Slower is better

I’ve been south for several days with family, and then got to spend Saturday with a bunch of teachers in Kitsap County, talking about Embedded Reading. I was part-way through a demo that used MovieTalk with an Embedded Reading, and one of the teachers who was new to Comprehensible Input said, “I could learn a language if it were taught this way!” 

Then I came back to class this morning, and started talking about the same movie I’d shown the teachers. The kids and I retold the story, and I was surprised to remember how well they remembered the plot. Actually, I was also surprised to realize how well they remembered the vocabulary. They were completely focused and watching and listening to me again. 

I need to stay slow. I don’t need to rush through anything, be it a MovieTalk session, a reading, or a discussion. As long as we’re speaking Russian, there is language to pick up, and as long as I’m limiting the breadth of the vocabulary to what is known or what is visible in the picture or scene, there are structures that the students can be picking up. Too often, I think that kids are bored if I go slowly or repeat stories. What is more often the case is that they get bored when they don’t understand, and they drift off, out of the zone where language can reach them. 

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6 responses to “Slower is better

  1. So true Michelle, and so difficult to do. Why are we in such a rush? I know that sometimes I want to get to the next thing, and think that if I don’t they’ll lose interest. Will they?

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    • I think that kids want to feel the acquisition that comes with slow. They like to feel confident! I am always surprised when they point out that we really haven’t completed something to their satisfaction. Sometimes they want to polish off the edges of a story or finish a conversation. Usually the more meaning there is in something, the more they want to stay with it.

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  2. Totally agree Michelle. I have been asked to teach 30 minutes a week to 5th graders at a school different from mine in the same district. This kids were exposed to Roseta Stone for the last three years and got absolutely nothing. I had to defend our idea that less is more and that we do not rush.So far, the administrators have accepted my curriculum and method. In my school I teach 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders three times a week for 42 minutes. My challenge has been to adapt my lesson plans to a once a week encounter. There is always something new to be learned!

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  3. What a worthwhile workshop Michele! It was so great to see you and it was such a well presented workshop. Loved all of the brain breaks and hands-on learning. Loved Masha as well. I am jealous that we don’t have a great series like that in French! You were fantastic. (Next time let me know ahead of time and I can be your chauffeur or bed and breakfast stop!) Thanks for all that you put into this so that we could get so much out of it. You shared so many helpful ideas! I left happy and inspired.

    Slow is a mantra we all need to remember as we all think that if it goes too slow they will be bored, when in fact…
    ❤ Ruth

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  4. Thanks so much for the kind words, Ruth! I’m thinking of you…it was wonderful to have a friend in the room.

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