You have reached the web page for Eric Herman.
eherman (at) mvyps.org
Students & Stories in Spanish
"Language is acoustical, not intellectual." - Berty Segal
Edgartown School uses a comprehension and communicative approach, which is an OPTIMIZED IMMERSION experience. Class primarily uses a method called Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS®).
"TPRS has consistently outperformed traditional teaching." - Karen Lichtman
2. Reach intermediate proficiency level by end of high school.
3. Know how and want to improve in a language on your own.
The Results in Honduras:
6th graders in rural Honduras received about 35 hours of English. This was an unannounced, never-before-practiced oral exam. The class did no role-playing, no grammar, no homework, no vocab lists. The students mostly listened and read. These kids have to deal with poverty and all it's nasty implications (little access to print, low literacy levels, family problems, low attendance, etc.), but I consider these to be impressive results for any program, anywhere.
Watch this video that I created to show you how the "story-asking" process of TPRS is used in the classroom.
4. Read books every week from the "Recommended Books" list (see File Cabinet), which are books specifically written for beginners who already know English. Ask the teacher for a copy of a book or check out the book from the Edgartown School Library.
5. Visit the following website to practice embedded readings, which we do in class, and involve 3 progressively harder versions of the same short story. Click on a Unit then scroll down to "Cuentos Escalados." http://www.charoylee.com/Charo_y_Lee/Resources.html
This website is the best I've seen for acquiring a language on your own! It combines reading with listening, doesn't focus on grammar, and has a huge library for you to choose the audio clips that interest you and that are at your level.
A Child's Guide to Language. 6-series video on the process of first and second language acquisition.
The Argument Against Grammar
“Research shows that knowledge of grammar rules is very fragile and is rapidly forgotten.” - Krashen
“Consciously learned grammar is only available as a Monitor or an editor, and the constraints on Monitor use are severe:
1. The user has to know the rule,
2. have time to apply the rule,
3. and be thinking about correctness.”
“Instruction does not appear to influence the order of development. No matter what order grammatical structures are presented and practiced in the classroom, learners will follow their own 'built-in' syllabus.” – Ellis
Read 5 articles I wrote that review the theories and research of effective foreign language classrooms:
1. To test your high frequency Spanish vocabulary, join my Quizlet "Edgartown Spanish Class." Quizlet has flashcards, which include audio of the words, and games you can play with the vocabulary sets. You will have to make a FREE account before you can access the word sets. http://quizlet.com/join/rdnYZrdkX
2. There are printable high frequency words lists in the below File Cabinet and there is a link in the Supported Websites to a Spanish Frequency Dictionary.
50 words = 60% of speech
1,000 words = 85% of speech
Verbs = 20% of the language
3. These Powerpoint contains the thematic (low-frequency) vocabulary covered in a traditional Spanish I program.
Only the numbers one and two are in the most-frequently used 100 words. There are more than 300 more frequent words than the numbers 6 through 10, and the numbers 13 through 19 are not in the most frequently used 1,000 Spanish words.
Source: A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish (2006) by Mark Davies
4. This Powerpoint has the images used to visualize the high frequency verbs.
Online Grammar Guide
An excellent grammar guide. Organized into categories, grammar is made easier to remember. Just click a topic to review.
In my opinion, the best translator. Includes all meanings and contexts of translated words. Also, has a conjugator and a great forum to get answers about specific words and phrases.
More advanced Spanish for those students wanting to explore listening to Spanish speakers through interviews, music videos, etc., all supported with text and speech speed control.