My Reflections on Barcroft’s “Input-Based Incremental Vocabulary Instruction”

I recently read Joe Barcroft’s book, Input-Based Incremental Vocabulary Instruction. I first heard about it from this episode of the We Teach Languages podcast. I recommend listening to the episode if you want to get a quick overview of Barcroft’s ideas. And if you want to learn more about the approach, Barcroft’s book explains a …

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In Defense of Reading Aloud to Students

Sitting back and listening to a story is wonderful. Not only is it an enjoyable experience, but it’s also good for language acquisition. We know that students need to listen to a lot of oral input in order to acquire a new language, and listening to the teacher read aloud is a great way to …

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My Experience at the Story Listening Workshop

I finally got to attend a Story Listening Workshop! Beniko Mason and Stephen Krashen came to Chicago this week and gave a two-day workshop for language teachers on how to do Story Listening in their classes. I’ve been using Dr. Mason’s Story Listening method some (though not exclusively) in my adult ESL classes for more …

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The Grammar Syllabus and Students’ Expectations

Scott Thornbury recently wrote an article titled “The Persistence of Grammar,” which was published in the TESOL Applied Linguistics Interest Section Newsletter. In the article, he questions why the grammar syllabus has persisted in language teaching, despite the research evidence showing its ineffectiveness. “The grammar syllabus” refers to the practice of breaking apart the grammar …

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Helping Students Understand Second Language Acquisition

As a teacher, I’m committed to teaching language in the way that I think is the most effective. Based on my teaching experience and the research I’ve read on second language acquisition, I would say that focusing on providing students with comprehensible input and giving them opportunities to engage in meaningful communication are the most …

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How Do Learners Acquire Vocabulary?: Receiving Input vs. Producing Output

Many people assume that speaking or writing in a language is better for language learners than simply listening to it or reading it. In other words, producing output is better than receiving input. I think part of the reason for this is our cultural idea that “active” is better than “passive.” Activities like listening or …

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What is the Role of Explicit Knowledge in Second Language Acquisition?

When I was first learning about the research on second language acquisition and was trying to figure out what it meant to teach using comprehensible input, one of the biggest obstacles for me was understanding the role of explicit knowledge. “Explicit knowledge” refers to being able to state a fact or a “rule” about a …

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