Personally, I don’t like the pressure to create a great story in every class. There is the idea out there that the teacher has to walk into the classroom and create with her students a great story, as long as they have the skills. Too much pressure.
In that story model, everything, all the interest and energy, originates with the teacher, whom we can call Point A, and goes to the students, whom we can call Point B, whose actual contribution of cute answers to the story is, in fact, fairly minor.
Teaching from Point A to Point B. That lacks imagination. What else is going on in the classroom? What parts of kids, their talents and greatness, their accomplishments in real life or imagined life, have we not brought into the discussion? And why have we missed it? Can they function as “points A” in our classroom? Can we make it less about ourselves and more about the group?
Maybe we were too focused on teaching something concrete, something connected to a thematic unit or something. Maybe, instead, we can use our intuition when we talk to them in L2, not limiting our discussion to factual things but rather tying it to things that might just be there in the room, pinned down and thus ignored (the French verb “ignorer” means to “not know”) under the weight of the thematic unit vocabulary and other concerns tied to our curriculum, esp. the divisive backwards planning for a novel that the TPRS people do.
To think about what is possible, to try to move the L2 discussion into imaginary realms with everyone contributing equally, to paint with language in such a way that the kids say things like, “Hey, you are painting my picture there in class today!” or “Hey I love it when you talk about my drawing!”, or to create some whacky little scene completely unconnected to a story or anything else, simply because it is a fun thing to create, these are options to all of us in our CI worlds, as long as we can think in new terms.
This reflects my favorite quote from Soren Kierkegaard:
“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible.”
This is the way I want to interact with my students in L2. This is how I want to teach. This is what it means to me to be a teacher.