This school year has been different from last year in various ways. The main thing I have changed is my way of teaching. I threw out my book and have been concentrating on giving students tons of comprehensible input. They were a bit scared at first—and so was I, to be honest. They didn’t know what to expect without a book.
I am feeling much less apprehensive as I practice using a lot more Spanish in class. I explained the goal to the students (90% or more in Spanish) because it shouldn’t be a secret. I have had students share their feelings about comprehensible input lately.
One student said speaking Spanish is “becoming second nature” to her. Another told me he thinks we are meeting the goal of 90% Spanish in class. He also shared that he is understanding almost everything! I of course, am thrilled that my students are learning and happy.
I can’t wait to see how much the students learn (and retain) by the end of the year! Every positive comment from them encourages me more. For more information about comprehensible input, visit Martina Bex.
For all of those people who don’t know how teachers roll, let me give you a bit of insight. After the initial rejoicing at the end of the school year, many of us use our vacation time to attend workshops or take classes to improve our practice. Those workshops may last one or two days, depending on the topic, but the thinking process lasts a lot longer. Putting all of the learning and thinking together to create classroom activities takes even more of our vacation time.
That’s been my experience, especially after the Martina Bex Comprehensible Input workshop last week in Lincoln. I’m sure I’m not alone. I spent this week rehashing and rereading the handouts she provided for us. Now I’m almost ready to start choosing vocabulary to use in my own stories. Then comes the actual writing process. I’m sure I’ll have a few false starts, but the results will be worth the time.
For more information about Martina Bex, visit her at https://martinabex.com/.
Before I begin, let me tell you that I wanted to call this blog post “My Brain is Full,” but I felt that was too long, and I like alliteration, so I went with the current title.
If you teach (especially foreign language), you probably already know which Martina—Martina Bex. I have spent considerable time exploring her blog https://martinabex.com/ otherwise known as The Comprehensible Classroom. She discusses the advantages of using CI (Comprehensible Input) when teaching. After all, if the students have no understanding of what the teacher is saying, why bother?
Martina spent two brain-filling days with over 100 educators from Nebraska and surrounding areas. (One teacher drove from Arkansas to take this training!) The part that really blew me away was that we teachers didn’t have to pay to attend! That never happens! This time, however, it sure did, thanks to the hard work of Dr. Janine Theiler of the Nebraska Department of Education. She had support people like Jessica and Jami who saved my bacon when I thought I was lost. They made sure everything went smoothly so we teachers could learn and improve our practice in the classroom.
I was thrilled to get a copy of Martina’s presentation in addition to the handouts provided. I will use them to create plans of my own as I work toward CI in my own classes. Now I have the framework necessary to push students toward proficiency!
It was a pleasure to meet Martina. She’s very approachable and thoughtfully replies to questions. I took the picture below on a break from the session on the second day. I asked Martina, “What makes you happy?” Her response: “My children!”
For more information about Comprehensible Input, the research behind it and strategies for implementation, please visit https://martinabex.com/.