Arizona – 2

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46 thoughts on “Arizona – 2”

  1. The change to “college and career readiness standards” likely comes from Pearson, one of the companies trying to get in on the windfall for creating assessment for CCSS. PARCC-Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
    The PARCC website says, “The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.”
    As I understand it, Arizona is no longer one of Pearson’s state partners. This article shows how the wording of the website changed as partners have departed from the partnership since its 2011 startup:

  2. Nathaniel you are one bright light bulb. Dang boy! This is of extreme importance as states now start refusing testing as we have known it for the past ten years. The tide seems to be shifting. Parents are rebelling. The stage is set in languages for us because we deliver a real product that kids and parents like!

  3. Nathaniel,
    That is great stuff. I am going to look over and read more step by step. Thanks for sharing it.
    Once again you are right on… How do we simplify the question? The state of AZ wants feedback on what is basically ACTFL standards. Do we as a PLC support these standards?
    I loved Robert Harrell’s Scope and Sequence, what comes next? Most TPRSers engage in the grass roots approach to creating change. The PLC and individual teachers will continue to do so. It is righteous endeavor.
    The TCI community more sophisticated than ever with research in the field of SLA and we have tons of evidence of a more powerful way to provide quality teaching and learning.
    How do we get a seat at the table to make changes at the state an local level? How do we speak their language to serve the masses of learners as they are trying to do? Here, the state of Arizona has asked, so what can I respond with?
    Why are the K-12 standards bad for instruction, assessment, and yield unfavorable results in language acquistion? What are TCI replacement documents for state standards?

  4. Lest we become overly optimistic: Many of the states that left PARCC have become members of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The current member states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
    Smarter Balanced also has contracts with Pearson

  5. So far, what I have seen work has happened in at least 3 states….probably more. Colorado, New York, Maine. What happened? People devoted to TPRS/CI are also involved in the state language organization. The state organization is not only the group that state ed groups look to for connections and information, it is the ‘collective” for the powers that be in the profession, from pre-school through university level.
    It isn’t easy. It takes patience…..and time. But….repeated exposure to intelligent, dedicated CI teachers with good results…WHO ARE SEEN AS LEADERS changes minds.
    What we cannot do is go in as the enemy. We must see all of our state folks as allies, even when it looks like, and feels like they are against what we are doing. We must hold our ground. When we hold our ground as professionals and continue our commitment to CI. others begin to listen.
    I’m sure that there are many other ways. But this avenue remains open to us and we should utilize it. Join the state organization. Present at state conferences. Join committees that may not take a lot of time but do get you involved at the state level. These groups need you. You will get to know great people. You will lead others to join you. Please consider it.
    with love,

    1. I totally agree Laurie though I have yet to do very much of this myself. I started even smaller: local language-specific associations of teachers. I’ve decided if I go to any meeting like that, I will always offer to present something if the meeting includes a swap shop type of aspect to it.
      Do you know of language-specific national groups influenced in a similar way? I ask because I’d like some hope for Chinese national associations, which right now are not seeming very open to CI, and they are much harder to reach it seems.

    2. “We must see all of our state folks as allies”
      That is true. A lot of these people are on the frontline pushing for there to language at all. And it is a little tougher to do CI without the classes in place. My coordinator is faithfully pushing to get language in the lower levels. My push has been that we must teach in brain-friendly ways. I realized the other day that we are working from two sides of the same coin. I know she does not quite see my side, but I must support her on her side.
      I do not know any teachers who are not weary of more of the same. In MA we are still parking in PARCC, but as Robert points out, a lot of those have jumped onto the next Smarter, more Balanced treadmill. And four of those states surround us here in MA.
      One advantage we have is the energy that CI teachers take to the workplace. Another is the effort to put a fresh TCI face on each of the new demands.. Robert looks at Rigor and Relevance and shows us how TCI outdoes the competition in in R&R. Carrie looks at Backwards Planning and helps us to see that we do plan with the end in mind: End = Fluency; Plan = CI (Carrie actually goes into more detail). ACTFL publishes Can-Do Statements, and Michele says we can do those better than anybody.

