Electric Car

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3 thoughts on “Electric Car”

  1. I’ve been doing some research for my next blog post on developing a philosophy of teaching foreign language. As part of that research, I just re-read Bill VanPatten’s article in The Language Educator Oct/Nov 2014. In his last paragraph he writes,

    “For at least three decades, research on language acquisition has been pointing to
    a fundamental reconsideration of teaching, materials, and curricular goals. Understanding the roles of input and output in acquisition means that teachers and administrators may have to make some profound changes in how they approach the classroom if proficiency as communicative ability is the goal of the student’s experience.”

    My only disagreement with this statement is the use of “may”. Teachers and administrators have to make some profound changes if communicative ability as an expression of acquisition (mental representation) is the goal.

    Next year my district is going to have a consult in preparation for “piloting a new textbook” for foreign language. I’m going to do my best to educate them on just how profound their changes need to be.

    We have had the evidence for over 30 years, and most teachers still haven’t understood what it means for their practices. It’s no wonder some people are saying that we might as well do away with foreign language instruction in the schools altogether, for all the good it’s doing. In fact, it’s actually doing harm: not only are students not acquiring the language, but they are being told that they are too stupid to learn a language. (Absurd!) Better no program than a harmful one.

  2. That last paragraph is a doozy, Robert!

    I concur on every point, especially this one:

    …we might as well do away with foreign language instruction in the schools altogether….

    Whenever I have worked with kids previously trained in memorization, they are proportionately more dull for the work we do with stories. It’s like something was removed from their language motor. That falls into category of get rid of it before it ruins more kids.

  3. I love everything Robert just said. Quick, call Blaine and tell him his Blainemobile is getting tricked out and it will be even healthier for our classroom environments.

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