These episode recommendations from Stacey are all around the topic of taking steps towards teaching in a way that emphasizes real communication and comprehensible input over traditional grammar instruction. You can find Stacey on Twitter @staceymargarita.
I say this all the time, but it’s still true: Every week when I am loading up the new episode, I think to myself, “This is my favorite episode yet!” I have learned so much from all of them, I can’t pick favorites. However, I recently saw someone on Twitter ask what resources might be useful for a teacher just getting started with communicative language teaching and comprehensible input. There are a few recent episodes of We Teach Languages that I think might be especially useful for someone new the proficiency-oriented classroom.
Episode 98: OPI, the Proficiency Levels, and Expectations for Student Performance with Ellen Toubman and Ryan Rockaitis
I have heard so many proficiency-oriented teachers report that learning about ACTFL’s proficiency levels and getting trained to administer the OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) was a key turning point in their teaching. Developing expertise in what students are able to do with language at different levels naturally leads to being better able to facilitate learning towards those goals. In this interview, Ryan Rockaitis and Ellen Toubman give some great insights into the OPI and how it applies to teaching. I hope it inspires you to take an OPI or MOPI workshop when you have the opportunity!
Episode 94: Transitioning to Proficiency, Spoken Latin, and Comprehensible Input Strategies with Stefanie Neal
This episode features Caroline Schlegel interviewing Stefanie Neal, and it’s remarkable in a few ways. First, Latin carries little expectation that it should be taught using comprehensible input, or CI. (You know, since there are no native speakers of Latin alive today and everything.) So, hearing about how Stefanie uses spoken, comprehensible Latin to help her students acquire the language is all the more impressive. There are many spoken Latin teachers out there using CI by the way. And many of them post on social media and blogs about how they do it. If you are interested in learning more, you might start with the article written by Stefanie’s colleague Tammy Kantzes for our newsletter, Midweek News #48.
Episode 93: Teaching for Proficiency with Kara Parker and Megan Smith
Transitioning to a new way of teaching can be hard, especially if you feel like you are alone in the journey. In this episode, Rebecca Blouwolff interviews Kara Parker and Megan Smith of the Creative Language Class blog. Their conversation is both reassuring and invigorating, and will give you some resources to turn to as you make you way to proficiency.
Episode 87: A Novice Descriptions Unit with Heather Sherrow
If you are wondering if it’s possible to use a comprehensible-input based approach with novice learners, then this episode is a must-listen. Heather walks us step-by-step through a unit she designed and explains what she did and how she did it. She also shares *everything* in the show notes, for which I am so grateful. Be sure to take notes as you listen, because you will want to remember and use it all!
Because of the diversity of the guests and topics on We Teach Languages, not every episode will apply to folks just getting started with communicative teaching, but many DO! All four of these recommendations come from 2019, and there are even more episodes from previous years, such as:
Episode 75: Comprehensifying and Extending Authentic Resources with Kara Jacobs
Episode 70: Advice for New Language Teachers with Albert Fernandez, Bill Denham, and Ying Jin
Episode 69: Engaging all Learners with Leslie Grahn
Episode 66: Pursuing Proficiency with Williamson County Schools, Part I and Episode 67: Part II
Episode 14: Making the Transition to Authentic Resources and Proficiency with Lisa Shepard
…and many many more!
If you get a chance to listen to any of these episodes, we’d love to hear about it. Please tweet, post on Facebook, or comment right on the episode on our website!