Tag Archives: input

67: Checking for Understanding


In this episode I’m taking the idea of input a little further.  Most of us are on board and understand the importance of making input comprehensible for students.  But, how can we check that the language is actually being understood by students? Because if they’re not understanding they’re not acquiring. I’ll share tips for checking for understanding and what to do with the info we get.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • The quick rundown on input and why it’s beneficial
  • The role of comprehensible input
  • How to make input comprehensible
  • Why check for understanding
  • Why the checks are useful and what to do with what we learn
  • How to check for understanding
  • Strategies for checking for understanding

Podcast episodes referenced in this episode:

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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63: Input and Output


In this episode we look at input and output. These two simple words can appear simple, but there is a lot to explore when it comes to what they actually look like in the classroom. This is the fourth of 5 episodes dedicated to the book Common Ground: Second Language Acquisition Theory Goes to the Classroom by Florencia Henshaw and Maris Hawkins. In two weeks you will hear the final episode of the series that will be a conversation with the authors.  For now, we’ll spend some time with input and output guided by Henshaw and Hawkins in Common Ground..so, let’s jump in.

Topics in the episode:

  • Recap of Guiding Principles: Acquisition and Communication
  • The Role of Input
  • What effective input is and is not
  • Comprehensible Input and Krashen’s Monitor Model
  • Authentic Resources
  • The Role of Output
  • Swain’s Output Hypothesis
  • Input or Output?  What builds the linguistic system?
  • Making the discussion interactive on Twitter with Joshua (@wlcalssoom), Florencia Henshaw (@Prof_F_Henshaw) and Maris Hawkins (@Marishawkins).

Other Podcast episodes referenced in this episode:

Get your own copy of Common Ground.  Hackett Publishing is generously offering a 25% discount when you use the code WLC2022.  [Available through December 31, 2022].

**The 25% off discount code can be used for any book through the end of December, 2022.  Hackett publishes several intermediate language-learning textbooks in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Latin, and Classical Greek. New releases include Cinema for French Conversation, Cinema for Spanish Conversation, and Les Français.

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Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom. Join me on the podcast.  We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.

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Follow wherever you listen to podcasts.

Tips for Teaching in the Target Language

Teachers are teaching more and more in the target language.  The first step is to commit to using the target language at least 90% of class time.  This is the ACTFL recommendation.  The second step is to acquire some strategies.  Here is a simple system that I follow that helps me to teach in the target language.

Tips for Teaching in the Target Language (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comRoutine:

  • Use routines in class as much as possible so that students are not constantly trying to decipher language.  Routines provide context to the language and students are better able to comprehend what they hear when it is in an expected context.  They will also begin to pick up on language as they associate it with the actions that they see.  Routines can also include Functional Chunks of Language, which are expressions, phrases or words that students learn as a chunk without necessarily understanding the grammatical structure.  These Functional Chunks of Language help to keep the target language the dominant language in the classroom by both the students and the teacher.

13Comprehensible Input (CI):

  • Comprehensible input is language that students understand.  The teacher can help students comprehend by providing visuals, making gestures and using language that is familiar to students.  Another great way to make input comprehensible is through circumlocation. (You can read more about circumlocution HERE.)

i+1 (Input Hypothesis):

  • i represents a student’s current level of language  (Krashen).  i+1 represents language that is just beyond the current level of students.  i+1 is a way of advancing students in language proficiency by having students rely on the language that they understand to make sense of new language.

Context is the most important thing t keep in mind when teaching in the target language.  When a familiar context is used students are better able to use their understanding of a situation to understand language that they are hearing.