Something that changed when I switched to Comprehension-based teaching was a change in my mindset. Instead of teaching language so that students could eventually connect with people that speak the target language, I started using language for connection now:
Language connects students to each other.
Language connects students to me.
Language connects students to their passions, their purposes, and the world.
How does language connect?
When we ask stories, we connect to each other. When we tell stories to our students, we connect with each other through the shared experience, and we also connect students to the characters (real or imagined) that star in the stories. If the stories are true, we connect students the world.
When we read articles and learn about different things that are happening in the world, we connect students with their passions and their purposes. Perhaps reading about dangerous animals will spark an interest in zoology! Or maybe learning about how one individual is making a difference in the world will inspire them to make a difference in the world.
In a world of instant and constant digital connection, perhaps what our students need most is exactly what we can offer them: language that connects.