  6. You nailed it Laurie. Diana Noonan here in CO is not only DPS WL Coordinator but CCFLT (state level organization) President this year as well. She gets her people presenting at all sorts of conferences.
    Funny image – each year the fall CCFLT meeting is one day only in November. Diana invited Carol to speak last fall. She did a day long workshop. The other officers in CCFLT chose to spend the day at the welcome table chatting away. They refused to listen to the fools. But the fools were in charge of a large group of teachers who were hanging on Carol’s every word. Hmmmm.
    So that is exactly it. We are lucky to have Diana – no bout adoubt it.

    1. I think Liam O’Neill (member on this PLC) is on the board of the New Jersey FL state organization
      (FLENJ). That might explain why Dr. Krashen, Laurie, and a few other CI teachers are presenting in NJ end of February.

    2. Change is happening in Colorado faster than you give it credit for, Ben. Diana is not the lone TPRS/TCI wolf in CCFLT. I am on that CCFLT board too, and managed to bring most of my department (who was very strictly 100% textbook/grammar/rules/vocab lists/English/English/English before I got there) along to Carol’s presentation. Bryce Hedstrom happens to be on the CCFLT board too. There are at least three more DPS teachers on the board as well. We know the contributions Mira has made and continues to make both to TCI and to CCFLT. TCI has a strong voice and a lot of leaders in Colorado.
      Even those ladies you mention sitting out front talking instead of listening to Carol are TPRS-friendly — it was not an act of defiance or disgust at Carol’s workshop. They are on a journey too, and wherever they happen to be on that journey, our role needs to be supportive and helping them where they are at. Viewing them as the enemy does not help them become better teachers, it does not help their students, and it does nothing to help our cause. Teaching is hard. Most teachers are doing the best they can where they are. Most teachers care about kids, most teachers want to do better for their kids. Also — and this is important — most teachers are tired.
      One teacher in my department gives packet after packet of worksheets to her students about decontextualized vocabulary and filling in the blank with the third person plural preterite of “to run”. She is not interested in changing this practice any time soon. But not because she is the enemy. She cares about kids and wants to be the best teacher she can be. But she just had her third baby, and her husband was just unexpectedly deployed, and there is too much on her plate right now. My job should not be to tell her how bad those worksheets are for her kids and how she needs to throw out her textbooks tomorrow and start telling stories. My job is to meet her where she is, and help her become a better teacher in whatever way she is ready for. Right now that most likely means not mentioning her worksheets and simply letting her know I care. Making her switch to TPRS right now is not the best thing for her kids; helping her keep her head above water is the best thing for her students.
      She does not become the enemy until I start treating her like an enemy.

      1. You are wise and kind man Matthew. Thank you for being part of our journey!!!! And thank you for mentioning so many of the people who are, and have been, part of the success of CI in Colorado. It is never a single individual. Always a team. There are many ways to encourage and support.
        Teachers feel exhausted. They need our love, support and encouragement. When they have a moment to breathe, who will they be listening to? Those who treat them with kindness or those who want to whip them into a frenzy over the “next best thing”? ( which may be what TPRS/CI sounds like to them!!)
        with love,

