Sunday, December 11, 2011

One step at a time...and sometimes the same step over

For the last several years, my professional development has been focused on instructional techniques that are good for all teachers, with a particular focus on Sprick et. al. for classroom management strategies, and Marzano for most everything else.  But in college, I mostly worked on strategies specific to second-language instruction, as that was going to be my focus.  There is absolutely no question that I'm a better teacher for being familiar with these strategies.

But recent experience tells me that I need to go back and bone up on some of my Spanish teacher skills.  Fortunately, last year I took a course for elementary certification, so I haven't forgotten how to do research.  I've pulled out Lee and Van Patten's Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen (1st ed.), my gold standard for applied language acquisition theory.  They're like Marzano sometimes, in that they do some more generalizing with specific support which are sort of more useful.  But reviewing through it, I'm finding lots of things I've forgotten in my rush to be teacher of the whatever (an award I'm not winning anytime soon). 

This week's focus: Have the learner do something with the input.  "Learners cannot be passive recipients of language," Lee and Van Patten tell us.  "Instructors should not simply talk at the learners or ask learners to simply read something.  The learner must be actively engaged in attending to the input to encourage the processing of grammar."  (p.107).

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