Cherie’s situation and a recent email communication with Reuben Rojas in L.A. prompted this post. I will certainly get some heat on this from the TPRS purists who say that it is CI or the highway, but it’s just an idea. This could impact teachers doing CI in those in departments that haven’t yet shifted their vision to comprehensible input, who insist on the old ways, because fighting those dudes can be just nasty. It’s a possible olive branch for them, conceived within the primary theme of this PLC, which is that getting better at using CI in our classrooms is far less important than keeping first and foremost our mental health intact.
Anyway, here’s the idea:
New Weekly Schedule
Day 1 – Story (FVR, 25 min. story, process artist, quick quiz).
Day 2 – Reading of the story using whichever of the 21 steps described in the “Reading Options” (I recommend steps 4-7).
Davy 3, Option 1 – One option for the third day of the sequence is to use whichever of the other 21 reading steps you prefer.
Day 3, Option 2 – Do intense grammar worksheets the entire period, to get the kids ready for what they will experience at the next steps in their articulation path.
Then rinse and repeat that sequence. Of course, the objection is that when using the Day 3, Option 2 choice for how to use that third day, we lose 33% of the year’s available instructional minutes.
It is a solid objection, except for at least four factors:
- For mastery of a language the kids need well over 5,000 (up to 10,000 and more) hours. In a four year program, we have 500 available. At least 100 of those will automatically be lost to “school”. The remaining 300 hours are vastly insufficient to get the kids to the levels we desire for them. So why work so hard when our main job as language teachers should merely be to get our kids interested in pursuing the language in a serious way beyond their high school years, which they normally don’t do when they come out of language programs because they think they suck at it because the program they came out of was grammar based?
- We must be in harmony with those with whom we work if we are to keep our mental health. The days of fighting others about this work are over, and we as a group have come to that conclusion over the past ten years of sturm and drang, and we have come to that decision the hard way.
- By insisting on Day 3 being a grammar day, we really let the pressure off of ourselves as we work on our CI learning curve. (While our kids are doing the worksheets, I suppose we could be walking around the room showing off our grammar skills, but why do that? We could be sharing ideas here on the blog or the Forum. We could be reading any of the other fantastic new sites that are springing up like mushrooms all over the place about CI. The kids don’t really care, most of them except that one kid whose parents have convinced him that grammar is the most important thing in learning a language, and he is now happy with this new idea. The kids only care about it being easy and copying verb forms and adjective endings makes for an effortless class for them.)
- The contrast in levels of fun and engagement of the kids between days 1 and 2 and day 3 will certainly attract administrator attention in the building.
Maybe someone in the group will give this a try. Buehler? Buehler?