Dear Language Friends:
Happy New Year! A fresh beginning always energizes me. Especially given the holiday rest from a frantic pace. Time to ponder and think through the previous year is a good investment – what worked well and what did not.
If you don’t know already, I am SOLD on how beneficial it is for L2 teachers to be acquiring a language themselves. That process has helped me FAR more than reading or watching something produced by another teacher/researcher.
And it’s never too late to begin – don’t wait until a new year or the end of a semester. Just start small, say…..10 minutes a day. That’s what I did for the year leading up to June 2018. I watched 10 minutes of CI videos in Spanish on Pablo’s website, Dreaming Spanish or listened to the Duolingo Spanish podcast (half of which went over my head). But that was not EVERY day. The Spanish bug hadn’t bitten me yet.
How and why did I increase those occasional few minutes to an hour a day of input, starting in June 2018? I mentioned to Pablo at the end of my school year in June, that NOW I was ready to commit to 10 minutes a day of input, 7 days a week. He came right back with some frank news – ‘Maria, you need to invest AT LEAST one hour a day in Spanish.’
I gulped!! And accepted his challenge.
Nine months later, I stretched my commitment to a range of 1.5-2.0 hours a day. He was right, that Pablo! I saw my comprehension skyrocket. Plus I was hooked on Spanish! Desire took over what had been discipline.
My goal for 2020 is to get 180 minutes of input a day, Monday through Friday. That leaves me the weekend to ‘catch up’.
To inspire you to maybe do the same, here is a link to professor and researcher Stephen Krashen’s video message about optimal input. May it encourage you to focus your time with students and your own language learning time on input.
And if you want to read about the futility of grammar study, my friend and fellow CI teacher Alice Ayel (French and Spanish) describes her failure with German following the so-called school approach.
Happy learning – Happy teaching!