Immediate Action Needed

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44 thoughts on “Immediate Action Needed”

  1. The Ellis paper has “ten points” of what makes good languages teaching. It basically supports everything we do in TPRS. It is here:

    The way I see it, your argument is that CI will build a better foundation than grammar grinding. Luckily for you, you are right. So here are some key excerpts from Ellis (2005):

    “Traditionally, language instruction has been directed at developing rule-based
    competence (i.e. knowledge of specific grammatical rules) through the systematic teaching
    of pre-selected structures – what Long (1991) has referred to as a focus-on-forms approach.

    While such an approach certainly receives support from the research that has investigated
    direct intervention in interlanguage development, curriculum designers and teachers need
    to recognize that this type of instruction is as likely to result in students learning
    rote-memorized patterns as in internalizing abstract rules (Myles, 2004). This need not be
    seen as an instructional failure however as such patterns are clearly of value to the learner.

    It points instead to an acknowledgement of what can be realistically achieved by a
    focus-on-forms approach, especially with young, beginner learners.

    If formulaic chunks play a large role in early language acquisition, it may pay to
    focus on these initially, delaying the teaching of grammar until later, as I have proposed in
    Ellis (2002). A notional-functional approach lends itself perfectly to the teaching of prefabricated patterns and routines and may provide an ideal foundation for direct
    intervention in the early stages. Clearly, though, a complete language curriculum needs to
    ensure that it caters to the development of both formulaic expressions and rule-based
    knowledge. ”

    On grammar teaching:

    “Principle 4. Instruction needs to be predominantly directed at developing implicit
    knowledge of the L2 while not neglecting explicit knowledge.

    Implicit knowledge is procedural, is held unconsciously and can only be verbalized if it is
    made explicit. It is accessed rapidly and easily and thus is available for use in rapid, fluent
    communication. In the view of most researchers, competence in an L2 is primarily a
    matter of implicit knowledge.

    Explicit knowledge ‘is the declarative and often anomalous
    knowledge of the phonological, lexical, grammatical, pragmatic and socio-critical features
    of an L2 together with the metalanguage for labelling this knowledge’ (Ellis, 2004). It is
    held consciously, is learnable and verbalizable and is typically accessed through controlled
    processing when learners experience some kind of linguistic difficulty in the use of the L2.
    A distinction needs to be drawn between explicit knowledge as analysed knowledge and as
    metalingual explanation. The former entails a conscious awareness of how a structural
    feature works while the latter consists of knowledge of grammatical metalanguage and the
    ability to understand explanations of rules.”

    They also write

    “This principle, then, asserts that instruction needs to be directed at developing both implicit and explicit knowledge, giving priority to the former. However, teachers should
    not assume that explicit knowledge can be converted into implicit knowledge, as the extent
    to which this is possible remains controversial.”

    In terms of classroom interaction, he argues that the following matter (note– grammar instruction and practice are NOT on the list):

    “1. Creating contexts of language use where students have a reason to attend to
    2. Providing opportunities for learners to use the language to express their own
    personal meanings
    3. Helping students to participate in language-related activities that are beyond their
    current level of proficiency
    4. Offering a full range of contexts that cater for a ‘full performance’ in the language.”

    He also writes about controlled-output exercises:
    “Controlled practice exercises typically result in output that is limited in terms of length and complexity. They do not afford students opportunities forthe kind of sustained output that theorists argue is necessary for interlanguage development.

    Research (e.g. Allen et al, 1990) has shown that extended talk of a clause or more in a
    classroom context is more likely to occur when students initiate interactions in the
    classroom and when they have to find their own words. This is best achieved by asking
    learners to perform oral and written tasks.”

    Finally, he writes that “The opportunity to interact in the L2 is central to developing L2 proficiency.” This is where TPRS rocks– you are gonna hear WAY more L2 in a TPRS class than in a grammarian class, because there is so much input, because everything is personalized, and because output is modeled (we ask class qustions we ask our actors).

    Anyway, good luck.


    1. Rod Ellis was responding to Lightbown’s 10 principles when he wrote that. You can selectively read, but in reality, there is only partial agreement with Krashen. Just be careful using these guys to support what we do.

