How to Apply Comprehensible Input to Your Foreign Language Classes

Watch this video where OCTB founder debunks the myth of comprehensible input as it's currently applied in language classes.

Wait...what is Comprehensible Input again?

It sounds nice to say that you're applying #Comprehensible Input in your language classes, right? But can you truly back up this statement?

Quick refresher: Comprehensible Input is ''a collection of techniques and strategies for teaching language that prioritize the delivery of understandable and compelling messages in the target language'', according to Stephen Krashen's theory.
So those lists of vocabulary you try to get your students to memorize... doesn't fit here. Analyzing excerpt from Don Quijote and other heavy literature? Doesn't fit either. 

Tips for language teachers on how to implement Comprehensible Input in your classes.

Applying Comprehensible Input

comprehensible input

1. Input must be compelling, not just comprehensible

According to Krashen's theory, ''by talking about interesting things such as cultural topics and our students’ experiences and ideas, students want to understand what’s happening in their foreign language classes. If they understand, then they are acquiring the language!''.

Academic coordinator Carmen Wirtz (one of the first teachers to have incorporated the OCTB program in her language classes) agrees: ''Very few students want to learn about Don Quijote or existential realism... they want to talk about their hobbies, the foods that they like, and learn how to use everyday expressions such as 'Is there a cinema around here?'. The OCTB platform has allowed my students to choose the language input they are interested in, and to take charge of their own learning.'' (see her testimonial here).

2. Language Immersion


Comprehensible Input is a Utopia

In conventional language classes, students are told upfront the meaning of words, but they generally retain a small percentage of this vocabulary. However, C.I (Comprehensible Input) teachers encourage an immersion-like setting to increase second language acquisition. This way, students must guess the meaning of words, and are more likely to retain the vocabulary. Of course, this immersion is difficult to implement when every student is at a different level of learning. That's why OCTB allows each student to engage in one-on-one interactions in the target language with a peer from abroad, and through these language exchanges, each student can learn a second language at his own pace.

3. Grammar is taught through meaning

Grammar is taught through meaningWhile traditional teachers focus on vocabulary for the lower levels, and only teach advanced grammar in the higher levels, C.I. teachers use a limited but carefully selected vocabulary along with all grammatical and verb tense forms. Therefore, grammar is taught through meaning, and makes much more sense to the students, thus retaining everything much quicker.

The OCTB platform is serving this exact purpose: as your students speak with a peer in the target language, the platform prompts the native speaker to go over the transcript of what your student said, and to make the corrections. So this personalized content helps the learner notice his mistakes, and avoid making them in future conversations.

Learn more about the OCTB online world language program


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