Because of the Opposition

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11 thoughts on “Because of the Opposition”

  1. Here is something that I wrote as a signature for my emails that connects to the above:

    …with stories, teaching a language successfully is very difficult, but it reaches most students. Without stories, success is virtually impossible, and reaches only a few bright kids. You have to pick one of these. If you pick the first, you align with 21st century standards. If you pick the second, you align with nothing. You do, however, convey the illusion to lots of kids that they can’t learn a language. Don’t do that anymore….

    1. Amen. I really really love this. I am going to share it extensively. People don’t get what we are doing. I know it is not my job to put energy into convincing ppl. I just need to ground myself and do the work. But I am tired of well-meaning ppl suggesting more activities for me to try, technology and websites that “might be good,” telling me I need something to submit for the (new, required) digital portfolio, advising me on how I can “get kids speaking,” asking me “when will my child be somewhat fluent?” Blah blah blah. Tired of kids suggesting “Hey, we should ______” (fill in the blank with “play games, make a movie, have a vocab list and vocab quiz each week, ….” I have a heavy feeling these past couple of weeks. Stuff not clicking. Feeling out of sorts. Etc.

      This is a good reminder. I will post it where I can see it daily, along with the Merton quote and the Einstein quote.

      Before the storm, I spent 2 days w/ a bunch of kids at the Connecting for Change conference. Guess what some of the recurring themes were…eye contact and listening! Not surprising, but so nice to hear in a truly global context. On the first day they challenged everyone to “connect with someone you don’t know, make eye contact, smile at someone, acknowledge them, listen.” Get it? Connecting for Change!

    2. I am aware of what you are saying – intensely at times. I also feel a real wave of openness for TCI. Monday afternoon I am going to the University of Maine to present TCI to the education Language majors. I did this last year as well.

      My concern and passion right now is how to mentor, teach, coach and encourage those that show interest and begin to try the method. It is such a LONG and the method so difficult that so many quit long before they are skilled at it and blame the method and claim that it doesn’t work.

  2. “We are doing more than we think, y’all. And how do we know that? Because the opposition in the invisible world, in class, out of class, everywhere, is just so strong, almost like a hurricane.”

    This is so true. Everything that has ever made a difference is always met with boatloads of opposition. We are powerful and awesome and we care about ALL of our kids learning and not just the smart kids.

  3. I was definitely feeling this way today! I have one student who was complaining that we do stories everyday…. how horrible of me to teach them French rather than just let them do easy worksheets. A parent also wants to have a meeting with me as she is concerned that her daughter is not learning French… so that will be something to look forward to.

    1. Kristen this mother knows another way of learning from another era, in the last century. She most likely succeeded with A’s. She probably thinks she knows the language – most of them do until somebody says something to them. So understand very clearly that her agenda is going to be to bring to you what worked for her. I agree with Chris but don’t approach her in an aggressive way – you can’t chip away at her with facts when she already thinks that she knows what you are doing wrong. (This is like a patient telling a doctor how to operate but let’s leave that one alone here for now.) I always like taking the position with these bozorific parents that I would LOVE to teach the old way (after all, as a 4%er I did it for 24 years in a row) and I would just BE SO HAPPY if I could do that bc I just LOVE grammar so much (I do) but now the tables have turned on all foreign language teachers (this is the moment to take out the ACTFL statements – find them in the Administrator/Teacher/Parent Re-education category here or on the ACTFL website) and explain how your hands are now tied, and that now you have to teach for the big Communication Standard, and in particular for the Three Skills, and in particular for the big dog of the Three Skills, the Interpersonal Skill, and “would you like to see the rubric I use” (jGR) “which is based on the national standards” and “I am so glad you came in because, in fact, your daughter doesn’t quite understand how the new standards apply to her and that now the focus on the Communication Standard means that she must do these things and that dear mom pls. come to class to see what happens when the student hears the language all the time in class and how that works because that is how I am going to grade your daughter so we might as well all get on the same page, mom, and I am just SO GLAD you came in and boy how smart you are to bring this to me and I am SO GLAD we are having this talk and maybe you can even HELP ME by telling what we are talking about to any other parents who might share your concerns because if you would do that for me it would just be REALLY NICE OF YOU and THANK YOU for this meeting! Then have these posters up and ready, blown up as BIG posters on the walls ready for mom to see when she comes in for the visit. These are from Clarice. Use them with parents:

      Here are a few other things you might want to print off for this meeting:

  4. Now I get it! Opposition and this post. Yes, I’m beginning to get it. Thanks for this post, Ben. I can see that my engaged, alert students are acquiring language skills and enjoying it. But there is opposition by default (because of things like jen’s comments above, people don’t know better but think they do) and opposition on purpose (because there are kids who don’t want to engage). It got harder for me about 2 weeks ago. I wonder if this is an October thing, too…

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