Language As The First Technology

Subtitles Not Required


Technology is the means by which we accomplish something deliberately with the aid of something from our surrounding environment or something we create to carry this task out.  This extends beyond the human family – when an otter uses a rock to break open a mollusk, or when a bird constructs a nest, they are making use of technology. 

In 2013, it is easy to think of “technology” only in the context of the increasingly multi-pupose smart devices that are becoming more ubiquitous in society, as well as in our schools.  It is important to remember that technology takes many forms.  In fact, there is a strong argument to be made that language teachers work with one of the most ancient human technologies we have: communicating our thoughts, feelings, needs, and dreams to other people via spoken and written expression. 

Language can be extremely simple and unfettered;

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Teaching accents to heritage speakers


My generation of polyglots

Part of me DOES NOT CARE about accents. Really, I feel like I’ve got many bigger, more important battles to fight than teaching the rules of accentuation… never mind doing it with traditional grammar terms. My principal goal for my heritage speakers is to develop their love of reading, period. During back to school night I recite Krashen and encourage parents to buy anything that their kids actually want to read. With compelling reading students will correct themselves much more efficiently than I could ever do with explicit instruction.

Having said that, I also need my students to buy into my class. Interestingly enough, my heritage language learners come to class in the first month anxious to “fix” their Spanish. They understand the case for reading, but nothing gets their attention like an old-fashioned lesson on the rules that govern the use of accents. Seriously! If you are a non-heritage…

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