PLC Statement of Purpose

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27 thoughts on “PLC Statement of Purpose”

  1. I agree, Ben. We also need to be able to withstand political assaults, however. Defensive politics are necessary for us to do our jobs in the way we want. That has been and must continue to be a source for those who need protection. I agree with you and Robert that trying to out argue others will not make them change. To truly do what we are doing, they must want to change.
    Continuing support for small local meetings and perhaps suggestions and resources for those would not be bad. We have been meeting once a month in Galesburg with myself and Erin Crawford as well some more beginning level CI teachers who are getting their feet wet to varying degrees. I am about to use part of my day off to go observe Erin with another of the teachers from my school.
    The other thing that would not be bad would be outreach strategies to slowly convince those teachers who are willing to be convinced without offending and starting a war with those who aren’t. Hopefully we can take some of these teachers up to IFLT. I doubt we’ll get much school help for it, because we are running a deficit.

  2. I work in a vacuum – no one else in my department is even remotely interested in what I am doing. The admin is supportive thanks to the primer that Robert so graciously penned and shared a few years back. In the beginning of my TCI walk, I would eat lunch at my desk so I could read the blog to get an answer to a problem or a new idea. My plans for 7th period often changed on a dime depending on what I had read during my lunch al desko! To me, this community – all of you have become my colleagues in the truest sense of the word. I think we know what works in the classroom and I love that techniques are constantly evolving. I agree that the support piece is critical along with the cutting edge ideas – it is the best kind of research. Does it work for me and my kids? With that said, do we have enough resources on the blog to reference if an administrator wants the research? None of us needs convincing, but others with the power often do. Personally, I think we have enough. I am fine with brief updates from time to time. Never know when it could come in handy! Thanks Ben for continuing the conversation.

  3. Sure, this sounds like what I think the PLC is about: teaching skills, ideas, and approaches, teacher and student well-being, and addressing questions & needs of group members on those two issues. Sometimes that means supporting a teacher under stress/attack, which may mean a dab of discussion of politics or research is called for, I think.
    I like what Eric & Carol said, too. I think local teacher groups are great, and an important way for teachers to learn from each other, so helping those continue to increase in number is good too.

    1. I think Ben has already been doing this, but I think it extremely valuable how we can help individual teachers in a day or two, especially newbies to TCI, with their specific challenges they face with students, parents, or admin. Without our support many of our teachers wanting to go TCI won’t be able to. They’ll be looked at as luny-birds (I was a couple of years ago by my admin at that time) and dreadfully start to think of CI as luny as well.
      Reaching out to teachers in need like this folds over into the politics factor. We have to keep in close contact with those teachers that are willing to move to TCI.

  4. I agree with you Ben, that the focus should be on #’s 3 & 4:
    3. Mental Health (ours and our kids)
    4. Strategies that kick ass
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that happens here on the PLC!
    (By the way, I just found last week that I am the Teacher of the Year in our district, and I firmly believe it is because I am using CI/TPRS. Recently the principal and the superintendent visited my French classes. They were super complimentary about how engaged and enthusiastic the students were. They could see the joy and fun and learning that was happening. I feel that this is a victory for CI/TPRS!
    And I am glad to have this victory, as I hope it will help me in dealing with the transition my 8th grade to students will be making next year to a high school with a traditional grammar/textbook program.)

    1. Congratulations Don!!!!!! So happy for you to have received this appreciation and recognition! So happy for your students that they have you as a teacher!!
      with love,

          1. Thank you Judy! I look forward to seeing you in Agen too – very excited about this!
            Also, (and I meant to respond earlier) – thank you to all (Ben, Carol, Sean, Diane, James, John, Laurie, Catharina, Melissa, Nathaniel) for your supportive comments! Very appreciated!
            And I did my first Movie Talk this week. ¨Chicken and the Egg¨ It worked! The Movie Talk was a good break from the stories, especially for my 8th graders. I now see how Movie Talk can be one of the CI/TPRS tools!

          2. OK for those of us are still skittish about MT (moi) can you give us an outline of exactly what you did to make that MT class work, Don? Like a step by step description of it?

