It occurred to me that some of the newer people in our group may not know what our curriculum looks like. In a word, we teach verbs. We don’t teach a mosh pit of intellectual/academic material that can’t be understood. We come into class and our goal is to get as many repetitions on a certain verb or a few. That’s all stories are – excuses to get repetitions on verbs in a context that the minds of the listeners won’t reject. Stories are not the point, and that is why on some days we do any one of a big group of other activities that have been described on this site over the years.
Everything we do is a ruse to get more repetitions on verbs. What about the other words in the language? They come along for the ride. They are all happy children in the car. But the real moms who are driving the CI car happily down Language Acquisition Road on a beautiful day in the new town called Making Our Jobs Work that we are now exploring are the verbs.
In this sense, the biggest mistake a language teacher can make at the start of a lesson is to be “prepared” for the class. Being prepared in the old way means have a lesson plan that, because it describes content and not process, is sure to strangle the life out of the class. CI depends on spontaneity and surprise, on those things that emerge unexpectedly as class moves along, and so the real challenge in this work is getting out of the way and realizing what our true jobs are, to get repetitions on verbs while staying in the TL and staying humbly out of the way of the vast possibilities that are available in each new moment of a CI class.