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Field notes: What I’m learning about how to teach listening skills.

In 22 years of teaching a second language, I have learned that all students, now matter how good their academic ability in any other area, struggle with listening. I've asked them how they see listening tasks, and their answers are pretty consistent. They say things like "you either get it or you don't", "sometimes I … Continue reading

Assessment, Curriculum, Growth mentality, Learning Maps, Self-Regulated Learning

Rethinking learning maps #5: Timing feedback for better learning.

As I have documented my learning through my self-regulated inquiry course project this summer, I have... ...begun looking at the big ideas on learning maps as big goals which students will reach by the end of the course. ...revised my existing learning map for French 8 using the most recent curriculum update....summarized research I'm using … Continue reading

Assessment, Growth mentality, Learning Maps, Self-Regulated Learning

Rethinking learning maps #4: Evaluating my existing formative assessments.

This blog post is a continuation in a series of posts about my self-regulated inquiry project in a course I'm taking this summer. Up to this point, I have... ...begun looking at the big ideas on learning maps as big goals which students will reach by the end of the course. ...revised my existing learning … Continue reading

Communication, Growth mentality, Listening

12 key questions to build listening skills in a second language

When language learning is divided into its four core skill areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing, listening is often an area where students struggle the most. Listening to an authentic speaker or watching a video in the target language feel overwhelming to them, and they need specific instruction in how to do it. If … Continue reading

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Adapting makerspaces for language instruction

Makerspaces have been talked about in education circles for some time now, and I have listened to several presentations on the topic which left me inspired by the potential for creativity, inventiveness, and learning. If makerspaces are new to you, you can see some related resources here: http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/a-librarians-guide-to-makerspaces/ Despite my interest in the topic, I felt frustrated … Continue reading

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First Steps: Identifying types of text in a second language

If you're like most people I talk to about learning a second language, I'm sure you could come up with a must-have list for things you might want to read in that language. Your list might include things like: keep it short use pictures keep it interesting make it easy to understand After that, there would … Continue reading

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How I’m changing reading for my second language students

The image above is a humorous take on an obstacle many beginning French students have - coming from English, French seems backwards, and it is confusing! Maybe you've had conversations with those trying to make sense out of a second language and heard their frustration. Maybe you've felt it yourself. It's hard to get past … Continue reading