Input/Output


With language:

If it doesn't go in your eyes and ears, than it can't come out of your mouth.


Input is the language the student is exposed to and output is the language the student produces.


When learning a new language there are no shortcuts! It takes time and commitment and sadly a lot of students go in with unrealistic expectations.

The worst is time-in-class gets confused with time-on-task. Parents say things like, "My child has been going to English juku for four years and still can't speak English." That's time-in-class! That's like me saying, "I played basketball in high school P.E. for four years, why am I not in the NBA?"


-What's a good input/output balance?

-How do you teach?


I do think textbooks have an important part to play in learning and I recommend them for self-studying, but I don't use them in class to help with input. My school is an active learning school focused on output. You're probably asking yourself, "Where's the input then?"


I give enriching input which is basically seeding input with specific structures and words. Only a small amount of input should be unknown to students, so I concentrate on the most frequent structures and words and try to help my students apply them to the most common situations in their lives. Of course, students have levels, but I focus on fluency over accuracy and divide my classes up into age groups and interests. Trust me, I know this style of teaching is almost impossible with large classes...I was an ALT. Preschoolers are different and when I teach preschool age students, their parents must join the two week trial time and participate. I find most parents have no idea what they're getting their children into. I also recommend music and TV over reading, because there has been no corpus-based study of the feasibility of learning large amounts of foreign language vocabulary through reading.


So which is better?

In the end, they are both effective. There's evidence that both input-based and output-based activities lead to both productive vocabulary knowledge and in general, have similar levels of effects for vocabulary acquisition.


Do you think that input is multidimensional and needs to also come from the students themselves? ....Cliffhanger for my next blog post.