Q. So how do you really feel about Can Do statements, Ben?
A. Thank you for asking! I think that they are about as useful as a screen door in a submarine because they favor the few. We can’t teach that way anymore. Therefore, in my view, the best use of time in a foreign language classroom would be when we get our students fully focused on truly compelling messages, as per the research, so that they are completely and not partially oblivious of the fact that they are hearing a language that they do not know, because they are so focused on the message being delivered. A student learns a language because she wants to understand what is being said, not to satisfy some teacher holding her responsible for words far earlier than the research indicates she should have to sweat them in class. To such teachers, I say, “Learn what the research is, then adjust accordingly. if you do so in a spirit of honest inquiry, then you will agree that measuring kids’ ability to do Can Do statements before level 3 at the earliest is a bad practice.”