We need to address HOW we are making our kids feel when they are in our classes.
To extend Marshall McCluhan’s message beyond electronic media, is it not possible that we ourselves, our bodies and the expressions on our faces, are also a medium for our CI messages in our classes?
Bear in mind that the message according to the research is what must must drive the language instruction, and not the medium for the message.
And yet, how much time in professional development trainings do we talk about getting our students focused on the message in our instruction? How much PD is even directed towards studying our medium, how we use our body, our teaching style, HOW we speak to our kids? What unconscious messages about their emotional safety do we send to our students while trying so hard to deliver our CI messages?
Vygotsky describes the Zone of Proximal Development. Why is it never mentioned in comprehension-based language instruction discussions? (I won’t go into it here – if you know about it, you know what I mean. If not, go look it up.)
I hold that our CI messages are only secondary in importance to the medium we use to reach our kids with CI. The medium – us – alone bring emotional safety to the kids.
It’s a massive topic so I’ll avoid a deeper dive into it here. But it explains why so few of us are willing to video ourselves in class. It explains so much.
Why do we continue to focus on the trinkets and baubles and all the “CI worksheet activities” – a term I use to describe what has happened to the CI movement – that are now available on the new online CI marketplace?
Let’s not be fooled. If we can’t guarantee the emotional safety of our students, we can’t reach them with our messages.