Friday, November 18, 2016

Compelling CI: ACTFL 2016

Input has to be interesting – otherwise nobody would pay attention to it. 
Conjecture: optimal input for second language should be not just interesting but compelling.

Compelling Comprehensible Input:  Case Histories
Paul: Cantonese & English speaker, acquired Mandarin from cartoons and lots of TV shows and movies, with no particular motivation to acquire Mandarin. Lao, C. and Krashen, S. 2014. Language acquisition without speaking and without study.  Journal of Bilingual Education Research and Instruction  16(1): 215-221.
Jack: Mandarin heritage language speaker: Stories of A Fanti led to improvement, but only when stories were available (Lao & Krashen, IJFLT, 2008).
Fink (1996/6): 12 people considered dyslexic. 9 published creative or scholarly works, one Nobel laureate. 11 learned to read between 10-12, one in 12th grade.   “As children, each had a passionate personal interest, a burning desire to know more about a discipline that required reading … all read voraciously, seeking and reading everything they could get their hands on about a single intriguing topic."
Explanation: Input was compelling, so interesting that acquirer is not aware of the language, sense of time, self diminishes = Flow (Csíkszentmihályi) = the end of motivation
In the case histories: language acquisition never the goal, but a by-product. It was the story. No "motivation" to acquire language or learn to reading = by-product of compelling comprehensible input
Academic literacy: My case

Language education and compelling input
A brief history of foreign language pedagogy – steady increase in compellingness
ALM, Grammar Translation > TPR > natural approach > TPRS.

How to be compelling
Compelling: meets your social needs (M. Lieberman, Social) and/or your cognitive needs (finding your path).
The power of social cognition: the default mode, the reality of social pain
Nonsocial cognition = problem-solving: Finding your path. "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso
Specialize: Don't go to your left
Path is long, but pleasant: not "harrowing challenges, but rather tasks we find natural and interesting, tasks we were apparently born to perform"  (Vonnegut, 1997, p. 148).
When you know you are on the path: FLOW = awareness of self, time diminish, concerns of everyday life disappear = only the activity matters.
Work = the ultimate seduction.

Social needs and TPRS: "You are going to love this class. We all know each other and like each other." (Reaction to Bryce Hedstrom's class, K. Rowen, "Personalization" in Ray & Seely (2015).
TPRS methodology:  = Personalizaton: valuing each student makes input compelling and lowers social stratification
1.     Co-created stories: students as characters, their interests and hobbies, real background: Don't just go to a restaurant, go to Denny's on 20th and Pico.
2.     Special person interview (Bryce Hedstrom): "Each student is made to feel good about the interview process, Very little output is required. Focus on what is unique about the person.
A quiz after interview five students. 
If the student plays the guitar .... how many years have you played the guitar? Where is your guitar from? Do ou take lessons? Do you play any other instruments?
And "going deeper" – What do you do that you want to get good at? How would you like to be remembered? What are some things in our life that you are most proud of?
What is your superpower? (K. Rowan; see Grant's friend Tim: origin, power, weakness

Free voluntary reading – social and nonsocial cognition
Guaranteed personalized if self-selected
1.     Acquisition of literacy competence; FVR > reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, writing style. Self-selection > more acquisition. (Lee, SY. 2007. Revelations from Three Consecutive Studies on Extensive Reading. RELC Journal , 38 (2), 150-170.).
2.     builds knowledge (literature, history, science, practical knowledge),
3.     Makes harder reading more comprehensible: A bridge to "academic"/specialized reading
4.     School success: Ben Carson, Elizabeth Murray, G. Canada.
5.     Helps you find your path - Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln:  Simonton (1988) concluded that "omnivorous reading in childhood and adolescence correlates positively with ultimate adult success" (p. 11).
Social: The importance of fiction
1.    In the Guardian (October 28, 2015), President Obama credits fiction for his understanding that "the world is complicated and full of grays ... (and that) it's possible to connect with someone else even though they're very different from you."
2.    Reading fiction develops an expanded "theory of mind," defined as "the capacity to identify and understand others’ subjective states" (Kidd & Castano, 2013). 
3.    Fiction readers have more tolerance for vagueness, that is, they are better able to deal with uncertainty, which is important for problem-solving (Djikic, M., Oatley, K. and Moldoveanu, M. 2013).

My case revisited: Baseball stories: Social cognition. Science fiction: both


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