BAP026 Language Experience Approach, QSSSA and Filming

This week I have a video of my teaching. At first I thought I had pulled off a great lesson.  Later I realized it was a non-example!

If you’d just like audio, the podcast version is here & in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts:
Listen to “BAP026 Language Experience Approach and QSSSA (complete with non-example)” on Spreaker.

So you can read more about my thoughts on filming yourself in the post I embedded at the end of this post.

But the bottom line is that there is always room for improvement so we might as well embrace the fact that lessons will not go as planned. And that reflecting on the way we teach is what will help us improve.  So instead of beating myself up, I tried the lesson again with strategies that I know offer the students more opportunities to speak.  This show is primarily about Language Experience Approach and also the QSSSA questioning strategy that John Seidlitz put together for us.

To read more about Language Experience Approach, check out this article from the Center for Adult English Language  Acquisition on the website:

In the show I mention Abydos International several times.  I recommend their training to everyone who teaches writing.  You can’t go wrong bringing them to your campus for the summer institutes.

I have a trainer’s certification and I will never let it lapse.  It is a rigorous certification program with very high standards and worth all the trouble!

I am not giving the institutes as part of my job but I value the learning a great deal.  This past weekend I went through a re-certification process at our annual conference. The lesson was well received and I have included the resources here on this padlet:

I was honored to have a book signing at the event along with Cris TovaniSara Holbrook & Jeff Anderson.  I also got to connect with my friend Brad Womack and all my fellow Abydos trainers.  It was a phenomenal weekend!

Thanks for reading and watching or listening.  This show and blog have helped me grow so much!

Hope to see you at one of the following events coming up!

If you’d like training, please reach out to Kathy Belanger to book Seidlitz Education consulting with your staff.




It seems like everyone is taking selfies!

   We see them on Facebook, on Instagram, and every other social media platform I can think of. So I find it ironic that many teachers shudder at the idea of filming themselves teaching a class.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be this way. In fact, I still cringe a bit as I see myself talking to a group of students or conducting professional development.

But now that I do it so frequently, the benefit outweighs any negative feelings I have about the errors that I see when I review the footage. I’ve gotten quite comfortable with the fact that no lesson will ever be 100% perfect.  That’s just impossible because we are human beings.

There will always be room for improvement. So why not embrace that? Why not challenge ourselves the way we challenge our students every day? “Put yourself out there.” We tell them.  But how are they supposed to believe us when we say that failure and errors are part of improving?  That they are opportunities to learn and get better?

I feel strongly that if we want our students to develop a growth mindset about their learning, we need to model that ourselves in our own craft.

This has been a super busy semester so I’ve been periodically filming myself teaching but I haven’t had as much time as I would like to review the films.    That changed yesterday when I made a conscious effort to do a Language Experience Approach lesson so that I could show it to another teacher. I was so happy with how the lesson went until I watched the film.  Now I’m honestly considering using it as a non-example! Ha!

I got some great advice from a former instructional coach, Curtis George.  It was something like “When you watch the film, don’t rip it apart for everything. You will see many errors because you are your own worst critic. Hone in on one thing and keep filming & tweaking your instruction to do your best to improve that one thing. Don’t show the film to anyone until you think you can’t  improve any further on your own.”  That was very freeing advice and has served me well.

After  watching my Language Experience Approach lesson, my “one thing” is obvious to me. I need to give the students more opportunities to speak.

And I live and breathe this stuff!!

The point is, I know I’m decent at sheltered instruction.  For example,  I know the benefit of students speaking and I value the 10-2 strategy where I don’t speak for more than 10 minutes before I allow them to speak for 2 minutes. But sometimes even that is just too long! I’m an ESL teacher for goodness sakes.  I saw a few missed opportunities for them to practice the language or talk about what they think. I saw many opportunities where I could have stopped sooner.

What I realized was that it’s important for me to watch myself teaching more frequently. Seeing myself on film is always going to give me a different perspective. That perspective is valuable and I would highly encourage everyone to give it a try.

The great news is that of course I’m putting things in place so that I give my students even more opportunities to own their learning. I’m confident that when I watch tomorrow’s film I’ll see myself talking less and they will be talking more.  If that is the case, I can move onto a different area where I want to improve.

And that will be a teaching selfie for another day!

Thanks for reading!


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