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#4 / Only One Way! / input or comprehension hypothesis


This is the heart of language acquisition and probably the most important of the five articles. We want students to understand that To help students shall understand that we acquire language one way: through comprehensible, or understandable, input. It's a natural process and happens automatically and subconsciously when we read or listen to something we understand.

Ideas for Teaching

  • It would be appropriate to teach these concepts in the students' L1 for classes with low English L2 proficiency.

Into (before)
  • Int/Adv (Activating prior knowledge) Build a web diagram/mind map around the concept: "What did you parents and others did to help you understand your first language when you were young (before you went to school)."

Through (during)
  • Do as a teacher read-aloud. Stop as appropriate to (a) clarify vocabulary or ideas and/or (b) to "think aloud" about the ideas, expanding them, applying them, etc.

Beyond (after)
  • Ask students appropriate questions to check comprehension.
  • Engage students in a summarizing (not retelling) discussion, saying it again in their own words.
  • Use Think/Pair/Share (TPS), Write/Pair/Share (WPS) to answer and discuss, "How can I personally use this information to improve my English?"