A Blow To His Confidence 10

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6 thoughts on “A Blow To His Confidence 10”

  1. The problem is, if the class expectations are grammar based, then the grades a student earns are dependant not only on being able to produce language so that is sounds right, but also being able to regurgitate the rules and apply them without context. So, given that this situation involves classes that are heavily grammar dependant + students who are not excelling with the traditional instruction, I can absolutely see why finding a way to teach the grammar rules to these students would be as vital to them as learning to tell stories. It’s a matter of survival.

  2. I inherited a fourth year class that has been taught nothing but grammar for years. The confusion is triumphant in their brains. They never knew it.
    The only solution I can see is that districts that go ahead and finally do the right thing of splitting off the grammar and putting it out back next to the outhouse where it belongs. In Denver Public Schools we are now Krashen based. We have a coordinator and principals and others at the very highest level of curriculum development who embrace that notion. These people have HAD ENOUGH of grammar instruction and assessment. They engage us in daily conversations about this change. In that, we are fortunate. This change is going to take courage and, especially, courageous curriculum leaders who know the deal and will not buy into the status quo that is strangling our kids’ minds. Just because things are as you describe them, Jennifer, doesn’t make them right. The change will continue steadily as each state aligns with the proficiency guidelines. If anyone reading this can’t wait for your district to align, then move here and we will put you to work. We want this change in this district and we are going to make it happen.

  3. Diana Noonan is at East today and she just added, “Can we in fact give grades that are not connected to grammar? Yes, absolutely.” That recalls Susie’s idea that the kids really do forget it in that learning environment, anyway. And Diana adds, “We waste SO MUCH TIME teaching kids ABOUT the language when we know that they will forget it.”

  4. What a great thread. I have a student who just left us to go to another school. Before she left, she told me that the new school already told her that she will be a little behind – whatever that means. So sad that her last week here was spent with her nose in a textbook. It’s really going to be interesting to see how my numbers shake out for next year.

  5. No, it does not make it right. But I do understand why these kids are asking K. for help with their grammar. It doesn’t matter how eloquently they can talk about french fries falling from the sky, or even if they can ask that cute girl out on a date. If they don’t know how to manipulate the grammar (and by the proper terminology) their teachers will never realize they “got it.”
    It’s the same reason I cave and teach my students “formal” grammar. It’s great that they can talk and write essays. (In fact, as we know, that’s really the only thing.” But, when they leave my class and their new teacher asks them for the correct IOP, and they stare blankly at her, I have failed them. I think. They are now confused because they thought they understood, and now they are told they know nothing and they got it all wrong. And their new teacher doesn’t hear the sheer genius of the sentence “I wish french fries would fall from the sky.” The new teacher just hears that they made a mistake in their pronunciation, grammar, word order… what have you.
    My compromise is to ask stories and provide CI…. and THEN after the pop-ups and the stories I teach them more extended pop-ups with the technical terminology. So, when they do go across the hall, they don’t feel totally lost, and they aren’t reprimanded for “not studying enough” or told that “maybe foreign languages aren’t the best course for you.”

  6. Jennifer you are not wrong and you have not failed them. You have failed them when you realize that you have not been doing reading or doing auditory CI 90% of the time, especially at the lower levels. We can, of course, throw in the 10% of English for relationship building. We can look at the IOP rules and all in later years, of course, once that auditory base is there and the class retention rates are sky high and our customers are happy. The person across the hallway is judging your work without fully understanding it. Bless his heart. It is his mistake and not yours. He is asking for the correct form of IOPs too early, before allowing the child to hear the IOP in a rich and interesting bed of speech connected to compelling meaning. It is like asking a mechanic in their first year of training to take out a specific tool (the IOP) and fix a car without knowing what the engine of the car (the L2) looks like. That is a serious professional error. The shitty karma goes to that teacher. Your student isn’t behind at all. You are doing things in the right way. The error lies across the hallway. My district coordinator Diana Noonan just walked out of my office and she said most the above to me in a conversation just now and I am just restating it here in this comment to what you said. So I need to credit her for the above content. The thing about Diana is that she has neither the time nor the inclination to take the time to pick apart this argument any further. That has been the work of the past ten years or more, and now we are done with it, and we need to move on, with as many teachers as are willing getting on the same page as quickly as possible for the benefit of the kids, and just roll up our sleeves together and move this entire party into a phase of doing instead of staying in the phase of talking. The time for talking is over. That’s why I want to take this blog into a skills only place. Diana states clearly to all of her teachers that those who wish will now be given a lot of district training in comprehensible input methods, and that she will fully support them as they cut their teeth and learn how to do it. Classroom visits are on the increase in and beyond buildings in DPS. There is no forcing going on, just a big wide open invitation to get better at this stuff fast – come and get it and first come first served! When Diana says that 90% of instruction should be given in the target language, it is hard to argue that point – a person would have to be a bit silly not to agree with that. C’mon now. Your colleague across the hall obviously is professionally silly. IOPs my ass. The Krashen bulldog has been let out of the backyard and he is now bounding down the street at a high rate of speed, teeth, legs, eyes, and ears akimbo. This blog is for people who want to run with the Krashen dog. It’s too late to continue to support a way of teaching languages to kids that has outlived its time. That barking sound seems to be getting louder….

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