  2. What exactly are the options for you three teachers? Are there enough upper level classes for the traditional teacher to teach all Spanish 3? That would be ideal and even if she doesn’t know it she would get better numbers for her upper level classes if you and your CI colleague had the lower levels and you two could get what you want by having (how many sections?) of both level 1 and 2 classes. What are the numbers involved potentially for each teacher in terms of how many sections each? How does this interface with the “non-advanced” (non-CP?) classes overall?

    Of course there is a rich bed of information that may help on this in the Primers section on the hard link above and Chris I did put that Ellis link up there as well so thank you for that.

    Just trying to get as much information as possible so that you can have a strong and clear vision of what you want to say Thursday morning.

    I personally would try to sell it this way – this traditional teacher could view you and your CI colleague as middle school teachers doing fun and games stories and silly middle school stuff and then when they had heard enough and read enough then your colleague could take them to the “academic” stuff and wouldn’t that be a good plan? Of course, the third year students would still be light years away from having enough input to be able to produce good output, even if both of you stayed in the TL over 95% of the time, but it’s about the best plan I can think of in this situation, until you are all three CI Spanish teachers in your building.

  3. I agree with Ben. Can you sell the consistency / advantage of going deeply into acquisition for 2 years? You could even pitch it so that it looks like the goal is to benefit the level 3 teacher. The students will have 2 solid years of acquisition…large volume of messages they understand, low stress, the right to be silent. Then they will be “ready to succeed / benefit from” what the level 3 course offers.

    I put that “ready…etc” in quotes bc obviously for us this is NOT the goal, but it could be a way to sell it to a dept. that is clearly not ready for a full-on shift.

    Several members here have created excellent Powerpoints on language acquisition vs. learning …Eric, Jim, Robert come to mine. These could be very useful to help you create one that points to the benefits of your 2-year plan. Maybe use numbers? “Over 2 years the students will have had x hours of exclusive TL interaction” vs y hours if they had one year of CI and 1 year of traditional…???

    It is important also to acknowledge the affective filter and the potentially “wasted” time for the students adjusting back and forth each year to widely differing goals: year one of CI there is a big learning curve, so to maximize CI benefits, stick with it for 2 years. Otherwise there is a big adjustment in year one, then another big adjustment in year 2 if they go year 1 CI then year 2 traditional.

    Just some thoughts…good luck Jen!

  4. I don’t know how you argue that acquisition (implicit knowledge) should be the goal of the first 2 years and learning (explicit knowledge) be the goal of the upper levels. Any argument for acquisition applies to all levels, in my mind. Any argument for only the first few years risks sounding like it is an approach only for beginners and that there is a different process for improving proficiency in upper levels.

    Maybe you argue that you want students with a large sound memory / listening vocabulary / comprehension skills, preparing the students to better understand the teacher when he/she speaks in the target language in the upper levels . . . ? Much like the approach taken in the Focal Skills program – but we know that focusing on listening comprehension is not an isolated skill – it develops the other skills (e.g. speaking) as well!

    Or the argument is based on building confidence/comfort or engaging the students in their early years, then boring the crap out of them in the upper levels. ha.

    1. I agree with Eric to a certain extent. ALL language instruction should be c.i. in my opinion but if you MUST make the devil’s choice I’d do c.i. early. At least fewer kids will hate the language that way and end up in upper levels.

      Also Ellis makes the interesting point that you need to learn a ton of “formulaic” stuff first– big meaning chunks– before grammar should be fine-tuned. In TPRS beginners will be able to use relatively complex sentences such as “the boy wants ten blue cats because his mother also likes blue cats” without being able to say “relative dependent clause third person singular bla bla bla.” This alone suggests TPRS for the first few years.

      Plus maybe the grammar grinders will see how good the TPRS kids are and go “holy crap this without worksheets!”


      1. Unfortunately, Chris, what they usually say is: “These kids know nothing.” When pressed to explain/describe what they mean, they say things like, “Yes, they have good comprehension and can speak, but they don’t know the difference between ser/estar, etc., and they haven’t done the chapters in the textbook. They have huge gaps.” It is so, so, so tiring.

