From the archives:
If your department is tipping or has tipped in favor of CI, I suggest that we create a document that we can all use at the first Parents Night next fall. In that way, we can tell the parents that this same document is being presented to parents around the world, that it is new and strikingly different, but it is the way we teach. We could state our truth.
What thinking lies behind such a document? It is a strong feeling here I am having that we need to stop apologizing for ourselves because we use comprehensible input in our teaching, as per Michael’s famous Really? questions from last week. It is a feeling that something has tipped in favor of our stopping to try to fit it in (we don’t!) with those who teach in the old way. Haven’t we had enough of that? Can’t we just state our truth publicly and take the results like adults? I think we would be surprised by the reaction of parents at Parents Night if we did that.
But we need a shared document. Now (a) I could sit here and comb through the fantastic documents already created here on what to say at a job interview, etc. or (b) I could just give a few examples below and then the group can fill in the comment fields below with more statements of our truth and we could build it that way. I vote for (b).
Let’s use this template unless someone has a better idea:
World Language Student Expectations at Abraham Lincoln High School:
1. Knowing that languages are acquired without the learner actually thinking about them, students at ALHS will be put into classroom situations where they focus not on the language but on the meaning of the language.
2. Knowing that languages are acquired when the learner hears and reads them first, ALHS students will be put into situations where they primarily listen to and read the language first, especially during the first few years of study.
3. Knowing that the emergence of speech in a foreign language requires huge amounts of time (thousands of hours), and that that amount of time is not available to us in our school setting, ALHS students will be given the time they need for their speech to emerge naturally over time (as with small children). Their speech will not be forced.
4. Knowing that writing of a language also requires huge amounts of time to emerge (thousands of hours), and that such time is not available to us in our school setting, ALHS students will be given the time they need for their writing to emerge naturally over time (as with small children). Their writing will not be forced.
5. A statement about homework goes here.
Those are just examples. It would be cool if individuals in a department that has not yet turned in favor of CI could present something like the above to parents next fall, but that might be a dangerous move professionally. Unless you have the inner strength of John Bracey. However, if a teacher is not alone in a department, if there are others, and if they are getting some success with CI (at least with the students), it might be a good idea if we had a shared document that we could all present to parents in the fall.
So if you have anything to add to the list so I don’t have to write the whole thing, please share in the comment fields below.