Although it’s not a complete definition, comprehensible input is easy to understand if you think of it this way:
…it’s what you do to avoid your students having the thought “I don’t understand what my teacher is saying.”
(Sr. Howard’s revised definition 10-27-16: “L2 input becomes comprehensible when a student finds meaning in the L2 (linguistic) input apart from the aid/crutch of extralinguistic cues.”)
Language teachers, that stay in the target language, must avoid students thinking, “I DON’T GET THIS,” at all costs. If a student makes the conclusion that he/she can’t understand, there’s very little time before the student loses interest. Not only will a student lose interest but their belief that they can succeed in the foreign language classroom is threatened.
To all foreign language teachers embracing an immersion model of instruction:
Do everything you can to make the students believe that they can understand at least 80% of what is happening in the classroom.
Share your target language teaching experiences!