        1. I had this exact same experience today, Jody. I showed my fellow Latin teachers a story that my 7th graders and I created in class. The text would be unreadable for a traditionally taught Latin IV student without a dictionary and grammar support, but my 7th graders can read it fluently. The only responses I got from my colleagues were, “So can they identify the names of the cases of all of the nouns in the story?”, and “Oh so they can just read and understand it but they can’t decline the nouns or conjugate the verbs.”

          Needless to say, my fellow teachers were not at all impressed and told me that they were “concerned” that the kids weren’t REALLY learning Latin. This was followed by a discussion of curriculum alignment that was literally just discuss what chapters we “cover” in the textbook, and can we “cover” more chapters faster!

          This daily battle is beyond frustrating. Teaching levels 1 and 2 Spanish with CI will do so much for those kids. If I were you, Jen, I would do everything in my power to try to claim those two years. I would advocate for using any argument available to you. The logic and information about CI likely won’t make a difference to a traditional teacher in that setting. I would focus everything on convincing that teacher that they would be the best possible Spanish 3 teacher in the district.

    2. In our case Levels 1 + 2 represent a larger number of students. After level 2 numbers go down a bit. If that is generally true in most schools, you might argue that you want the greatest numbers of students to get CI.

  5. My take on this is that Jen would not argue for explicit knowledge at the upper levels if she didn’t have to. What she is trying to do is get along in her building and protect some of her kids, the ones she had with CI in level 1, from having to endure level 2 in that way. If she can convince that teacher that level 3 is best, by hook or by crook, the kids benefit. Each building is different and this is the best option she has in my view.

    What she needs by tonite is critical and I hope more people respond with concrete paragraphs supporting this plan so she can walk into that meeting strong tomorrow. We’ve only got about ten hours to get some good ammo into her ammo pack.

  6. I was not at all suggesting she argue for explicit learning. I was in the same situation as she, trying to get a foothold, with the view that the larger change would take place over time. I managed to get 2 yrs consecutive with French students (French 1-2) but only 1 with Spanish (traditional tchr had level 1; I had level 2). It was remarkable how different my French 2 kids were compared to Spanish 2. Like, light years. I know, anecdotal. But still very observable differences. French students processed / interacted in French. Spanish students were clearly translating back and forth and trying to output. It took longer to norm them (aka break through their patterns from level 1, which was study and memorize). With French 2 I was basically able to pick up where I left off. French 3 teacher confirmed that kids who had me for 2 years were “incredible” “confident” and “really functioning in the language.”

    More concretely, for Jen, focus on the consecutive hours of TL students , and specifically the confidence they will have after 2 years of CI. Base everything on what you have done in your level 1 classes. Extrapolate from there. Can you give examples of student work at different stages of level 1 and/or 2 ?

    Not that I would put specific benchmarks, but it’s pretty safe to state that by the end of 2 consecutive years of CI, the students will understand and respond to (help? ERic? number?) x word families / high frequency structures. They will understand and respond in student-generated conversations about topics of personal interest and co-creation of stories taking place in the past and future as well as the present. All discussion topics are student- generated and teacher facilitated as per Nathaniel’s / Robert’s posts in the textbook thread. This will address student-centered / teacher guiding AND rigor in terms of sustained focus over time.

  7. I hope you are able to make this argument successfully. Do you and your CI colleague teach only 1 and 2 or do you have other classes too. I am afraid this may totally come down to the breakdown of the this many students means this many periods which leaves leftovers so the non CI is full time.

  8. Jennifer Sparano

    Hi everyone! Thanks for your comments. I still have to read through them all. Right now all I know is that the meeting will be about the scope and sequence of the levels and possibly talk of creating a class that is multi-leveled. Currently, we don’t have enough Spanish teachers for all the levels as it is so I guess maybe there’s nothing I can do about it.

  9. Jen, sounds like you’ve got a good handle on what these kids need… CI. And for sure at the lower levels. If you get them later and your textbook teachers have them earlier, you’ll find lower numbers of kids and they’ll more likely be the ones who resent having to actually communicate because they learned they can just find the answer in their textbook and study for 10 minutes before the test and memorize all that and do just fine. But, you’d also get some kids too who appreciate that they are now actually speaking the language in class in real ways. But all those kids that didn’t make it in the textbook class, how sad.

