Q. What does one do without the support of one’s colleagues when trying to make the change to comprehensible input based instruction? How does one react to a colleague who does not wish to implement a non-textbook approach within the same year grouping? How does one go about using CI to teach older students who have never been taught in this manner?
A.When face to face face with an ocean, and this IS an ocean that we are all just now dipping our toes and feet into together, it is easy to be a bit cautious and long for the safety of the land.
However, we must get wet if we want to experience the fine feel of the water on our skin and to enjoy the long term health benefits that the ocean offers, not to mention the pearls lying just out of our reach on the ocean bed. When we can swim and even dive, we must then invite our beginning students to test the waters themselves.
This is not easy. But, face to face with an unknown, or just turning back and walking back to the safety of the land, that has not been a difficult choice for me. I know where I have been and I don’t like it, and I know where I am going and I love it.
If our colleagues don’t want to put on some trunks and run around on the beach a bit before diving in, then leave them alone. They can flex on the beach, and call you crazy for going into the water. That’s what they do. If they can’t get their muster up to feel the cold of the water and all that comes with it, if they can’t put that foot in and maybe even wade around a bi, then maybe they are on the wrong beach.
You can guarantee them that the water is fine, but if they keep making an enemy out of you, there is nothing you can do, and that goes for the students who have found an easy way out by refusing to jump in the water. Listen to this: Students trained with traditional methods will not change to accept the new way of teaching. Teach them the old way until they graduate and then wipe your hands clean of them. They don’t deserve what you have to offer.
Wipe your hands clean of those colleagues, too. Guard your energy. Just work with your beginnings kids and let the others go. Let your colleagues go, and put all your energy into the new students. Then you will see things about teaching that you never thought possible, and everything will go swimmingly.