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  • Karina Fortier

Comprehensible Input is a Utopia

Updated: Dec 10, 2019




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


Comprehensible Input is currently a utopia


It sounds pretty scholarly to say that you're applying #Comprehensible_Input in your language classes, right? But can you truly back up this bold statement?

Chances are, the answer is no.

Quick refresher: Comprehensible Input is ''a collection of approaches, 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 all that random vocabulary you want your students to memorize... doesn't fit here. Analyzing excerpt from Don Quijote and other heavy literature? Doesn't fit either. Only teaching advanced grammar in the higher levels? Neither does this.


Want to truly implement Comprehensible Input in your language classes? Click here.


So, how do you truly implement Comprehensible Input?


1. Input must be compelling, not just comprehensible

According to Stephen 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 #language_class. If they understand, then they are acquiring!''.

Academic coordinator Carmen Wirtz (one of the first teachers to have integrated 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 topics they want to talk about, and to take charge of their own learning.'' (go to our testimonials page here)


2. Immersion-like setting


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 in which the class content remains in the target language 90% of the time. This way, students are forced to guess the meaning of words, and therefore 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 the OCTB platform is ideal: each student engages in one-on-one interactions in the target language with a peer from abroad, and can go at his own pace.


3. Grammar is taught through meaning


While traditional teachers teach lots of vocabulary but wait four years to teach advanced grammar, C.I. teachers use a limited but carefully selected vocabulary with all grammatical and verb tense forms. Therefore, grammar is taught through meaning, and is naturally absorbed by the students.


Luckily for you, 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 correct your student' mistakes, and to give the grammatical explanation. So this #personalized_content motivates the student to retain certain rules and to avoid making the same mistakes in future conversations.


Try a one-month free trial!

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