This is a big (and good) question. Perhaps it is best answered by peeling back the layers a bit and discussing comprehensible input (CI). What is it?
Professor Stephen Krashen is the person who first used this term in the 1970's to explain his theory of language acquisition. If you are new to comprehensible input, check out this short video on YouTube. He uses German as an example to highlight his point. See how you do with his lesson!
There are many good resources on comprehensible input for shifting your classes. We will be blogging on those frequently.
You will notice once you start using more video for CI your students' listening skills grow quickly. Combined with reading, your students' growth in speaking moves at a fast rate as well.
It can be challenging for a few students but it is worth the effort. Authentic video is highly engaging. Students will feel excited and rewarded that they can watch it. Once they get wrapped up in a great storyline, they will continue to be motivated. As the teacher supporting them, remind them that as in real life, look for visual cues, tone of voice, gestures, and the context of the scene to help follow the storyline.
They will also understand more once they get to class and hear discussion. Within a few weeks, they won't be yearning for English subtitles any longer. And when they see those long fill in the blank verb paragraphs you may be giving on tests, don't worry-- they get the context right away. Our "Salón de Profesores" (faculty lounge) will be filled with activities for the classroom, test, quizzes, and the like, coming for August 2018. You can share with teachers at other schools if you like or simply use our creations.
Don't forget to show your users of any video the differentiated speed tool that accompanies some media players, for example on YouTube (but sadly not yet in Netflix). Where these are present, the user can slow down the video speed to make it more differentiated and comprehensible to non-native speakers. In our EduNovela.com media player, we recommend that once the credits roll and the music ends, the user switches to 0.75 speed. Yet, if you have heritage speakers in your classroom mixed in with non natives, they will prefer to listen at 100%. If a student needs to focus on a particular word or sentence (or even as a targeted listening activity), the user can slow down to 0.50 speed. This is the same on YouTube for any videos you might want to show in class.
When using the prototype projects for EduNovela.com, projects that included both reading and a continuing telenovela storyline, instructors reported a high rate of growth for both listening and speaking skills. They also reported a notable difference in their classes' outcomes the following year if not using the program.
Our teachers in our test schools and our authors will be blogging about this in the months to come. Stay tuned!
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EduNovela.com authors offer their insights!