This morning I was doing my usual a.m. routine of sitting at the kitchen table answering emails, the usual. My eye caught the mess on the sink and countertops of my kitchen and my brain said, “Clean the fucking kitchen!”.
But my other eye caught on my computer’s desktop the image Danielle drew in our Zoom group meeting yesterday of Krashen and Marko dancing on the beach in the rain in L.A.
The drawing drew me in, which is the entire premise of the Invisibles, that images attract people’s attention more than words, reflecting the recent POWERFUL insight I had when Jesus was teaching when I read his Phase 3 text and I actually almost could see that the words were not really words, but a pic. What does this mean?
That words are really just code for a picture. That is a deep insight and would challenge any language teacher to rethink what they are actually doing. Do you see? Words are really just low grade images. You read the words and it makes a pic in your mind. (Marko wrote out the image in words and held it up on that whiteboard, and we could “see” from the words what the picture was.) We could “see” in the Phase 3 written words the Phase 2 drawing.
This has profound implications for our entire concept of what a language pedagogy even is.
Why? Because it reveals to us as language educators that ANY LANGUAGE EDUCATOR WHO BELIEVES THAT THE WORDS ARE THE THING AND THAT WE NEED TO TEACH OUR KIDS ABOUT THE WORDS are missing the entire point about teaching languages, and this is PURE KRASHEN. How?
Well, we’ve all been fooled. We think that the purpose of language teaching is to focus on form. Again, this is pure Krashen – that is, in effect, his real message, what all those 50 years now of research have led to, is to avoid focusing on form, but rather on the message. Danielle’s drawing is the real message from class yesterday.
Krashen has shown that focusing on form is an illusion. Words are an illusion. They are merely a vehicle! Why teach the vehicle when you can teach the images? Now do you see the importance of the artist in what we are doing?
Does it not pull one in? Is it not better to teach that image of those two men dancing on the beach in the rain than writing it all out? Teaching that image using words actually moves the learner’s focus from the left to the right hemisphere of the brain, which is the gateway to the unconscious, as I understand it. But if we don’t have an image to teach, we can’t involve the spatial hemisphere, and the class remains boring.
I mean, I was giving the evil eye to my kitchen and reading emails and suddenly, upon seeing that image on the desktop of my computer (Danielle had sent it to me during class), it made me instantly happy – just looking at that picture. (And Danielle said she couldn’t draw three weeks ago – this image is real art!)
For hundreds of years, language teachers have sadly been looking at the wrong thing – the words. no wonder our profession has been so unhappy.
But, reflecting the insight I had with the the tableau that Jesus made last week, IT’S NOT THE WORDS BUT THE IMAGE THAT COUNTS. WORDS ARE REALLY ANOTHER FORM OF AN IMAGE – made me see that everyone in language education has been STUDYING THE WRONG FUCKING THING. They spit on Krashen.
Really speaking, in Phase 3 we re-create a picture of the picture we made in Phase 2. It’s just a picture made of words. That shows me that there is real flow in our Star taxonomy! And did anyone notice yesterday the flow created when Marko went to Phase 4, that the first spoke was also a “cusp spoke”, just like the “cusp spoke” that happens between Phases 1 and 2? (I could have placed the Retell spoke at the end of Phase 1, and the Teacher Reads spoke at the end of Phase 3.
The image that Danielle made drew me away from my kitchen and all the emails. That’s my point. And if it does that for me, think what it would do to pull the attention of your boring and disrespectful and boring-ass-give-me-a-cell-phone” little Fauntleroy self-absorbed shitheads we call students?