Chris Roberts Thesis 2

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9 thoughts on “Chris Roberts Thesis 2”

  1. Chris, I’ve read every word and I’m very impressed. You are putting numbers and facts to the deep in the gut feeling so many experienced teachers have felt when they started doing TPRS. Keep up the good work and keep us posted. I’m sending this to a certain Inspecteur Pédagogique Régional who vetoed Blaine Ray giving a demonstration to teachers here in France. Thank you for handing me the ammunition I needed.

  2. Angela Williams

    I’ve been busy with a 5 yr old, teaching as well as Master’s classes. I don’t post as often as I would like, but I do lurk occasionally when I have time. I don’t know what I would do without this blog.

  3. Well Chris we are going to have to do more with this than we thought. You have built something very strong here. Maybe we could make a hard link for it.

    Think about how we can keep it alive and not like most feces, I mean theses, which disappear down the turlet with time and even the writer forgets what it looked like, its make up and what was in it.

    I know that my master’s thesis had something to do with depth psychology, Bachelard and the Jungian concept of interior space in the 19th c. French novel, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what. Time flushed it.

    What you have done here is alive and valuable and can actually address and clear up the current confusion in the minds of many, many teachers who have heard of comprehension based instruction but don’t yet really grasp what it is.

    I’m thinking this can be a hard link. It will take a year for me to get my new people training vids up, but slowly we will build a strong set of hard links across the top here, and most of them will be directed at new people.

    I want this on it if you will allow that. Really well done. Plus you get the big buck salary increase, right?

  4. Very true about the thesis/feces connection. It’s very Freudian. In fact, I had a professor whose thesis was about feces, namely ancient Greek male “birthing” rituals. I think the title, which had the phrase “turd child” in it actually made some list of the 100 most ridiculous thesis titles.

    What’s that saying about youth wasted on the young? It’s sad how such a wonderful opportunity to really research a topic in a rigorous and careful way so often turns into a load of crap, a burden to be unloaded. Let’s try not to lose sight of the love of research and scholarship which inspired us to want to take on the challenge of writing a thesis in the first place. Now I have the drive and the ideas, but not the time, which is very frustrating.

  5. I agree John but who reads that stuff? Where can we best be used? In classrooms, of course.

    We are important and our work is important. The ivory tower stuff is too easy. Going into a classroom with a bunch of young cyborg like humans who have never been taught how to function in a social setting, THAT is the hard work, the work that is real. The work that Krashen readily has shared with us that he cannot do.

    Plus, a few younger teachers come up with real shit, as it were. Chris has, and we are proud of him. But notice he never left the classroom in doing this and back he goes in the fall, to the real work, the hard work, the work that the intellectuals cannot do. Chris stays in the classroom, although he might be able to extend this M.A. into a PhD. – who knows?

    But alas for all of our inner Jeremys (Yellow Submarine), we’ll have to save all the research and in depth research for another lifetime. Although I love it dearly, this work seems more real. There is much more suffering, yes, but when more heart involved more happiness can be there.

    We really do have other work to do now. We have to reach kids, and there is no time to lose. For twenty years, Krahsen researched. Now we work. It’s that way.

  6. Chris this is pure gold. Thank you!!!
    My former colleague who was a traditional teacher, and was RIFed because our numbers were dropping, is now going to be THE trainer in our county for the new State Standards. We had a conversation last night: she said that “we” (our school) REALLY has to start writing unit plans – they cannot be “SWL Preterite” “SWL conditional” etc. etc. There has to be a performance task as a summative assessment. NO MORE worksheets/textbook drills. No more pen and paper tests as summative assess. BUT…the ACTFL people who were at her training were saying that CI, TPR and TPRS are not really good ways to teach the kids. They NEED to read authentic texts (huh? they do!) not just stories written by kids (huh? what are you talking about? and if that is not good, then why is having pair communicative activities OK?)
    She said that the units HAVE to be written via UbD and no more focus on grammar (yeah! ? what have I been doing and trying to explain to you for the past 2 years?)
    So, when I reiterated the value and importance of CI (ACTFL does say 90% CI, so why are you saying that they say it isn’t good?) and she said that “we have to have the kids outputting because otherwise they will NOT be able to when the Proficiency Diploma is mandated for Class of 2018” I then asked, “oh, so the state is mandating that the Class of 2018 has to be proficient in a WL?” and she said “yes”, so I asked, “OK, what LEVEL of ACTFL proficiency do they expect them to be at?” she responded that it is up to each district to decide that, based on the amount of time that they have with students. AND each district comes up with their own performance tasks (and she warned me that we should make them do-able for OUR students because we will have to send them in to the State and will be held accountable!) I then asked if she was SURE that the state was going to mandate WL instruction, because that was the scuttlebutt 10 years ago and they ended up having to nix that because they could not come up with the funds to train and hire and guarantee a supply of qualified WL teachers! She said that 1. she was told that “people will doubt this, but it IS coming down the pike!” 2. but, she knows the state doesn’t have money!!! 3. BUT, everyone must still believe it bc the state people assured that it IS happening!!!
    This conversation raised SO many questions for me — to the point where I am just so sick and tired of the runaround!!! But, bottom line (I know, it took me a while), I told her that forcing kids to output will not make them better speakers. She argued that it will, and that the ACTFL people at the training, who are “high up in ACTFL with multiple degrees” even said that it has to be done! So, I told her that they might be high up in ACTFL with multiple degrees, but they certainly have not done any research on SLA; because the research is out there and there is data to prove that students in CI-based instruction outperform Traditionally-taught students. She then said that she is unaware of any kind of research like that, so if I could please find it and send it on to her she would greatly appreciate it, (and that our other colleague that is staying with me is “definitely going to be demanding it!”)
    So, Chris, thank you SO much for this Empirical Evidence that I can provide to her! I am also going to supply her with my Masters Research project that had the same “problem” – it’s not as lengthy or detailed as yours, but it also claims that CI is more beneficial than Traditional. Thanks again!!!!

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