#iflt18 and Slow

When I think of what it means to go ‘slowly’ in class, I often think exclusively of my rate of speech. This week at #iflt18, however, I learned quite a bit more là-dessus. Under the tutelage of Paul Kirschling, and working beside Allison Litten as an apprentice to an Adult French class, I learned that ‘slow’ can mean so much more than just the speed at which I speak.

  • Slow is gazing, pondering, looking off into the distance, pausing to laugh in delight.
  • Slow is using your body to communicate happiness, joy, a funny joke.
  • Slow is using the room around you to move and be closer to your students.
  • Slow is praising students when they use the signal for not understanding.
  • Slow is uncomfortable for the advanced speaker, but necessary for the novice.
  • Slow is listening to students and allowing time for everyone to understand before responding.
  • Slow is spending 10 minutes teaching the phrase ‘on y va’ with emphasis on each word to build meaning. Students had learned ‘on’ and ‘va’ the day before and Paul emphasized their prior knowledge and made them feel like owners of their learning.
  • Slow is walking to a word or phrase instead of using a laser pointer because it gives your students just a few more seconds of processing time as you walk.
  • Slow is reading faces to see if we should hangout with a certain phrase a little longer or gently move on.
  • Slow is a handshake, high five, or hug that pauses time for just a few more seconds.

I’ll share more takeaways from the #iflt18 apprentice experience later, but I’m channeling the slow and taking it easy :). It’s summer, after all!

Here’s Paul, taking it slow:


Here’s our AMAZING group of students we had for the week:


Gros bisous,



13 thoughts on “#iflt18 and Slow

  1. Beautifully written, insightful reflection. I noticed the same thing about Paul; in particular, the smiling reactions + wait time and the walking to the board to point. So helpful for novices!!


  2. I am glad you pointed that out about not using the laster pointer. It is much more powerful to walk to the structure instead of use the laser pointer. It was a pleasure watching your lab! Thank you! 🙂


  3. I got to observe one of the co-taught Adult French classes. While many presenters were younger, fitter, and more energetic (and Annabelle Allen’s “you are enough” post tackles the comparison problem), I found your calm, sincere and responsive style to be inspiring, because it reflects my own classroom personality. Thank you for sharing your apprenticeship with us. It was empowering.


  4. Thank you, Blair, for this thoughtful reflection. I was there at one of your lessons and noticed that about you, that you seemed to go intentionally and appropriately slow. Very insightful and useful for me as I begin my CI reading adventure in two days!


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