Can Do Statements – 10

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18 thoughts on “Can Do Statements – 10”

  1. Yup. We are just building “mental representation”. That’s all we need to do. For example, I am working with a number of invisible characters: Carlos the Candle whose job it is to light the school, Flex the Fish who accidentally bought fake Gucci clothes in San Diego, Sally the Sushi who is the owner of a restaurant but wants to invest in food trucks.
    With non-targeted you hit a NUMBER of different themes, topics, and vocab. No need to plan it out.

  2. Tina and I are going to write a book that would purposely undermine the current concept of what an IPA even is, from the ground up. It’s on our list, anyway. Strong feelings on this. The hypocrisy of privileged kids memorizing stuff to make the teacher look like a real teacher goes deep w me. I don’t like it.

    1. Please, write the book! 🙂 My district is trying to write common assessments and IPA’s and I totally don’t want to go there (IPA’s they way they think they are).

      1. Thank you for saying that, Cathy. It feels good to talk against IPAs because we know how they are rooted in a kind of snobbism and are not rooted in the research. They turn language acquisition into what it always has been – for the few who possess the memorization gene. Just look at this page and you get the feeling that it is just a lot of nonsense by a bunch of boring intellectuals whose classes I would not ever want to be in:
        http://carla.umn.edu/assessment/vac/CreateUnit/documents/CARLA.IPA.FoodAndCulture.pdf
        This page reveals that those who created it are still thinking in terms of targets (the topic on this page is food) – that right there is a problem in my opinion.

        1. Check this out from the document:
          Learners will:
          • list and categorize foods that are eaten in Mexico.
          • compare the role of food in their own culture and the role of food in Mexican culture.
          • describe how the role of food in a culture tells us about cultural values.
          • explain how culture is reflected in the meals that are served.
          I’d rather walk across a desert. And what does being able to do the above have to do with language acquisition?

          1. Ugh. That is what my admin does into when I tell him that I have no idea how he wants me to turn my CI classroom into a digital format. He loves what I do and knows that the kids love it, but he does not GET it. Here is the post I have been desperately posting:
            Hello Amigos! This is my first post and it is a cry for help. I have been a teacher for 12 years and a CI teacher for 9 of those. I would not be teaching if it were not for the CI approach. I live it and believe it religiously. Here is the CRUX: My admin is unwavering on that all teachers will put their entire curriculum on an online platform called Canvas by the end of next school year. He is determined to make our school a “blended learning” school by the 2019/20 school year. He has heard me out and respects that students learn language best through being in an CI classroom. He is willing to let me have class “More than other teachers”. I tried to get another job teaching Spanish, but nothing panned out. I am trying to look at it positively, as an opportunity to develop my teaching in the digital age. However I am procrastinating as I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS! I have no idea how to translate the CI techniques that I have curated into classroom culture and routine into files on a Canvas platform. I have looked around a bit to see if anything already exists and have come up empty handed. I have just sold my house and I have some money to invest in a curriculum that I could use over and over, but I nor my district have the money to pay per student per course. Honestly our alternative students wouldn’t thrive in that scenario anyway. I am already using Sr. Wooly and am going to use his resources even more now, however that doesn’t replace the classroom interaction. I know the universe has kept me here to make sure these kids still get the love and joy that a CI class offers, but I am just at my wits end as to what to do. Any helpful links or names would be so appreciated. Thank you!

          2. One more thing Danielle – it’s best, in my opinion, to avoid telling anything to this admin who doesn’t get it. My first formal observation in my last job at the American Embassy School in New Delhi (Dana’s current job) was by a teacher who asked for a “participation seating chart” and put an X by each student’s name if they participated. There were nothing but loads of Xs by each kid’s name – they were all fully involved. Then, in the formal post observation meeting, she said she had never seen a classroom on fire like that and that the class “went straight to trust”. It was a good phrase, but in spite of saying that, this principal then went on to ask me stupid questions about what I did and she NEVER GOT IT. Thus, don’t tell this guy that you can’t align with the curriculum. It’s giving him too much information. Give him what he wants and do what I suggested in my other responses to your question. That is my advice.

