The COVID crisis may be what we need to free TPRS and the entire CI movement from its self-imposed limits. What limits?
Krashen has made it very clear that when you try to use comprehensible input to teach word lists, verb lists, thematic unit lists, semantic set lists, lists of words from chapter books (i.e. “classic” TPRS), etc. then there is a lessening of interest. Why?
Because when you try to combine CI with traditional language teaching, as described fairly efficiently in the above paragraph, the stories and all the CI instruction GET REAL BORING REAL FAST. That’s not me saying that; it’s the research.
Unfettered comprehensible input, where you talk about what you WANT to talk about with your students in class, as opposed to HAVING TO TALK IN A FORCED WAY with your students in order to teach them certain words so you don’t get fired because you didn’t teach those words, is the new norm in CI. Wake up to that fact.
I’ll be doing a webinar for Teacher’s Discovery on this topic, modeling how you can teach a language class online using CI, next week.
We are the professionals and there has been active movement lately in our society to LET THE PROFESSIONALS MAKE THE DECISIONS on the issues of the day. So leave COVID to the medical practitioners. Leave language education to us.
We need to then TAKE OVER in our schools, and BE the change that we want to bring, by telling the district honchos and our building administrators with their OUTMODED ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENTS (about which most really know nothing) that THEIR DAYS ARE OVER in terms of telling us, THE PROFESSIONALS, what to do.
The CI classroom has become, sadly, a servant of the traditional, textbook -dominated system whose stinky days are NOW OVER, due in part to the coronavirus, which has expose the underbelly of both traditional textbook teaching and traditional TPRS/CI teaching.
IT IS NOW A NEW ERA in which we can finally return to Blaine Ray’s original non-targeted genius, (he told me that he never did targeted CI – I have that in an email bc I asked him that question point-blank in 2015). The fully research-based version of CI that Krashen REALLY gave to us has been usurped and changed to function in what I have called the new “CI Marketplace” where ideas are sold as “the best” but only because they make for the new CI entrepreneurs, some of whom are social-media MANIPULATORS, lots of money.
So now with COVID I feel empowered to suggest that if we don’t get our instruction aligned with the research BY ONCE AND FOR ALL DROPPING OUR INSTITUTIONAL FOCUS FROM THE TARGETING LISTS MENTIONED IN PARAGRAPH 2 ABOVE AND INSTEAD DOING NON-TARGETED INSTRUCTION, we might be able to keep our jobs. Why?
Because kids DON’T LIKE BEING BORED and TAKING TESTS when all they are trying to do is enjoy learning a language in our classes. NOW, in order to KEEP OUR JOBS, we need to REACH kids, not bore them. We could get away with that when we were in classrooms, but not anymore. Online language instruction will only become more prevalent as time goes by, with or without COVID.
This is why I broke with TPRS and my colleagues in the Denver Public Schools in the first place, about ten years ago. They never “got” non-targeted language instruction and DPS, the flagship district of TPRS some twenty years ago and where Blaine did most of his early formal testing of his ideas, has morphed into something very boring, and the CI movement has stalled, to give the charitable assessment.
UNLESS WE LEARN TO FULLY ALIGN WITH THE RESEARCH in our language instruction, to a view of doing all we can no matter how hard it is for us, we now, because of COVID, might lose our jobs, because we are boring our students with canned CI.
It’s not so bad, and you can do it. New ways of doing non-targeted CI are being invented every day. My version of it is found in the Invisibles, but that’s just me. Look around. Educate yourself. Don’t lose your job in this time of crisis because you couldn’t change to align with what is coming down the track at a very rapid pace – NTCI.
Be a force for change to bring our profession into alignment with the research. Challenge those who require you to teach using traditional CI. Keep your job by doing what they want, of course, but introduce more and more NTCI as you go along.