    The point Ben brings up about your colleagues discounting what you and your CI colleague are doing as M.S. type exploratory Spanish stuff without real substance, I’d try make sure that does not happen by holding the frame on how powerful the implicit learning (acquisition) system is. And you can point to the 90% statement from ACTFL, and suggest that this is doable with TPRS/TCI but really not with a traditional grammar-centered method.

    I fear that my advice may be a bit blurry, coming off a two day cold. Best of luck to you. And if you or Chris or anyone else has thoughts on 1-2 split programs, or 2-3 split, I’m very interested to read about them!

  10. Jennifer Sparano

    Here’s what’s happening now. I’m sitting in the meeting and apparently my traditional colleagues have already had private conversations with our principal regarding their concerns with receiving students from my CI colleague and I not being articulated with them. They have already planned to order textbooks for all of us to use next year in all levels. We are being asked to teach with the same methodology (i.e. Using the textbook) and make sure everything we do is standardized with each other (by using the textbook).

    1. WHAT!!!!!!????????? I am so sorry, Jen. I would talk to those administrators independently with your CI colleague. Make the same complaint in reverse and see if that can muddy the waters some. If they see it as an interdepartmental debate, rather than a one-sided complaint about you both, there’s a chance that they may reconsider their mandate. If your department head is genuinely on board with teaching straight out of the textbook and covering chapters, you may want to start putting applications out there.

      You also might consider talking to your principal or assistant principle about this situation. Using a textbook as a curriculum, covering and assessing chapters, has been universally panned by all schools of pedagogy world-wide. Not even the most ardent of corporate reformers thinks that teaching straight out of a textbook is sound teaching. Language teachers and cro-magnon department heads are the only educators left who think that this is acceptable. If you can get administrative support from outside of your department, you might be able to stop this.

      I would also consider shooting an email to your assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum coordination. If that individual is on your side, they may be willing to apply pressure to your department head from above.

      I am so sorry that this happening to you right now. Just know that you are not going through this alone. You have an army of people here who are willing to support you in any way that we can.

    2. I agree with the others. The department chair wanted a particular result and so stacked the deck to achieve it. Your administrator needs to know that not only does not everyone in the department believe this*, but the second language acquisition experts reject following a textbook as an acceptable curriculum.

      *When making these kinds of arguments, I prefer to use the language of thought, not emotion. Let you colleagues “feel” that this is good; you know, think, believe otherwise and have the facts to support that cognitive awareness.

      Yes, let your principal and assistant superintendent know about the 21st century skills map statement that following a textbook is in the past. Make sure he understands that ACTFL is the parent organization for foreign language teachers in the US. Cite Van Patten as well as Krashen, Pinker, Omaggio, and others to show, as John states above, that “Using a textbook as a curriculum, covering and assessing chapters, has been universally panned by all schools of pedagogy world-wide.” Then offer to follow up with a more in-depth discussion of how languages are acquired and what the implications for curriculum design are. There are lots of resources on the blog, and several of us are willing to help you craft the documents you need for that meeting.

      Depending on how strongly you feel about this and how willing you are to go out on a limb, you might even express the following sentiment to your principal:
      I work hard to be a good employee and as such believe I need to follow the work instructions I receive unless they are illegal, immoral or unethical. Unfortunately, I consider it unethical deliberately to give students an inferior education when I know and have been trained in far superior pedagogical practices – best practices. Reverting to a textbook-driven curriculum and following a textbook slavishly so that we are all literally “on the same page” has been rejected by all schools of pedagogy worldwide. So, I can’t adopt an inferior methodology when I am trained and competent in best practices. It would be unethical, and I would appreciate your help in solving this ethical dilemma so that I can continue to provide my students with the quality of education they deserve and thus fulfill my legal, moral, and ethical obligations as an employee of the district. (Our students come to us looking for bread. Do we give them stones instead?)

      [This is basically my prepared speech should I ever be faced with the same issue. I have iterated portions of it to administrators, so it would not be a total surprise should I ever need to present it in full.]

