Red Flag

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9 thoughts on “Red Flag”

  1. This comes as a surprise to me. Greg Stout is having great success transitioning a group of high school kids from the old ways to lighthearted personalized stories in a school that takes itself very – seriously – (my own 4 kids’ school…). Only rare students can stay focused for a whole period being lectured.

    I would agree that in high school CI 5 minutes here and there would be a good start. Any curriculum, any traditional lesson can use some circling. No point or pause, no questions on the walls, just plain simple circling.

  2. Yes, I should add that point about circling to that article. It is a very important one. We can get away with circling with upper level kids who have been taught traditionally, but we can’t get away with jamming the whole story thing down their throats. Thank you for the clarification, Catharina.

    I didn’t mention Greg because honestly his is the only case that I personally know of where a teacher didn’t encounter significant pushback when trying to change a school too fast, over months rather than years. If there are others, I stand corrected, but what Greg did is in my experience rare. It would be nice to learn, however, if many teachers have made the change without opposition!

    1. I feel like it’s happened to me at my school this year. The only semi-cooperative class got over pretty well within the first 3 months of school – the Chinese 2’s, mostly sophomores with other issues affecting them.

      Maybe with Chinese the relief at being able to succeed and feel the difference in their comprehension was a part of their acceptance. I am thankful.

  3. Jeffery Brickler

    Heed Ben’s words here! I can’t express to you how important it is to do what he is saying! I switched my classes over to CI and they sucked and have continued to suck. I have students in m 4/5 class that are a giant pain in the behind, because they got a change. They preferred the old method and they even fought back tooth and nail. They never bought in and they suffered for it for the last 3 years. Many of them have little ability because they fault against me. They also complained to the principal, to their parents and generally made my life difficult.

    If I were to change anything about what I have done, it is this point. Start with a level I class. Don’t try to change your other classes. They won’t do it and you will pay the price. Now I have kids in my upper class who are mean and won’t engage. It’s so disheartening.\

    In order to keep my sanity, we are going to go back to book work with more traditional assessments. Vocabulary quizzes and readings. I’ll even throw in some games that don’t help with acquisition, but they like, just to get them off my back. My sanity matters.

  4. Teacher abuse. Heartbreaking! How can TPRS work if kids don’t do a minimum.I am so sorry to hear about ungrateful students. You have all our support. Yes your sanity matters the most.

  5. I’m the person Ben was originally rsponding to, and as Jeff can attest, the traditionally trained Latin student is a different beast, an extreme version of what some of you mod. language teachers deal with. The thing is, with traditional Latin, there is no communicative component, so even circling can be met with suspicion/derision by kids and adults (parent, admins, colleagues–see John B.’s comments). Often kids are in Latin because they don’t want to communicate, and don’t understand or care how active use promotes reading comprehension, so this is very subversive work, and can endanger careers if the transition is not made carefully and diplomatically.

    1. Two feelings come to mind when I think of you Latin Kings.

      1. I’m very happy that you guys are doing what you’re doing
      2. I can’t believe you guys are doing what you’re doing (takes an awful lot of courage)

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