In language classrooms based on comprensible input, the problem of non-participatory and/or oppositionally defiant students is much worse. In traditional classrooms, students can signal their inability to participate in many ways like by staring at a desk and get away with it. But in CI/TPRS classrooms they can’t do that because the teacher is required by the national proficiency guidelines of the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages to ask students to show up according to Three Modes of Communication, the academic descriptors for how students must act in foreign language classrooms in the United States.
People are just beginning to notice them and use the Three Modes. Since the teacher is also required by the new standards “to speak in the target langauge 90% of the time” when teaching the language, the student who refuses to do that is put int0 an even more difficult position. All language teachers and students in the U.S. right now are required by the aforementioned ACTFL guidelines to actually interact with students in a human way.
The old way gave the oppositionally defiant student a lo of legroom in which to work in the classroom environment because he wasn’t required to interact with the teacher in the learning process, which he is now. By being forced by the new standards to “show up” for class by the new standards, the defiant student is forced to make a decision.
Showing up, being human, actually communicating in class is not his modus operandi. He would rather lurk and hide away from the humanizing process of verbal and visual give and take with the teacher. But, in view of the new standards and recommendations mentioned above, there will inevitably be a conflict betweent the teacher and the student.
The more the teacher asks the oppositional student to interact in the daily classroom process, the more the student would be inclined to resist, often retreating behind a kind of wall of misbehavior. If his misguided parents support him in this, and clamor for the teacher to offer verb conjugation activities memorization activities which are devoid of the quid pro quo involved in real language acquisition, they will harm their child and do nothing to make our country better.
Such parents can thus be called unpatriotic. This also applies to administrators. Today, my prayers were answered. The two boys who were ruining my 8th period class were removed today for the rest of the year. A strong and brave AP did it with the help of my equally strong department chair Jane Little. Can you believe, an honorable AP and department chair in the same building? Thank you both for doing the right thing. This was the first time in my career that I had ever asked for a kid to be removed from a class, by the way. I knew my limits. The kids felt the difference. We all did. Today’s was a great class. I am very happy.