      You can soften the slam against your colleagues a bit if you want by saying something along the lines of:

      “I know that following a textbook has been a widespread and accepted practice in the past, but it is a thing of the past. Our understanding of how languages are acquired has changed with new research. Unless someone is reading and going to conferences to hear and study that research and its implications for instruction, that person may not be aware of just how much pedagogical practices and methods have changed recently, but ACTFL, the parent organization for foreign language teaching in the US, and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills have both declared that following a textbook is a thing of the past. It was a 2oth-century practice, but we are no longer preparing students for the 20th century; we need to prepare them for the 21st century, so our methods have to change and remain current.”

      [There is no need to tell your administrator that some of this research has been around since the 1970s unless he asks – it isn’t really all that new, though Van Patten and others keep doing research, so there is new research that reinforces the changes.]

      You might even make comparisons with other disciplines. There is now Common Core Math. It doesn’t matter what your personal opinion of Common Core is, ask the administrator if he would support teaching math the “old way” rather than meeting the Common Core Standards. Would he want history taught as it was in the 1970s and 1980s or as it is taught today? Would he choose to drive a car from the 1990s if he could have a brand new Mercedes instead? These are all analogous: the new is superior to the old in each case.

      Just some ideas for you.

    3. Jen, I think I am out of my depth here. I am worried about giving advice because the situation seems to be on the brink and I don’t want to make stuff worse.

      How long have you been teaching at this school?

      If I had been at this school for any period of time, and if I had any kind of relationship with the administrator, I would probably try to find a time to meet with the administrator along side my CI colleague and explain how upset we are that all of these very important decisions seem to have been made behind our backs.

      The problem is that it’s 2 vs. 3, and one of their 3 is the department head, right?

      Giving specific advice is really difficult for me because your situation feels so dangerous. Please keep giving us information!

      Basically, those three colleagues and your department head are saying you are bad at your job–you need to be kept in check by the textbook. That is very sad and totally untrue. You have my prayers.

      1. James’s comment is apropos: any advice we might give you definitely needs to be filtered through your situation and not adopted simply because you read it here.

  11. OH! I am really restraining myself from saying what I really think. So sorry to hear this. Yes. Try John’s strategies. And know that we are all with you. Such bullshit. Sorry for my language. Sort of. Don’t’ mean to offend. But damn!

  12. This is the time to build a relationship with the administrator who has been swayed. I would not be silent. I would print out that paragraph that Robert said, grab some stuff off the Primers list, and get a dinner date – out of the building – for the two of you and the administrator. Just state your truth, your side, in a calm way. Personally I would directly inform the person that I could not remain in that setting if things don’t align with 21st century isntruction. It’s time for that now. You have to do it. The reason I wouldn’t do it in the building is because it is too serious. This is not just “another meeting”. It is a career breaker if that department chair gets away with this. Too many of us here have so totally been in your shoes. My learning has always been to build the bridge with the admin.

    HOWEVER, if the admin. doesn’t get your position and you already know that, then honestly there are other places to work. I have left two buildings over this very situation. I’m glad I did. When I found Lincoln High School where they had a strong CI program and would never even hire a person like those you work with, I was so thankful.

  13. I really need immediate help now. If people could literally copy/paste document links here where I can gather the right stuff to bring to my principal within the next day or so, I’d appreciate it.

    My other CI colleague went to him during a prep period to discuss how we felt steam-rolled by the meeting and he seems to be unaware that there was such disagreement and he regretted to have made an impression that he felt any one method was correct over others. I think what he needs now is for someone (i.e., ME) to present him with actual evidence based on research that teaching a curriculum straight from the text book is not going to benefit our students.

    1. Jen, try the tab at the top of the screen called “Primers.” Robert Harrell has several related to textbooks but there are others that may be helpful to you. I got these links at the Primers tab:

      Robert Harrell on Textbook Adoption:

      1. Jennifer Sparano

        Yes, I looked at the primer and printed a few things to review tonight but I do need something specific to my situation.

        My principal told my CI colleague that he knows we are “all adults and can come to an agreement without him stepping in” but that isn’t possible when some of us don’t have the same beliefs on fl instruction.

