Florida League of International Baccalaureate Schools, Inc.

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15 thoughts on “Florida League of International Baccalaureate Schools, Inc.”

  1. I would say that this is not CI friendly for three reasons:

    1. IB people are all about training four percenters, and are four percenters themselves, and most four percenters don’t align with comprehensible input, because they are skewed toward the eclectic mixing of approaches, and away from the fact that we learn languages unconsciously. Their business is all about setting up a bunch of strategies that cause the learner to think about the language instead of thinking in it. That is as serious charge right there.
    3. When the gaze is on passing an exam, the gaze is not on the kid.
    4. the inc. there at the end of the title of the sponsoring group.

  2. I’m glad you said this, Ben. My school is thinking about starting an IB program in the coming years and they want Chinese to be the focus. I’m not involved at the moment but I could have a say later if it seems like a waste of time and effort.

  3. My school offers IB Latin as an option for upper level Latin students. Some take it, some don’t. I encourage them not to, because it’s lots of grammar. Basically it’s all grammar, even though they would claim otherwise. Next year my numbers are good enough to have separate sections, which will help a lot.

    That’s Latin, though, and you probably don’t teach Latin. My impression of the French and Spanish IB programs is basically just as Ben said. They are essentially the “perfection” of the typical textbook approach. So tons of output and tons of projects to prepare for the final projects and exams.

    The real poison for me that I’ve had to purge from my program is the desire to make the lower levels preparation for the IB levels. When I was doing things that way I was really only catering to the 4%ers in every level. And, believe it or not, only about 4% of students would continue all the way on to IB Latin. So now I do the lower levels with CI and the upper levels choose whether they want to go into CI or IB exam prep. If you teach at an all IB school, though, you probably won’t have this flexibility.

    1. …I was really only catering to the 4%ers in every level….

      Therefore IB language programs perpetuate the lie that only certain kids can gain fluency, when that is not the case. They have taken a language, which to humans is like eating or sleeping, that is, a completely natural process that we all do, and made it unnatural and the property of the elite. That is dangerous. I strenuously oppose that. The IB programs, when TAUGHT TO, are dangerous – there is no other way to say it.

      1. Next year will be the first time my numbers are good enough to have two different classes, one for normal 3/4 and another for IB 3/4. This will help me keep the integrity of the normal 3/4 class, but I will have to compromise a lot in the IB 3/4 class in order to get them ready for the test they all want to take.

        So, yeah. It’s one of those keeping my job things.

      2. But it is nice because with 2 years of IB (years 3 and 4) I can get that small number of students ready for anything. That means my level 1s and 2s can be full on CI with no thoughts of “pre-IB.”

        So if you take all 4 years with me but don’t take IB, you are getting 4 years of how I want to teach.

        And if you choose IB you get two years of how I want to teach followed by 2 years of me compromising a bit to get you ready for that test. But the first two years are a great foundation, and the IB years can still have lots of CI, but not very much personalization as we hike through our reading list.

        1. The IB test requires that kids be able to read, write, and participate in a conversation. I have been unable to “teach IB” to the four or five kids who take the test every year, and they’ve still been doing just fine on whatever we are doing in class. I do have to throw in a little more from the core topics now that they’ve changed, but I think IB is very CI-friendly. I haven’t seen any grammar on that test.

          1. I teach Latin. Things are always different in our world. 🙁 No explicit grammar on the test, but getting through the reading list requires cribbed translations and tons of grammar to understand them.

  4. I currently work at a middle years IB world school in GA. I have to meet along with the other Spanish teacher about our lesson plans in a few weeks b/c IB is coming to observe our school since giving us the world school stamp. I agree with Ben IB has been teaching a lot of grammar and to the 4%s. Having said that my principal loves the CI method. She has been supportive of me so far. I push the students, they acquire language and excell. I will have to keep you guys posted about the IB coordinator meeting. btw IB loves lesson plans and thematic units so I invent a concept and pick stories for that concept that I put into the lesson plan ( however I usually do whatever stories I want to do). The lesson plans do look nice though.

    1. …I invent a concept and pick stories for that concept that I put into the lesson plan (however I usually do whatever stories I want to do). The lesson plans do look nice though….

      Love this. This is the way to instantly neutralize/dispatch admins who want us to fit into their idea of planning a class when what we do cannot be held down by or fit into any plan. All we have to do is what you say there.

      It’s not like somone from admin is going to come up to our room and question if those false targets are actually in the lesson. And the great beauty of CI is that we certainly will, because of the Net, include some if not all of those false targets in our lesson anyway.

      Look at the paragraph above. It contains a boatload of grammar. So I tell the admin in the lesson plan or whatever that I am going to address adjectives in my lesson. In the above paragraph, there are the adjectives false and great. There, objective met. We retain the flow and address the grammar. But it real grammar bc it is in meaningful context, not fake grammar that is in a pathetic list.

      On top of that, most admins – I would say 90% – don’t even get any of it because of how they were trained in languages, or should I say non-trained, and so they don’t understand enough about the language or how people learn languages to challenge us. I was going to say, they don’t know shit about the language, but that would be mean so I won’t say it.

      Brilliantly put, Sarah, and thank you.

  5. Grant Boulanger

    My understanding is that IB is not prescriptive in the method to be used for instruction. In grades 11 and 12, the diploma program, the curriculum is prescribed. Prior to that, the IBO works with a school’s existing curriculum to satisfy the IBO’s requirements, which are mostly about educating the whole child.
    But to many parents, IB=rigor and to the undereducated rigor=grammar. The problem is that the exams are NOT grammar tests, but rather are mostly task-based, meaning a grammar-centric curriculum won’t get the majority of kids there.

    I dont think IB is inherenly unfriendly toward CI. I think that the majority of IB language trainers are ignorant of CI.

    1. I agree that IB is not unfriendly to CI. My IB coordinator and dept. head aren’t unfamiliar with CI. He prefers grammar, and she ( dept. head) finds it just teaching, ” Communicative Spanish” and says it with distain whenever she has the chance. My IB coordinator is not a fan of CI not IB in general. I agree with everything you said above.

  6. I teach in two IB PYP Elementary schools. I have not found IB (Primary Years Programme, especially) to be unfriendly to CI. My coordinators are very supportive of what is going on in my classroom.

    I do agree with Grant when he says that many IB trainers are ignorant of CI. I find this part frustrating.

    1. Many many many people are ignorant of CI.

      A venerable foreign language educator and co-founder of the Twitter hash-tag “langchat” (#langchat) recently replied to a comment by someone else that “TPRS can help students eventually produce the target language spontaneously” with this gem:

      “variety is the key”

      To which I replied:

      “eh. not if the quest for variety leads teachers to include bad practices not supported by research”

      For those not on Twitter, I encourage you to join and to take advantage of the opportunities that occur there almost daily for short, devastating conversations.

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