So are we going to give energy to that judging thing going on when adult observers come into our room? Perhaps we should remember that:
“Toutes les grandes personnes ont d’abord été des enfants….mais peu d’entre elles s’en souviennent.” (Le Petit Prince, Dédicace)
“All grown-ups were once children…but only few of them remember it.” (The Little Prince, Dedication)
I don’t allow myself to be nervous when observed anymore. There is a child in the person observing me, and there is a child in me, and their are children in our high school students (though few remember it) and we all probably just want to play, given the stress that we all go through – administrators, teachers and students – during our days.
Luckily, comprehensible input comes with a built in sense of play component, in the same way that language in general use seems to have a component that sometimes, unexpectedly, leads to laughter when something funny happens in the conversation, some funny image or thought at no one’s expense, if one is happy in one’s heart that day.
How to get these observers to play? Whenever I see an observer walk into my classroom I try to remember to think immediately that I now need to go fully twice as slowly as I was just going so that I can bring the observer into the learning.
I try to remember to make the lesson so slow that the observer as adult forgets that she is observing and the observer as child gets caught up in the wonderment that learning a language brings.*
One would object that this is not possible in any but a beginning language class. This is not true. I have always thought that comprehensible input should be comprehensible to anyone who walks in the room at any time, regardless of the level of the class. This is an entirely new topic, so I will leave it alone here, but I have thought about this topic a lot. Our job is to make ourselves understood. Period.
*do an internet search the term “transactional analysis” for more insight into the roles of the adult and the child in human interaction.