Fluency Writes are all from Latin I students with anywhere from ~20 to ~100 hours of Latin. The word counts range from 41 to 117, though aren’t necessarily all linear with respect to class time in Latin.