  7. Yes, we all want change right now, but it’s slow going. We must do what we can, when we can. Local meetings like our Chicagoland T/CI Saturday meetings are great – we always try to reach out and bring more newbies in. Bring a friend, someone from your dept. No admins are there – it’s relaxed, we eat together…newbies see real teachers creating real classrooms. Less intimidating, more supportive.
    Inviting folks to observe in your district/classroom is also powerful. The strategies thus have a chance to speak and shine for themselves. I was observed by an old friend/former colleague on Friday. She was flabbergasted that I communicated with my 3rd graders practically the whole time in Spanish – and that they clearly understood everything. She is an awesome teacher who has always done tons of large scale art projects in her Spanish program. Zillions of moving parts for her. She sees how this will streamline and invigorate her teaching life, but more importantly, she’s now willing to shift focus onto the Communication ‘C’ of the 5 Cs. She wondered why she hadn’t come to T/CI sooner, claiming that her earlier exposures to it weren’t great.
    I responded that we are often rule followers, and we’d been following ACTFL’s 5C’s – where they are particularly valued – in elementary school – where content integration/themed units are so important.
    In any case, she will hopefully continue to lean on our district for support, attend our next local Saturday meeting, and begin to transition her classes. I think in general summer is the best time to plan for such a leap, but readiness can happen at any time. We must constantly extend invitations and follow up with support.
    I try to occasionally respond to teachers on the nandu listserv when I see an opportunity. Someone wanted resources/ideas for a unit on traditional clothing. Serapes and ponchos etc. I gently warned about semantic sets and low-freq vocab, while also offering ideas about using pics and storytelling. I try to do it in a very friendly, logical, matter-of-fact tone – not one suggesting ‘my way is better.’ I try to end such posts with an outstretched hand – email me if you want specific materials, story scripts, etc. Let’s have a private convo about it.
    We are communication experts, so the word will get out. Once other Ts understand and the juggernaut of placing into a traditional HS class is dispensed with (this is a HUGE obstacle), T/CI strategies will take hold. We can all take small steps to move it along.

  8. Hey Michael. After reading this thread, are you thinking of revising your letter? I’m left thinking that the more you can warm up Ms. Galetti – appeal to her soft side – the more she might listen to you. One person at a time, right?

    1. Hey Sean,
      I missed your message until now. Judy Dubois helped me with a revision. I also had a few cordial message with Galetti. She is the one that first invited me to join the committee. You are right…one person at a time.

  9. Sorry to post a lot this evening. I guess I am wound up 🙂
    I really appreciate people giving feedback about the topic of FL standards in Arizona. I love living here but it can be a crazy place politically. I wrote about a dozen separate messages to the state of Arizona and as Laurie advised, I registered to be on the committee. I received an invitation today and plan to attend.
    “The Arizona Department of Education (ADE), invites you to participate on the Foreign and Native Language Standards Revision Committee. This committee will meet from 9:00-4:30 on Friday March 27th, at the ADE Central Building in Phoenix.”
    I will be there with my Krashen family photos and SLA research tattoos! Thanks for the support.

    1. Bring a blow torch. Just kidding.
      Bring the Hermanator. Just kidding (too many SLA tats).
      Bring a big bag of patience chips to munch on to keep in your mouth occupied until you have heard everyone and waited to speak. Not kidding.
      Speak quietly and calmly to the talking points you have collected and brought with you. Read directly from your points if necessary. Give them time to think about each point. Not kidding.
      If they think you need them to understand, they will make it a point to not understand.
      Report back here.

  10. Pre-Standards committee update
    I have a large collection of research and Standards work that I plan on bringing with me to the Arizona Department of Education meeting this Friday. Ha I am on this committee now.
    What I have come to realize about standards is that they don’t actually mean much. There are not too many teachers or admin that fully understand them. As I have heard Krashen say, there is so much in these “large packages” there will always be something people can find that they like.
    Standards end up becoming weightless because they are so packed and dense. The 2 resources that I find most helpful in my situation are ACTFL performance descriptors and Alignment of National Standards with CC$$.
    These documents are dense but they have a lot of language that we can use and interpret for the purpose of teaching with Comprehensible Input.
    If anyone has any other type of published document that could be used for the purpose of including CI in state standards please pass then along.
    I am not so naive as to think this meeting is actually asking teachers for legit feedback but I plan to be prepared enough to call them out if these standards are harmful.

