Flowers – 2

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4 thoughts on “Flowers – 2”

  1. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    To me (as a protected elem teacher) the word lists and targets are strictly for the purpose of teacher and student accountability…. tests/grades (for them) and teacher evaluations (for us). Many states are weighing ‘measurable student progress’ in the teacher eval formula. Dumbest idea yet…. And we can be sure there will be more. I have to give a pretest on words my kids have never seen before to insure that the ‘grade’ will be super low (duh) so that once we’ve created a story that includes them, the score will demonstrate sufficient ‘growth.’ How rigged is that? But that’s the workaround to comply & keep our jobs, I guess…

    It’s the only way esp post NCLB that decision makers seem to ‘get’ learning. ‘Data-driven decision making,’ and all that…jazz.

    Because so many adminz just don’t ‘get’ SLA the easiest way for them to comply with their own bosses is to hold us to the same standards as all the other data chasers in the bldg.
    “What choice do they have?”
    Sorry for any negativity on this day of love and friendship. But hopefully we’ll all be able to ‘cover’ these requirements and then joyfully get back to the essence of our art… connecting with kids using the sacred tool of language.

  2. The requirements that we cover certain vocabulary has its roots in ignorance about how ppl acquire languages. And everybody is fine with that. How odd!

    In our ten years together here we as a group haven’t made much headway on this point. ACTFL still gives their blessing to traditional teachers, including traditional TPRS teachers*, who still believe that we have to “cover” certain material. We’re still frightened by canards.

    But our classes will never be joyful and our gains will always be limited until we cast off the ignorance and the fear, and teach in line with the research, w/o all this measuring. Krashen’s tacit approval of watered down CI is among the most disappointing events of my professional life.

    *those who believe that circling and targeting are necessary to make CI instruction work.

  3. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Of course I can’t speak for Dr. K, but I’ve heard him respond to teacher Qs @ conferences- stating loud & clear that grades have no proper place in a language classroom.
    Since he is a brilliant theoretician and (I don’t think) has ever worked as a regular K-12 WL classroom teacher (homework, assignments, indiv & semester grades, rubrics, surviving February, etc.) I wouldn’t rely on his brilliant work to inform that nitty gritty aspect of our practice.
    His ‘endorsement’ of TPRS is maybe just the best approach he’s seen (so far?), taken with perhaps his removed theoretician’s understanding of classroom/schoolhouse constraints (enumerated above).
    Let’s not forget that a TPRS teacher who has willingly shifted to or embraced this particular set of CI-based strategies, reflects an understanding of SLA that the vast majority (of traditional WL T’s) do not. So maybe Dr. K sees TPRS as progress in the right direction, considering how long and belabored a struggle it’s been against legacy textbook or audio-lingual teaching….

    I am finding in my Hebrew gigs that teachers fed on a strict diet of canned curriculum (I call it, ‘all inclusive resort packages’ – containing all the 5 C’s, plus bell ringers, homework, tests, games, letters to parents, report cards, posters, online & electronic bells & whistles…) simply struggle with the skills & confidence to co-create with their students!! It makes some extremely anxious – that they will have to do ‘work’ that they don’t yet know how to do! So the more prescribed approach afforded by TPRS – (targets, circling, canned stories, etc.) meets their perceived immediate needs, and may (Bonus!) get them questioning their prior tactics.
    In my experience it shifts some light onto classroom management -“What do we do with the kids once we bring them out of a zombi/robot state?”- as well as “Who are these young people in front of me? What are their interests? What engages them?”
    While many of us more experienced and maybe reflective Ts are working & questioning to refine our practice, some Ts are at the very beginning of the journey, and it’s super hard for them to pivot away from the “Everyone turn to page 24” predictable and mindless roadmap… It means changing the paradigm for the whole community – admin, teachers, students, parents – and that makes them uneasy…
    That’s what I’ve observed in my (limited) work with newbies.

  4. You’re critique Alisa is spot on and you are correct about the endorsement. I happened to be there in a meeting with all the “TPRS” teachers in Denver Public Schools (at that time in 2008 there were about 15 of us out of 100 WL teachers when he made the announcement. We have it on video.

    What I’m saying is that he never stopped stuff that contradicted his own research. It’s not in his nature. Im not blaming anyone – it just happened the way you describe above with the increasing amounts of targets, circling, canned stories, etc. and the 35 other things I articulate here:

    https://benslavic.com/blog/category/33-reasons-i-prefer-ntci/

    My question is what to do as TPRS gets more and more canned and continues to stray more and more from the research. My conclusion about what to do – and this is after 20 intense speculative years) is as I said here last week – close our doors and do a good job with NTCI so at least the instruction that our students receive aligns more properly with the research, even if we kind of suck at it.

    Because when we strive to really align with research we are moving in a direction in which, if we keep trying, will lead to some amazing things over time. That I know because I have experienced it.

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