Those aware of what Paul is going through out there in Utah may not have read this from last February. Just so we know it’s not just unreasonable class size and load that is hampering his professional life right now. Those who may remember this may want to reread it just out of respect:
I just received some very disheartening news in my school that has 100% taken the wind out of my sails.
Tomorrow I having a meeting with the head of the World Languages at my district and I was planning on presenting much of the information that Robert has put together on scope and sequence. My state, Utah, just put together a common core and it is pretty good. It is based on the ACTFL proficiency scale, and leaves a ton of room for CI. Tomorrow’s meeting was to be about matching the state core to our district scope and sequence, but I was just informed this morning that my school will be expected to have common everything (disclosures statements, makeup policies, pacing down to the day with other teachers and within each class). While this could seem great, I’m very scared what that means to teaching to the individual students and classes. I teach 5 sections of Spanish 1 and not every class is in the same spot, and I don’t want them to be. One of my periods has acquired much more than the others, and I can’t be expected to have every class acquiring at the same speed.
We also have a French teacher in our department that is very stuck in her ways (drill and grill, ridiculous amounts of homework that is causing students to consider taking online French, an insane amount of vocabulary, and reading that is beyond the level of a lot of natives). She has the mentality that French weeds out the “not smart” students because of how hard it is. She has said that French is more difficult than Spanish because of the spelling, and says that CI is not a possibility in French, but may be good for Spanish. The French program in our district is much closer to having all of the scope and sequence finished in a way that “they say” meets the state core, but it is 100% based on the grammar model of teaching. It doesn’t align with the ACTFL because it is about teaching the language and not acquiring it. For example, the second unit is to learn the present tense of the avoir and expressions with avoir, and the vocabulary that is to help them do that is the schedule and time.
All that to say, I am afraid that because they are “ahead” of the Spanish department (because there are people like me fighting for CI) we will be pushed into adopting the way that the French team has laid out their scope and sequence.
I was reading Mike Peto’s blog post on transitioning a department to CI, and I was struck by the fact that moving too quickly to transition reluctant converts to CI could have serious repercussions if they are not trained (I am a second year teacher and am still learning a ton about CI, and do not have the expertise to train anyone).
I am aware that this is a bit of a rant and that I don’t really have any questions, but I was wondering what are your thoughts on my situation.