          3. Ok. I followed the suggested order you recently posted (I think it was you!): 1. Previewed video 2. Chose structures (eggs, falls in love, feels guilty) and added other important expressions to help in our discussion (has an addiction, has a powerful urge, is addicted to, and a couple of others.) 3. assigned jobs 4. told the students (in L2) that I would not be showing the entire video until we had finished discussing it (so don’t ask me to!) 5. Established meaning on the three key structures 6. I started the video and I stopped every few seconds to discuss what was going on and to do some PQA 7. Finished the discussion and showed the video non-stop 8. Took the script writer’s script and typed it up for discussion the next day 9. Reviewed the artist’s drawing 10. Gave the 10 question quiz.
            We gave the characters names and a little back story also. We were in L2 the entire time. As I said before, it was a good break from storytelling, and now I will go back to storytelling next week. (Probably Anna Matava’s Table Manners 1)

          4. Me likey. I like the validation on the sequence. I am so right brain dominant that a list like that is just so valuable to me. I will put what you did in the new version of Stepping Stones as an example of a successful first try at MT. Please email me permission to do that.
            Look at what you are doing. Back and forth between MT and kick ass stories, with so many other activities/strategies just loading up the table. Anne will be happy to know that you are doing Table Manners. I just know it. It’s an all you can eat menu that we are building here. That’s for sure. Thanks Don!

          5. For Spanish: se siente culpable-he feels guilty, se enamora de Ella-he falls in love with, and es adicto a los huevos- he is addicted to eggs
            Could someone let me know if these are the best way to say these?

  5. Congratulations, Don. I believe your “BTW”fits under #3 Mental Health. It does us all good to rejoice with the those who rejoice.
    Also under Mental Health is clarification of vision, purpose, priorities, terminology, etc. I have found that this helps with confidence in the classroom, in connection with colleagues, in discussions with support personnel (guid/admin), and interaction with parents. Two examples come to mind. 1) Rigor and Relevance (Rigor is so easily misunderstood because its common meaning (hardness) is very different from its special meaning (sustained focus), see Robert’s contributions to this under Primers). 2) 5 Cs. Our goal is the 1st C, which is the foundation and vehicle for the others.
    Mental Health and Out of the Park Strategies. That is why I joined the Blog. Thanks.

  6. I eat up everything I read on the PLC as food for thought and/or action.
    One thing about the research, which I find so fascinating and would hate to see any of it go away: it fortifies our position – neutrally – it speaks for itself. For example, Helena asked me for our district’s SOPA results. She wanted to see the bottom line: Our trend lines shot up w/the onset of T/CI, to the extent that we had some intermediates in 6th grade!!
    As K Rowan says, we need to be the smartest in the room when discussions and questions about SLA come up; we need to know some of that research.
    Also, Eric has been working tirelessly on the topic of assessment, trying to hone a fair measurement tool. He’s been working with another researcher (Mason?) What a fabulously practical and groundbreaking piece of action research!! While the politics and research may play second fiddle, they are part of the teachers’ reality. I love reading (and learn from the wisdom in) the supportive letters to our colleagues in arms who are engaged in mean political struggles, and my thinking is pushed by the researchy stuff too. It’s all fabulous stuff. The strategies and support are what we came here for, but the other two are…priceless.

    1. That’s great to hear that your SOPA results went up. And you guys in Winnetka have only been doing TPRS for a couple of years, right?
      I too am looking forward to hear more about what Eric finds on creating a fair assessment tool.

