Should language teachers teach vocabulary?

Many of us learned language through an explicit instructional model, in which words and concepts were taught, practiced, and memorized. When I began teaching, I started out with that same explicit model of instruction: working from a textbook curriculum that laid out thematic vocabulary to memorize and grammar concepts to practice and master in each chapter.…

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4 steps to shift toward Acquisition Driven Instruction

If you are ready to move away from Explicit Language Instruction toward a more Implicit, Acquisition-Driven model, you’ve come to the right place. Making this change is a complete paradigm shift, but it can be done in pieces. If you are ready to focus on helping your students to acquire language, as opposed to helping…

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Mindset for Acquisition: Changes in instruction require changes in thinking

If you have decided to teach for proficiency with an emphasis on comprehension, you are probably asking the question, “Where do I start?” When you ask this question to colleagues, they will probably suggest some resources for you. “Get SOMOS!“, they might say, or “Start with Special Person interviews!”. You’ll probably hear, “The MovieTalk database…

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20+ stations for proficiency oriented language classes

Whether you call them Stations or Centers, you probably love them—and so do your students. Stations give you a laissez-faire teaching day and provide lots of movement and small group interaction for students.  Stations do not, however, come without challenges. Stations often take quite a bit of prep work. For the proficiency oriented, comprehension based…

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What is Proficiency Oriented Language Instruction?

As language teachers, our goal for our students is to be more proficient in the target language when they complete our course than when they began. We probably have other goals for our students (being more kind, more empathetic, more responsible, more culturally aware), but all of these objectives fit into the overarching mission of…

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How to teach such that they understand

If we want language to come OUT of our students’ mouths, we must get language IN to their heads. They need INput so that they can produce OUTput. » Input is reading and listening » Output is speaking and writing This is common sense. A learner cannot utter an expression in a new language if…

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10 ways to talk with your students about their weekend

When I first ditched the textbook, Weekend Chats was one of the very first routines that I learned about and started using in class. I was introduced to it by Michele Whaley, and I remember reading about it on Ben Slavic’s blog soon thereafter. I used Ben’s idea of having students illustrate posters of places…

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