The term "CI" has become the new buzzword in world language education, but unfortunately, I do not think that many people who use the term truly understand it. On the one hand, I am happy to see that many teachers are embracing CI, but I also do not like the fact that CI has become "trendy." As I write this, please do not think that I wish to play "CI police" or that I own the market on CI, since I too still am learning about Comprehensible Input. By no means am I a full expert on the topic.
In many occasions, however, a misinformation regarding CI is disseminated. This may be the result of a number of reasons. Now there is a difference between those who knowingly use the term CI but possess a limited understanding of it and acknowledge that they want to learn more about it vs. those who use the word generously but think it to be something else. I feel that there are many out there who possess an academic knowledge of CI but not a heart understanding of it.
Ways to learn about CI:
- Attend a local CI workshop in your area. Here is a listing of Blaine Ray TPRS workshops, and Laurie Clarcq has an updated list on her blog.
- Read CI blogs. On the sidebar, there is a listing of CI blogs which I regularly read.
- Join CI communities, either online or in person.
- Attend national CI conferences, such as NTPRS and IFLT.
- Collaborate with other CI users, either online or in person. This is key. I really do not think that I would be the CI teacher which I am today if it were not for a my community of local CI users.
Although learning about CI through reading blogs is helpful, in my opinion, it is not enough, as it is limited; blogs can only go so far in teaching about CI. I cannot say it enough: one of the best ways to understand Comprehensible Input is to experience it first hand learning another language which you do not know from a teacher using CI and to experience all components of the language (listening, reading, writing, speaking) in a CI manner. I always point to my experiences with Blaine Ray at my first TPRS workshop where I learned German and with Betsy Paskvan at two NTPRS conferences where I learned Japanese. The first hand experiential knowledge of CI is key, because you will understand how your own students feel in your classroom.
I have found that in my own experience that the more I learn about CI, the more I teach using it, and most importantly, the more I myself experience it, the deeper my knowledge of CI becomes. I hope the same for you too.