  3. Hey Ben, I know that you are against the whole-class teaching of novels. How would you respond to teachers who say that “Yes, but the novels is where you can teach CULTURE and issues to students, the Invisibles doesn’t teach culture.”
    Another teacher to me on Twitter “I love the Invisibles, but novels help you expose culture to your students.”
    My response goes along the lines of what BVP would say: The first few years are dedicated to building mental representation…..or along what Krashen would say: Our main goal is to make kids want to continue on in the language.

  4. Yeah Greg so your last paragraph there – the way I read BVP and Krashen – is to say that the desire to teach culture before the students have a sufficient mental representation of the language is like asking a two year old to understand things they don’t have the language to understand.
    I would love to get into a nice seminar on that w people who really grasp it. Since I am not an expert, I can only express what my gut tells me: no novels in the first two years bc even if we could read 100 a year we couldn’t really scratch the surface of this standard anyway, and we would lose vast amounts of time away from CI doing it.

  5. If we agree that images are most powerful, then wouldn’t it be best to address culture through images? For me (not knowing all the nuts and bolts yet), from what I have seen of Tina’s CALP strategies where you elicit from students things they are curious about in target cultures seem like the most authentic way to approach authentic culture.

    1. Yes jen! I have asked students what they would like to learn about. A majority said FOOD! So I had students give out suggestions of countries then the profe 2 pics which country we learn about. I quickly look up an article about the “top best _insert country_ foods” and were off. I speed read about foods that I find interesting. I also show the image of each food item. Heck, I’m learning along side with them! I found out what a media noche was etc… After explaining to them what the foods and ingredients are, I have them summarize briefly as I prepare a W & D and that is the whole class period. Gotta love no prep.

  6. Thank you jen. I will send that comment to Tina so she doesn’t miss it. It is profound in its simplicity. Wanna teach culture? Grab an image!
    When people say that the only way to truly learn a culture is to experience it by going there, but you can’t, what is more effective than an image? An extended reading, or a Blaine Ray novel, or even a novel written specifically to “address culture”, is a sad replacement for an image.
    So doing visual lectures (story listening) is the key. But time is such a factor to fit in such lectures.
    We really don’t have time to teach culture. My position is that we start teaching culture in level 3 and no sooner than that bc if they have no command over the language we end up teaching a social studies class. When we try to cram culture down their throats the attempts fail. That is why, as you alluded to jen, it is in CALP that we go the route of visual lectures.

  7. Also jen here is something from a comment Robert Harrell made here last month about how C.S. Lewis said that the Narnia books – which are a culture – were created from images:
    “Some people seem to think that I began by asking myself how I could say something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an instrument; then collected information about child psychology and decided what age-group I’d write for; then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out “allegories” to embody them. This is pure moonshine. I couldn’t write in that way at all. Everything began with images: a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion. At first there wasn’t even anything Christian about them; that element pushed itself in of its own accord. It was part of the bubbling.”

  8. It is a powerful quote about the power of images to create things that are real to readers, written by a truly powerful author. We should take a page out of Lewis’ playbook instead of writing class novels to address word lists as the TPRSers are doing now, which sadly seems to be an even more-used teaching technique (class novels) than ever before in TPRS, complete with “teacher’s guides” now that really make the process different and infinitely more boring from the kind of thing Lewis describes above.

  9. When are we going to just work with images and read, following the Star Sequence, read what the kids create instead of those boring-ass novels? Fine, do it in level 3 but making kids read those class novels in levels 1 and 2 is not the best move for novice readers because of what the research says. Teachers still do it because they either don’t care or are not aware of the dangerous splitting off of the mainly white kids who can read from the rest of the class caused by the class novels, and so by doing that they perpetuate the embedded problem of racism in our nation’s classrooms. Shame on them.
    When in our hell state now in America are we going to finally get away from white privilege? 

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