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The Foolproof Lesson

Most teachers have a short list of foolproof activities they can build a lesson around in a pinch–and this is one of mine.

It’s foolproof because it works for all levels, all ages, and with or without prepared materials. It’s deceptively simple, so beginning students are able to expand their existing language skills and strategies without feeling intimidated. Students control the difficulty, and discover the language they need in the process of completing a task. I’ve done this successfully with both children and engineers (at extreme ends of the language skill spectrum), but will demonstrate it with a class I currently teach of beginning adults. (more…)

Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?

I know just enough Japanese and Spanish to get myself in trouble online.

Sometimes, I practice my language skills by surfing the web, looking for education blogs or articles in my weak languages. Finding them isn’t that hard. Navigating from the first page is where I get into trouble. There’s a visual aspect to web literacy that I don’t really have outside of my native English. I’m never sure if links will take me to another page, or to a totally unrelated site (via ads that come with “free” blogs) or to a check out page for something I unintentionally put in my cart.