I wonder why we have kept the grammar/translation paralysis-by-analysis left brain dominant way of teaching languages for so long. The research has show that it doesn’t work, so why prolong our students’ agony and delay the day when smiles of inclusion of all students are finally seen in our language classes?
In talking about “identity politics”, Robin Diangelo has said in her new book White Fragililty:
…the identities of those sitting at the tables of power in this country have remained remarkably similar: white, male, middle and upper-class, able-bodied….The decisions made at those tables affect the lives of those not at the tables. Exclusion by those at the table doesn’t depend on willful intent: we can’t have to intend to exclude for the results of our actions to be exclusion…..If I am not aware of the barriers you face, then I won’t see them, much less be motivated to remove them. Nor will I be motivated to remove the barriers if they provide an advantage to which I feel entitled….
When the research about how people learn languages plainly states that they need to be in community* to learn a language, could what Diangelo writes about explain why we haven’t changed our textbook, analytical and completely-out-of-touch-with-the-research language instruction for the past 50 years (at least)?
People have said that our schools are microcosms of our society in general. Might the new CI community-building movement in our field require us to face our socially unaware place at the table3 before we will be able to align our instruction with the research?
*Chomsky – I can get the quote if you want it.