I Can't Fault The Kids

I must remember that not all kids, nor teachers for that matter, are cut out for conversing in L2. Many have not learned the art of conversation in English yet. I can’t fault the kids. Teachers? That is another matter altogether. Their JOB is to converse in L2 with their kids. There was somebody who blogged here about a month ago that they didn’t do “that kind of teaching”. Then what the hell kind of teaching are you doing? Using English to teach Spanish? Hey, I have an physics teacher friend who is out of a job. Maybe he can get a job as an art teacher and just teach the kids physics instead. Like the Dakota Ridge teachers who told Lupe and me years ago that they don’t do what we do, rather, they teach “Academic Spanish”. Academic Spanish my ass. You are using English to teach Spanish. You are speaking ABOUT Spanish but you are not speaking Spanish. And, amazingly – is it your administration who allows this? – you haven’t been fired yet! But now that the new Colorado standards have been ratified (Dec. ’09) and they legislate your using the target language in the classroom, what are you going to do? You really can’t teach Academic Spanish anymore. You really can’t. You are going to have to actually speak Spanish in ways that your children can understand. That time you feared has arrived.



2 thoughts on “I Can't Fault The Kids”

  1. I had a very wholesome conversation with a colleague who teaches grammar. He said something interesting.
    He said: I emphasize communication in my class because I know all these teachers at this school who studied 4 years of Spanish and can’t even ask me how I am doing in Spanish. I never really learned Spanish until I lived abroad.
    I said exactly, so why are we teaching grammar?
    He said, I think its important.
    I said why? You just said it doesn’t work.
    He didn’t have an answer.

  2. Grammar is important. Right. The guy’s afraid. I think of such people, who have no answer to such questions, as obstructionists. Here is a guy who acknowledges that communicative, input based methods are better and yet, for no reason known to him, obstructs a way of teaching that is a beanstalk pushing its way up through the concrete in spite of his clinging to old ideas. He’ll soon be clutching the beanstalk just to keep from plummeting to the ground. Right now, he is standing on the concrete at an increasingly steep angle as Krashen’s vision comes to life. He stands there on that tilted concrete stating to Drew that he feels that grammar is important.
    This is happening in politics right now – if the general population is not being served by those trusted, paid, chosen to do so, then we must acknowledge that it is time for some radical talk. With people like Drew’s colleague walking around, maybe it’s time to take a pickaxe to the concrete to bring that beanstalk up even faster. Drew’s friend has every right to teach as he sees fit, EXCEPT AT THE EXPENSE OF KIDS.

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