  11. I have a question and I am looking for opinions.
    Pretty soon I will share some exerpts from the work on AZ standards. I see that in the revision process the ACTFL lobbyist (as I call her) is continuing to discuss updates in our online committee revision group. She has an agenda. She continues to throw in ACTFL stuff into the document. I am lacking the energy to fight this online.
    Anyways, below she has added program models to the standards. The other 2 members of the committee and I disagreed about giving examples. To us, the examples became suggestions. In the i.e below I almost got TPRS in the program model but she argued to me that TPRS is a method and not a program. It got really heated in the room on that day. I didn’t really care about adding TPRS as much as I did not want ANY program suggestion. This goes against the idea of INCLUSION that is so wanted in this document. As a consolation prize we added CI, as you can read.
    To my point. The ACTFL lobbyist asked to have “program models using comprehensible input” removed. I am PISSED because she got FLES, FLEX, and Dual Language Immersion listed.
    Can I make a legitimate argument for CI and TPRS as a “program model?”
    If I can convince the committee, I can possibly get TPRS or CI in the document. Any ideas or should I let it go?
    from the document…
    “…These standards allow for multiple entry points into language learning (elementary, middle or high school) and through various program models (i.e. FLES, FLEX, Dual Language Immersion, 9-12, program models using comprehensible input). In these standards we refer to “the target language,” which may stand for world language, foreign language, second language, and language other than English, American Sign Language, Native American or heritage language. The use of the word “heard” may signify “communicated” for American Sign Language.”

    1. I hate to agree with the ACTFL lobbyist, but I think I get what she means by program and in that case, TPRS is not a program. I’ve understood FLEX and FLES to be distinguished by instruction time and hence goal (motivate and expose vs. develop language abilities). TPRS fits into FLES or FLEX, depending on instruction time. If TCI were admitted, in fairness sake you’d have to include communicative approach and structural approaches.
      If someone has an argument otherwise, then I’d LOVE to see it, because I obviously would love to see TCI mentioned in state standards!

      1. Think I agree with Eric here. In the way this is written, the program model in which probably most of us teach is maybe something like “X as another language” or to use older preferred terms, “X as a second language” or “X as a foreign language.” As opposed to immersion or content instruction in the target language.

  12. Eric your opinion means a lot. I kind of figured the same…the document does seem to have the idea of inclusion even though it is becoming overly detailed.

  13. Larry Hendricks

    “To my point. The ACTFL lobbyist asked to have “program models using comprehensible input” removed. I am PISSED because she got FLES, FLEX, and Dual Language Immersion listed.”
    Michael, I’m a bit confused. I was a FLES teacher for five years, teaching military children on an Army installation. Was she saying FLES is a program or a method? And was she saying FLES should be removed?

    1. Larry,
      She wanted FLES and FLEX…She was saying that they are program models. My original thought is that including program models as an example could be harmful because it excludes. I actually think it isn’t necessary.
      To be honest, I am not familiar with those terms and those programs. She wanted them and I wanted programs that utilize CI. In her edit to the committee she removed CI. I was debating whether I should argue for the CI being included in this section.
      Her point is that CI is what you use and not a program per se…
      What do you think of FLES as a program?

  14. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    FLES and FLEX terms have lost luster and have been renamed (sorry – can’t remember new moniker-will google around and let you know). Another en vogue term bandied about is “early start-long sequence” – reflecting the long time it takes to acquire proficiency.
    FLES was supposed to be a program that was at least 90 min /week and taught in the TL…
    FLEX definitely doesn’t strive for proficiency – it’s looking for vague things like – ‘exposure,’ ‘cultural appreciation’ and the like.
    WHY does she want examples of program models in the document?

    1. Alisa, I thought the same thing. Why the examples? This document should serve all by being general. She was definitely passionate about FL so I appreciate that but in a way I felt she had an agenda. She seemed to be in the ACTFL circle and even discussed Paul Sandrock on a personal level.
      Depending on what I can find out about FLES and FLEX I am thinking about suggesting that examples be removed all together.

