CI is Pure – Can’t Be Mixed

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5 thoughts on “CI is Pure – Can’t Be Mixed”

  1. I just had a frustrating experience with a few special Ed teachers. They don’t know why I don’t have desks. Can’t wrap their heads around it. They also don’t know why I don’t teach like other teachers. There’s a class where they say their students are “thriving” where they the teacher is using Look I can Talk, she requires them to make videos, talk into the videos, write different versions of the little stories “Hay un chico. El chico esta en Connecticut. Donde esta el chico?”
    I don’t know how to say that those kids look busy. They look like they’re thriving but they’re being given language that is not rich or genuine. Sheltered subject matter and sheltered grammar and empty repetitions in language nobody uses in real life. How many times in life have you ever had a conversation that included the words There is a boy. He is in mexico. Is he in Mexico or is he in Cuba…. Sorry for the rant but who else can I say this to?!

  2. Is there a short bridge near a lake that you can ask those teachers to go for a long walk on? They don’t know what they are talking about. Look I Can Talk is the Model T Ford of our movement. The fact that someone is still using it in their classroom is testimonial to the fact that CI is now part of the textbook culture.

    Can these people fire you? Do they have anything at all to do with your end-of-year evaluations? Are other people in the building freaking out about what you are doing? Are you students reasonably happy with what they are doing in class?

    Craig, my brother – I know this hurts bad, because the same exact thing plagued my entire 20 years with CI. These are rude, uninformed people with limited understanding of the research (that’s putting it mildly). All you can do is work on ignoring their sorry asses, because they deserve that.

    If you want to refer them to me for a phone conversation, do so. Or look around here on the blog in the Admin/Parent/Teacher re-education category and print them a few articles out to read when they are not being jerks. I make this recommendation in jest, of course. Kind of.

    If I were to talk to them, I would put fire into them by quoting the research, and enjoy it far more than I should. With great age comes great responsibility to say whatever the hell I want, is I think how the saying goes.

  3. Craig hand them this for starters. It’s likely to blow their bias out of their minds, if they were to read each point and think about it, which is a long shot given that they seem to be happier in attack mode than in collegiality mode:

    29 Points about Comprehensible Input

    1. We emphasize the gradual acquisition of language that follows a different timeline for each individual learner.
    2. We do not emphasize the memorization of vocabulary and rules.
    3. It is the narrative framework of a story that makes new language items (lexical or grammatical) interesting and easier to grasp and remember by the whole brain.
    4. Stories are created through a collaborative process involving teacher and students.
    5. Stories tend to be quirky and memorable (and to give students opportunities to be inventive), which heightens engagement.
    6. Co-creating stories together with our students helps to bind a class as a community.
    7. Students are more confident when they eventually produce language.
    8. Eventual writing and speech output are far more authentic when this method is used.
    9. Communication is the standard and so communication is the method used to reach the standard.
    10. Storytelling is not an extra curriculum component but a technique that more completely supports the standards.
    11. We assess students in terms of the standards connected to the ACTFL Three Modes of Communication in the areas of interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive communication.
    12. The Interpersonal Mode of Communication requires students to sustain focus for the full class period with no zoning out, side conversations, etc.
    13. The teacher uses messages in the target language that learners find compelling and understandable to help them acquire the language unconsciously.
    14. Comprehensible input is not the teacher talking at students; it is not learning about a language; nor is it immersion. Rather, it is about students hearing and understanding messages that they want to hear and understand.
    15. Thus, comprehensible input instruction is student-driven and student-centered because students give input and direction to the flow of conversation.
    16. Comprehensible input instruction is going “deep and narrow” with the language rather than “shallow and broad.”
    17. Comprehensible input instruction is relational, back and forth, and participatory.
    18. Comprehensible input instruction is aimed at acquisition of the language rather than learning about the language.
    19. Comprehensible input instruction is contextualized.
    20. According to the U.S. Department of State, academic rigor includes a sustained focus, depth and integrity of inquiry, suspension of premature conclusions, and continual testing of hypotheses. The teacher incorporates academic rigor in the classroom by requiring from her students sustained focus on a message and not on the language, which is merely the vehicle used to deliver the message.
    21. The teacher and students develop a positive professional relationship with one another that is devoted to real outcomes.
    22. The student-driven nature of the course of study means that they can explore deeply and fully in the target language topics that truly interest them.
    23. As students are exposed to the language in a contextualized, meaningful fashion, they suspend conclusions about how the language functions rather than having those conclusions forced upon them at the outset.
    24. The unconscious mind continuously tests the students’ hypotheses about what sounds correct in the language.
    25. The teacher and students engage in a conversation or dialogue in the target language.
    26. The teacher checks for comprehension regularly and often.
    27. Grammar is contextualized and embedded in the language.
    28. The teacher explores those topics and items that interest students as shown by their responses, reactions, and requests.
    29. In the comprehensible input classroom there are no worksheets, optional homework, and no drills that cause the mind to tune out.
    [credit: Robert Harrell/Ben Slavic]

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