Q. Aren’t Can Do statements helpful in that you are supposed to be addressing a curriculum with measurable outcomes and evaluate what the kids can actually do with the language?
A. Well, first of all the kids and parents are happy. Very happy. The Invisibles bring undeniable engagement into the classroom even on the worst of days. Beyond that, the term “addressing a curriculum with measurable outcomes” runs counter to the research that says there is no need to address a “curriculum” bc the curriculum is in the language as a whole. When teachers started instructing their students in the language by looking at the form, the structure of the language, while ignoring the actual communicative part that is the main aspect of all national and state standards, people went for it, that approach stuck, big companies sold sets of textbooks at an average of from $5,000 to $15,000 per book order per level in some of the bigger public high schools, but none of that means that any of it works. I am not advocating putting your job on the line unless you have the support and the core emotional strength necessary to educate your employer or district on what reform really is in foreign language education these days. We are all adult professionals and must make this work fit into our own careers, our own buildings, to the level we are comfortable with. So be it. But know that every time you nudge your teaching closer to the pure application of the research on second language acquisition, which to me means not breaking the language down into measurable pieces and teaching it in little pieces, even just a little bit, you are ghting back against the de- professionalization of the teaching force in the country and your efforts on behalf of children’s language proficiency should be applauded.