  15. Sorry I don’t have much to add, and what I’m going to highlight may seem pedantic, but I think it is extremely important. In the following sentence These standards allow for multiple entry points into language learning (elementary, middle or high school) and through various program models (i.e. FLES, FLEX, Dual Language Immersion, 9-12, program models using comprehensible input), there is an exclusionary statement.
    i.e. = id est, “that is”; the statement says that the items listed are the various program models, not representative examples. By implication, anything other than what is listed is not a program model. Are these truly the only program models that exist or will exist? This is especially pertinent if “program models using comprehensible input” is removed.
    If these are to be examples, then that needs to be e.g. = exempli gratia, “for example”

    1. Actually, I agree with Ben that the “examples” shouldn’t be there at all. But if you cannot get them removed, at least get them tagged as examples and not the only options.

  16. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    YES! Agreed. For example, there is Immersion and then there’s 2-way or ‘Dual immersion.’ These are different. The latter presupposes a mixed population – for example half native or heritage Spanish speakers, and half dominant-English. So the day might have some subjects taught in English and others in Spanish.
    But immersion (Spanish) for a class full of native English speakers would be quite different – much more sheltered – pacing, materials, focus as there would be no native speakers to contribute to the DIN!! When I was little I went to a Hebrew immersion school – half day Hebrew instruction, (Specific Social Studies & Lang Arts; religious studies) rest of the day traditional English language instruction (Math, sci, SS, Lang Arts).

  17. Larry Hendricks

    FLES stands for Foreign Language in Elementary School. I worked for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). I taught Spanish as a FLES teacher for five years, I think they adopted it two years before I started, as a pilot program. I think it’s firmly established by now, to me it has not lost its luster. It’s designed for grades K-3.
    The DoD definitely considered it a program. Textbooks were adopted, but I used TPRS as much as I could.
    I am for the FLES program, for two reasons. One, when the children who take FLES Spanish reach high school, they will already have a leg up on the language, a head start. That’s because children retain a language better than teenagers or adults do. Two, I always stressed how beneficial it was to be bilingual in our country and society. It opens doors that wouldn’t otherwise open. I worked one time with a high school principal who did a tour of duty as a National Guardsman in Afghanistan. He always said he would recommend two world languages to any student who asked him: Spanish and Arabic.
    Having said all that, I agree with you, Michael, that the examples should be removed.

  18. Michael you said:
    …Why the examples? This document should serve all by being general….
    That question gets to the heart of it in my view. I appreciate the points made by Eric and Diane, but your intuition to remove ALL references to programs speaks to me. None of that matters. The addition of outdated terms like FLES and FLEX merely serves to confuse and snatch the discussion back into the turf of the ACTFL thought-speakers because they are about the past, they are about perpetuating the past and a lot of what they say they obviously don’t mean like the 90% Use position statement. Their position is built on sand, not on rock.
    So by speaking up in that meeting:
    …it got really heated in the room on that day. I didn’t really care about adding TPRS as much as I did not want ANY program suggestion….
    what you did was challenge the authority of one group (ACTFL) to roll into an assumed open and free meeting at a state level and lobby for one point of view. In other words, ACTFL doesn’t want your thoughts on this and that lobbyist set about in that meeting – why it got heated up in there – to make you think that you were wrong by saying that TPRS is a method. TPRS is far from a method. It is a process, an approach, and it shows up differently in each classroom it is practiced in. Our textbook is the Three Steps.
    I can’t tell you how many trainings I have been to over the years where I felt stupid. College Board trainings, IB trainings, etc. – they all revert back to a lingo that I now see was designed to exclude. Those people use lofty terms to confuse. It cements their power over the process of “change” which is not change at all. Very dangerous to the kids of Arizona.
    I am sorry to suggest that you need to muster up some energy and not back down here. You must truly make yourself a pest. TPRS is a generalized approach with no rules and it is far from a program. What is wrong with including that, as opposed to outdated programs, to help people understand what is happening in the profession?
    ACTFL really is looking bad in this. The lobbyist is bad, doing bad things, keeping the sprigs of invention and new creation from growing by stomping on them in this meeting, keeping us focused on the past and not the future – in my view that is really what is happening here.
    I think you need to recognize that your being pissed here is a real sign that you need to fight back on this thing, and not let them confuse you with terms like program, method or whatever.
    Bref, I say you need to get that FLES/FLEX stuff out of there, at the least. That lobbyist is clutching at this process, and it is wrong. You must gently pry her hands off of the discussion, and not let her clutch.
    I wish Robert and Eric could fly in with their hammers and the three of you could play some Whack a Mole in the next meeting, but it looks like you are going to have to do this yourself.
    Unless you could get Diana Noonan down there. I will call her today. It’s a shot. If nothing else, as president of our state language association in CO she could guide you along and give you some support on what to say and do. You can’t do this alone, and what you have done so far up to this point is beyond belief and you are to be commended even if that ACTFL spider lady wins in the end.