  7. Ben, I think all 4 of these might serve the members of the PLC well.
    1. Politics
    2. Research
    3. Mental Health
    4. Strategies that kick ass
    Why discuss politics?
    Politics or advocacy will be an ongoing process for the leaders of SLA to make sure the voices of our students are heard. Students want to acquire language before learning about it, yet the opposite occurs in the classroom across the US. Finding ways to make lasting changes in education reform is relevant. WE are the leaders and should be a part of the change we want to see. Advocating publicly is what will help make changes (Agreed, it does suck the soul out of us though) 🙁
    Why share and discuss research?
    I know not everyone is in to reading Research but it is a part of everything that is talked about nowadays. We do have to be the “smartest ones in the room” when it comes to this stuff. If not we can easily be defeated by a room full of narrow-minded thinkers that teach as they learned.
    Justification for the shift in the paradigm of teaching requires a background in all things related to SLA research. Since most of us probably know more than our colleagues counterparts we probably should be the ones to continue to share such information. This also helps protect us mentally…we need validation at times that “large quantities of comprehensible input” is the way to acquiring language. Sometimes it is hard to see when February rolls around and kids don’t get it.
    Why should we discuss research…
    1. for our students
    2. for our colleagues
    3. for justification for using new strategies
    4. for reminding others how acquiring a language really happens
    5. for growing and developing new ideas
    Making decisions based on research is necessary especially as we continue to change and evolve. TPR to TPRS to TCI was all based on people in the processes of trail and error while using research to guide instruction.
    Strategies 3 and 4 are right on…we all need each other for support and growth. I am newer to this PLC, but I wanted to share that Research and Politics are areas that we should not abandon.
    I do agree with you Ben, that of these, POLITICS is the one that I like the least. It actually sucks us in to bitterness and deprives creativity of our art form.
    My Arizona post is really a hopeless cause as was the ACFTL battle in November (in a way). Nonetheless, these were important and I have a lot of pride in people in the TCI community and this PLC for how they know their stuff and weren’t afraid to challenge the “MAN.”
    I recently posted to ACTFL community since Paul Sandrock had a strange post the other day. I am not giving up on trying to get him to NTPRS or iFLT this summer. Part of TCI advocacy is getting others to experience TPRS I plan to keep trying. For me, that post is has a political agenda. My alterior motive is that I want to get ACTFL people drinking the CI Kool-aid.

  8. I hear that Michael and I do welcome all posts and comments on politics and research. We certainly have the guns here to cover those areas in unique and convincing ways, starting with the Bear and the Jackal and you and Nathaniel and Jody and Judy and a lot of other PLC members. By the way, I am told that Eric really does have much of the research engraved in very small letters on both arms.
    We are very lucky in that way to have these minds here to address those first two topics. I think I could have said it better by saying that my own priorities for this group are the latter two of mental health and strategies, but for others it could be all four. Thank you for the clarification.
    One thing I noticed today in this L1/L2 argument, because that is what it is, a kind of battle: Not once have I felt like I was in a battle of the sort we got involved in with the ACTFL people last November. That was ugly. But look how we have argued points for and against the full use of L2 in our classrooms. It hasn’t even felt like a fight. We are maturing. That feels good.

  9. Haha!
    I always imagined Eric to have a picture of Krashen on his refridgerator or one among the family photos in his house 🙂 The sleeve tattoos of SLA research is even better!
    I definitely agree that this is a maturing and evolving group that I am proud to be a member of.
    Thanks for the post!

  10. Didn’t want to reveal my immaturity (was it really immature to bicker for a month?), but I thought our blazing smoking ACTFL onslaught was important. It got influential WL leaders listening, if temporarily. Maybe it got some folks questioning their practices. It invited the wider community to define terms. It was snarky at times, but we held our own, with dignity and grace. No one will be surprised as the CI movement grows and evolves. We put it out there. It was a tour de force.
    Of course when we debate practice (L1/L2 usage) within our circle, the tone is different. We speak the same language, and we don’t approach the discussion with an air of superiority or distrust. We want to learn from each other- we come from a place of trust.

  11. Brigitte, Carly, Angie and myself got together yesterday for lunch. There was so much to talk about that we barely scratched the surface. Out of our group of 4 musketeers, I might be the one -lately- who’s moved to the front row with my hand raised a little too often, but they all read/listen attentively to what is shared on this blog.
    I was under the impression that although all “four factors of our work” (as stated in the original thread) are intrically related, it can be overwhelming for a newer member to read lengthy technical posts. The feeling that we are not alone in this, that we all experience highs and lows, that we share home-run stories or “kick ass strategies” seem to matter most. We agreed that TPRS is difficult, and that none of us had yet found the time to join the local knitting club or play bridge. As Susie Gross cheerfully had promised 🙂

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