Look & Discuss 2

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9 thoughts on “Look & Discuss 2”

    1. It has always been my wish to just put off teaching culture until I could do it in L2. Even when I taught AP French Literature, it didn’t work. Of course then I was using the old ways.

      But even now, I would have to get a group of 9th graders and take them through to pass the AP in level 3 as 11th graders (no problem with CI) and then do the French art and French poetry and French history and all that stuff that has always given me admiration goosebumps (I am sure it is the same for many of us here in the disciplines we have worked in and devoted our attention to for so long out of love).

      But it still wouldn’t work in the TL. How could it? Our students have 500 hours of CI if we spend every class period in L2 for four years, and the kids couldn’t do a culture class in L2 without, in my estimation, about 2000 hours (16 years of high school French).

      So I have to let that plan go. When using L & D, I just tell who the artist is, give some background, an overview of the French art scene, whatever, in the minute I have and then onto the CI about the painting.

      I can’t resist saying this. If you are a university professor and reading this, how dare you try to pompously give some lecture to a bunch of four percenters in your level 323 literature class on Baudelaire/Rimbaud/LaForgue/Mallarmé when even they, those privileged kids who got As in French in high school but never heard the language enough, cannot hang with you? How dare you do that? Or do you just teach the class in English? Great. A third year college class in French Literature taught in English. Nice.

      It was like Jeff said here a few days ago (https://benslavic.com/blog/2013/03/29/what-makes-a-teacher-of-the-year/) about a clip of a Latin teacher of the year whose purpose seemed to be, and I quote from Jeff:

      …instead of trying to become more proficient in Latin, she wanted me to teach in a way that valued her perceived superiority. She wanted to feel better than everyone else and wanted me to make sure that she got that….

      Now looky here! Is this what y’all do? I am certain that nobody has called bullshit on you yet on doing that kind of stuff, but I am now. I want you to justify using the target language as a weapon to establish your linguistic superiority over your students.

      Shame on you and your colleagues who still do this. We live in a new time. This time – we are just now entering it – is about speaking to our students in a way that they can undertand us. Do that. Change. Accept my criticism of your misjudgement, that a kid can understand and process a lecture about French poets with only 500 hours in high school, when in your class they have MAYBE 100 hours of comprehended French practice, unless it was a TCI class.

      What have YOU done to help them understand your lectures in the TL? Have YOU tried to establish meaning before teaching Le Bateau Ivre? Do you even get why I ask that question? Do you see where your classes will be greatly improved, that distance with your students will greatly diminish, when you try to esablish meaning first? When you speak slowly enough so that they can understand you? When you look into their eyes to see how they are doing, without all those fake looks of understanding? Just bc they are so smart doesn’t mean they can process the language you use with alacrity.

      Shame on you again. And don’t get pissed at me, this is my site and I say what I want. Your turf is about to change. And say thank you, bc we in secondary schools are about to send you thousands of kids into your college language classes who CAN hang with you in your literature classes in the TL. Go ahead, teach them in the target language. Our CI kids, the ones we are teaching right now, can handle it.

      Revolutionary talk? That’s correct. And let me share one more thing while I got this bitchy edge going – you college Latin teachers better get ready for what’s coming your way. That’s all I’m gonna say on that. And if you’re in Athens, GA, it’s not too late to get in on Dr. Robert Patrick’s lecture at UGA on Comprehensible Input this weekend. Contact the Department of Languages there. Go.

  1. I really resonate with all that you’re saying, Ben. I also seem to really resonate with L & D, especially the idea of introducing students to paintings. I can really see incorporating this into the daily activities of my class. Next year, I want to get away from storytelling a bit and do more of the following:

    – PQA about the students and their world / interests
    – L & D with images, paintings, videoclips, commercials
    – One-Word Images (I like to call this, Create a Character)
    – Readings revolving around all of these different topics

    It may sound kind of eclectic, but I think, as long as I understand that I must go slow and deep (and have lots of repetition!), and keep my focus on the kids (and culture, because I think that’s highly important) then I will succeed. Especially with JGR and my version of SBG, I can only say that I’m really excited to try it all out and spend more time with my kids in the TL. Magical!

    1. Robert Harrell

      It may sound kind of eclectic,

      So now you can tell all of those sceptics that you use an “eclectic approach”. You just choose from a more focused list of activities. 🙂

  2. This is a great example of why I am now using the term TCI more than TPRS. TPRS, with its three steps, is a part of TCI, but TCI is a much bigger umbrella. Just talk to the kids in L2 so that they understand and so that they can cut through the boredom of high school to pay attention.

    Until recently I’ve thought that that cutting required personalization, like in PQA and stories and circling with balls, but it doesn’t have to. Pictures and videos can cut, too.

    Now I’ve got even more I can do with my kids. Geez! Stop it with the good ideas, people. Let me catch up. Well, let me finish the year first. Then I’ll catch up! 🙂

  3. Maybe this could be in category called “teaching culture” or something similar. I can see myself using more non-fiction sources like this with my older students next year.


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