Establishing Standards 1

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4 thoughts on “Establishing Standards 1”

  1. This exposure of certain points about how things are done at the university level (I’m sure Ohio isn’t alone) is critical. The gripping hand of control from the top is clear in this survey request. They want to control everything, and if a pedagogy such as ours is currently in play in some university in Ohio, it will be ferretted out and brought to justice. It makes me think of Star Wars. In particular:

    …she only asks what the teacher EXPECTS at the end of each level of the first four courses. She does not ask what students are actually able to do….

    …they weed out the regular folks from language majors….

    Those two statements are out of touch with the purpose of university education as universal exploration for all and education in the service of general knowledge for as many people as possible who may want to learn, say, a language. So pro 4%er.

    Most damning is this survey mission statement:

    …the intent is to facilitate articulation and transfer across the University System of Ohio and to ensure the rigor of dual-enrollment courses….

    This phrase got the gag reflex going in me:

    …to ensure the rigor…

    Ensuring rigor is code for keeping the system rigged against the larger population of students. Anyone who has joined our group since winter should read, if you have time, as many of the posts on rigor (see categories) as possible. We had a huge talk about what rigor really is, and even made some posters for our classroom (posted on the posters page of this site). We got to a common understanding of what rigor looks like in a comprehension based classroom and it is light years away from the way rigor is used in the sentence above.

    This is going to be a good thread so Bob keep the heat on and keep us posted. And thank you for digging this out. All of the top down control has got to be outed. We have done a good job in the past year of establishing the hypocrisy in the Helena Curtain/Miriam Met alignment with corporations and interpretation of Krashen for their own ends, and this hypocrisy is of that ilk. Keep digging and let us know what they say.

  2. Bob,

    You wrote: ” Is there not a difference in what teachers expect and what students are actually able to do? About the various modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational, regarding reading, speaking and writing, she only asks what the teacher EXPECTS at the end of each level of the first four courses”

    Come on Bob, you have a PHD (read my sarcasm between the lines)! Don’t you see that many teachers teaching at the university level live in their ivory towers. You are an exception. And YOU understand that there is a huge gap between what kids can produce and what their teachers expect them to produce. Until we’ re all on the same page and we understand/realize that simple yet complicated fact we’ll continue to battle this sea of ignorance.

    I just returned from a three day training on IB Midlle Year Program and this is exactly the problem I had with an otherwise good program. There are huge disparities and a lack of alignment between what these curriculum writers who live in their ivory towers dream of what kids can do or should do rather than what they can actually accomplish.

    I intend to write a letter (with the help of James Hosler) to the person in charge of the curriculum for Languages at the IB headquarters. But I don’t have high hopes for anything to change.. Oh well…. We can only do what we believe in.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ben: THIS IS LONG and may be better off put into a different category! (sorry!)

    Wow! coming off the day/week I have been having, this is blowing my mind!
    (and actually it opens the door for what I had wanted to ask all of you anyway – cause I need help articulating an argument — Grant, are you there? you did a great job with your district!!!!)
    #1. Remember the pushback I got last week from the kids who wanted more “grades in the grade book” and more “grammar, to feel like we’re learning!!!”? Well, I catered to them…..I have been giving worksheets every night, then giving them answer sheets online, then a quiz. Today I gave a “gustar” quiz. They did HORRIBLY!!! which just goes to prove…..
    #2. ok, they are in second half of Level 1, but they (96%) can NOT pass this kind of an assessment!!!!! If I give a listening or reading comprehension quiz, they do well, but NOT output. THEY ARE NOT READY!!!! Now, the problem……
    (3 and 4 should be reversed)
    #3. My dept is undergoing MAJOR changes right now. They are letting go of my colleague (other Spanish teacher), moving one of the full time French teachers to the middle school, and moving a dual certified teacher up from the middle school, so we can have 1.5 French and 1.5 Spanish teachers at the high school (while they KEEP 4 language teachers at the middle school!!!!! that’s another sore point) so high school will have only 3 language teachers.
    #4. when the middle school comes up to us, they still need remediation; that is why we have Levels 1A and 1B (and 2A and 2B….because they need a FULL year of a level!!! – we are on semesters) NEXT year, it has been changed to only Level 1 and Level 2 (one semester for a LEVEL) AND……it has been MANDATED that ALL middle school kids WILL BE placed into Level 2!!!! (previously they have always been placed into Level 1B because we have a specific demographic in our district who needs that ‘remediation’) I teach 1B and find that they do not have what they need for Level 2. Guidance is telling kids that they only need 2 LEVELS (total) for college admittance — NOT 2 levels (AT HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!!). SO, they will come in to Level 2 and then call it quits. colleges will laugh at our school and the preparation of our students.
    #5. since they did away with A and B sections, AND they are merging classes of 12 and 15 into one, we will have big classes. so they will learn even less!
    #6. How *DO* I then teach them ANYthing in just ONE semester????

    BIG QUESTION: how do I (we)convince my superintendent that he is defeating his “literacy push” by downgrading the importance of learning another language?
    (BTW…working with a freshman today, -with grammar topics!- I discovered that he does not know what parts of speech are…he has no idea what a verb, noun, adjective is. He has struggled all semester with conjugations — BUT, this *IS* where the proverbial ‘rubber hits the road’ with metalanguage! English teachers keep passing these kids on, not addressing (or not seeing) these discrepancies — WE (WL teachers) spot them and refer the kids on for help!!!! Why are we NOT considered valuable in the “literacy” scheme of things? (btw, our superintendent was previously a phys ed teacher, and he’s young – 30’s – he does a great job at number crunching and balancing a budget! so, how do I educate him?)
    We are also getting a new principal next year…..he has a sign up sheet for all teachers to meet with him over the summer. I plan on meeting with him after San Diego and Dallas when I’m ‘all fired up’, but…….
    ¡¡¡¡¡HELP PLEASE!!!!!

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