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

The conventional wisdom in our society is 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.” …

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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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Why I Teach With a Focus on Comprehensible Input

For my first blog post, I thought it would be appropriate to explain why I choose to teach ESL with a focus on providing comprehensible input. This post is not meant to be an exhaustive explanation but rather a summary for teachers who are unfamiliar with the approach. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, …

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