    1. WOW Ben…I am all FIRED up!
      This document went from being a piece of crap into something inspirational and now it is being turned into a carbon copy of ACTFL stuff. I will still say that the idea of inclusion is present even though it is being overshadowed by ACTFL graphs and jargon (not my doing).
      Yesterday we were given permission to share the document with our colleagues so here is the link to the document of Google drive if anyone is interested.
      The yellow and green, and red highlights are what we are working on and is due Friday. This will go back out to the public next Friday for more public feedback throughout the month of May.

          1. Here is a link that should work.
            The special thing about this link is that if you dowmload it you can read Robert’s annotations. His remarks are located on the right in blue. You won’t be able to view his comments unless you download (at least on my computer).
            He did a great job with it. I shared Robert’s work with the committee and the directors at the department of Ed. Robert is a special guy…thanks Robert. I am glad I got to spend some time with you last summer at NTPRS 🙂

  19. Thank you everyone for your comments today!
    I was starting to feel mental fatigue about going back to battle with this lady. In some ways it could be of little consequence when fighting over a word here or a phrase there…but DAMN it! It is important!!!
    Ben I loved your message today! Robert your attention to detail with e.g. and i.e. will be the catalyst for getting the term CI back in the document.
    I shared some of the ideas with the committee group from you both. You guys were the saviors today for the teachers and students in AZ.
    Thank you so much!!!

  20. Robert and Eric helped me navigate some technical arguments over this past weekend. I owe them a huge thanks and a cold beer, hot coffee, or a stiff drink when I see them. 🙂
    To many there may not be much significance in these little words but the implications to those that know this stuff inside and out…it is a big deal. It looks like we were able to alter the language in quotations for some more concise and CI friendly wording which you can read.
    Here are 2 areas that we suggested that should be revised in order to avoid misinterpretations.
    From page 2 paragraph 2
    “Within these standards, cultural competencies are equally important as the ability to communicate.”
    “Equally important” as we know can have negative effects on TL development and usage. The below rewording seems to be accepted on the next draft.
    “These standards are organized under two broad categories: Communication and Intercultural/Cultural Competencies. They are not intended to be taught as separate entities but should be interwoven during instruction.
    From page 5 paragraph 1
    “While proficiency is the long-term goal of language programs, language teachers must provide explicit instruction and set up authentic situations so that students can practice or “perform” in these settings before someday going out into the real world where their true proficiency will be tested.”
    “Explicit instruction” and “authentic situations” were egregious and ended up getting reworded to the following.
    Because proficiency as an expression of acquisition is the long-term goal of language programs, language teachers must provide target-language input that leads to situations in which students experience real-world communication and thereby develop communicative competence.

    1. I really like those changes. The wording of a document like this is so important. Thank you for sharing the details of this work with the PLC. It helps a lot with my collaboration with the other WL teachers at my school.

  21. Huge. The rewriting of the standards allows us a horse in the race. Congratulations on seeing your convictions through. You ROCK, Michael Coxon!!

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