Believe you will understand!

I’m visiting in Bend, Oregon, today, where it has turned from rain to sun. It’s a relief from the crazy snow at home! Yesterday I had a great time in Seattle.

I managed to use a bit of several languages…Russian at the Piroshki shop, Spanish with some flower vendors, Polish I didn’t know I remembered with some lost tourists outside the Seattle Art Museum, some Dutch down at the rowing dock, and Italian at the Chihuly exhibit. Except for Russian, none of my language ability was enough for real conversation, but when you comprehend some questions and the answers are visible, on a map or yes/no, you can get a long way!

I realized that is why TPRS and MovieTalk and other forms of CI work, if we get the listening skills in place. We also have to teach our students to truly live by one of Ben Slavic’s classroom rules, “Listen with the intent to understand.” Maybe that should be, “Listen with the belief that you will understand.”


9 responses to “Believe you will understand!

  1. I’m wondering how you communicate to your students what this type of listening is.


    • I’m not sure that I really do communicate it. I feel as though it’s crucial though…they have to know that if someone is trying to communicate, and they are trying to understand, some mix of words and gestures and intuition may work to forge that link. If anyone else has ideas, I’d love to know them.

      One of the teachers at the Bend workshop said that when she just relaxed and decided to understand the Russian that I was using in MovieTalk, she got it. That was when I told the story of my languages in Seattle. I do believe that people can’t acquire when they don’t understand, as when total immersion happens, but they can acquire when they’ve understood 90%. The trick is to figure out how to use the ambiguity when necessary for understanding.


  2. Did you present your Movie Talk workshop in Seattle? I didn’t realize that you were going to make it here. The weather is pretty much back to normal for this time of year but if you had been here a week ago it was sunny and 80! (A shock and joy to most, though it made it much harder to keep the kids in class!) I’m glad your visit was fun. I’m sorry I missed you!


    • Ruth, I didn’t make it to Seattle, except to visit the city. I’ll be in Kitsap County on October 19 though! I will let you know more about that as it gets closer. You might already be on the mailing list for that. I loved the weather!!


      • Don’t know that I am on any mailing list, but do let me know as I would love to see you and get more ideas and expertise with Movie Talk! I used a full length film for my second year kids. They were very patient! We would work through 15 or 20 minutes then discuss and then write it up and read it the following day. It was a great success.

        I am trying a variation with my first year kids too but I fear I am going too fast and throwing too much new vocab their way. We will see. Either way it is a relaxing activity for the end of the year. (It is a lovely film which takes place in the countryside of the south of France so it feels like being there for me at least!) Those who are listening with the intent to learn are getting, at the very least, the basic idea of what is going on. We are not too focused on the dialogue unless very important to the plot.

        Anyway I’m glad your visit to the Pacific Northwest was fun. Thanks for sharing all your adventures!


  3. Oops, sorry, I am on the list! Got the email today. Any chance you will include MT in your Embedded Reading workshop?


  4. You got it? Hooray! Could you forward it to me? I haven’t seen it.

    Honestly, even though I contracted to do just ER, I can’t imagine doing it without doing MovieTalk any more. Luckily, Laurie and I are doing ER this summer at NTPRS, and she mentioned on Ben’s blog that we’ll be addressing how to use them together, so that’s already two brains thinking like one (I love Laurie for mind-reading).

    Thus I will almost certainly be doing a short bit on MT within the day of ER in Seattle. It was hard to share MovieTalk the other day without explaining how easy it is to do ER as the reading/writing component.


  5. Can I be in that mailing list aswell? greetings from Holland


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