Free Money for Changing WL Curriculums

It was reported yesterday that the University of Memphis is now offering faculty $3K for ‘infusing’ equity, social justice into their curriculums. Other schools mentioned in the Yahoo! News article are the University of Nebraska and the University of Arkansas. 

Hmmm. That’s not a bad deal! $3K for teaching in accordance with the research as they should have been doing all along? 

In fact, most university professors of language have never addressed the equity/ inclusion piece in their language teaching. White privilege has been alive and prospering in probably every single university language department in the land.  Why? I would say that university language teachers don’t know how to teach in any other way. 

All the weak and ineffective university language teachers – so many of them – have always insulated themselves from the CI movement. There has never been a reason to change*. They didn’t need to learn to teach in alignment with the research. They still teach in the same traditional way now that they did fifty years ago. Why change when you enjoy a constant supply of motivated high-achieving good-at-memorizing high school students who are only there for the language credit toward graduation anyway? 

University teachers are literally spoiled and for that reason alone they have been able to get away with teaching so ineffectively and so inefficiently for decades and decades. The students have never shut down on them because they couldn’t – they need the credit. 

Here’s the good news. The BLM movement is now calling these champions of foolishness out on ALL levels of education. The days of language teachers’ hubristic incalcitrance and ignorant pride-filled posturing are rapidly coming to an end.  

The sad part is that the CI movement even at the secondary levels has stalled out. We don’t teach in ways that address the equity/ inclusion piece in our high school and middle school classrooms either.

Over the past ten years in particular, there has been a serious watering-down of Dr. Krashen’s research with the result that the earlier halcyon days of the CI movement has been replaced with a mix of CI with the textbook and an overuse of the “readers” with the result that not many “CI” teachers know what “CI” really is. 

Last week, Mike Peto communicated the following to me about the current state of affairs in the CI world:

“The cohesive CI community is frazzled and mostly gone, either retired or replaced by new teachers who don’t know the personalities of the old world.”

To me this means the literal death knell of the CI movement. It means that the present-day “leaders” of the CI movement have pulled the focus away from CI and shifted it to how to integrate CI with the textbook. So the new CI “experts” don’t actually really know what CI is. 

They claim to use CI but don’t. They only use it because they think quite incorrectly that “CI” is just the latest buzz word in language education and it will be replaced by something else in the future and so they will stubbornly try to keep the old ways of teaching languages going but they will be in for a rude awakening very very soon. 

It’s clear to me that people interested in retooling their language classrooms around real CI had better be very careful about who they learn about CI from.

I kind of got on a rant there (I never apologize for my rants here) but back to the point of this article – if you know anyone in a school that is paying cash to teachers for infusing the equity/ inclusion/ social justice piece into their language programs, tell them that they may want to jump on the Ultimate CI bandwagon.

Look for my new book and I’ll be doing podcasts on on this topic as well. The article below has prompted me to shift my priorities in future book-writing to this topic to the top of my list.

*I know that the University of Alaska – Fairbanks once tried to integrated CI – then TPRS – into their language curriculum but have since lost touch with them. 



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