        At the meeting, one of the traditional colleagues said that “no one way has all the answers” and that he has “done some storytelling with his students in conjunction with his text book”. I guess this is supposed to show he is willing to ‘bend’.

        Now all I keep thinking is, Are there any CI positions open in Northern NJ?

        1. Pascack Valley Regional High School in Northern NJ is all CI. Liam O’Neill (member of this PLC) teaches TCI Chinese at that school. Maybe he has some advice? He is also on the board of FLENJ (NJ FL state organization). And Jen, Krashen will be the keynote speaker in New Brunswick in February at the state 2015 conference. By Feb. it may be too late to change course, but if possible at all try to get your principal to go listen to Dr. Krashen and Laurie Clarcq.

      2. Okay, so here’s my ammo. I can’t link anything here or the comment won’t be accepted by the system, so you can google search each of these. . .

        I’ve had similar meetings and communication with my Assistant Superintendent. (My high school uses a textbook-based curriculum and there is a push for us elementary and middle school teachers to be covering their curriculum. I will NEVER do that.)

        There’s 3 things admin (and FL teachers) needs:
        1. Some ACTFL education
        2. Some SLA education
        3. Observe a TCI class

        1. I had a copy of this ACTFL documentation and I had highlighted stuff I wanted to stand out.

        – 90% TL position statement
        – page 4 of the 21st century skills map
        – page 5 of Performance Descriptors showing performance vs. proficiency
        – page 7 of Performance Descriptors reviewing the 3 modes
        – page 5-6 from the AP Spanish Language and Culture Curriculum Framework*
        – Linguafolio 3 modes self-assessment grid
        – definition of rigor from the Dept. of State

        ACTFL tells us that comprehensible input is the focus 90%+ of class time. Textbooks are out. We teach for proficiency, not knowledge about a language, nor performance. We assess the 3 modes, not separate sections of grammar and vocabulary. We make the assessment unrehearsed, spontaneous, and free. To prepare kids for the AP exam we do this. Be sure to tell them that the Director of Education at ACTFL (Paul Sandrock) is explicitly against topic-based instruction and advocates for meaningful and engaging contexts (themes OR stories). You can also discuss how your approach is truly rigorous and that deductive teaching (traditional teaching) is not rigorous.

        * “The AP Spanish Language and Culture course takes a holistic approach to language proficiency and recognizes the complex interrelatedness of comprehension and comprehensibility, vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. Students should learn language structures in context and use them to convey meaning. In standards-based world language classrooms, the instructional focus is on function and not the examination of irregularity and complex grammatical paradigms about the target language. Language structures should be addressed inasmuch as they serve the communicative task and not as an end goal unto themselves. The AP Spanish Language and Culture course strives to promote both fluency and accuracy in language use and not to overemphasize grammatical accuracy at the expense of communication. In order to best facilitate the study of language and culture, the course is taught in the target language.”

        2. Email the videos and links and hand the admin a copy of the TPRS research

        – Show me the data: Research on TPR Storytelling
        – Comprensible Input-Based Methods vs. Traditional Methods (
        – In Praise of Incidental Learning by Warwick Elley
        – The daisy model visually contrasts TCI with topic-based instruction
        – What Everyone Should Know about Second Language Acquisition by Bill VanPatten
        – A Child’s Guide To Language

        3. I have a PPT Primer with more information – I made that PPT presentation last year to my school committee where both Super and A. Superintendent were in attendance. I’ve had both of them in to observe my classes. My kids rocked the house for my A. Super. His first words: “That was impressive.” I had to tell him how I honestly felt the kids were further along than I was after my 4 years of textbook high school instruction. That fact was staring him in the face.

        I dare a traditional teacher to pick a fight with me. Woof! haha.

    1. …ask yourself this question: when was the last time you spent three weeks talking about one subject– food, say– in one verb tense, using one or two new grammar tricks and say forty words? Never? Why not? Cos it’s totally BORING, that’s why not!…

      This from that article on Chris’ blog is at the core of all of it. Love that sentence. Now we can burn the textbooks. Of course, we’ll be accused of heresy, but so what? We’re already heretics.

      I would perhaps suggest here that those teachers are drawn to boring content because they themselves are boring. Maybe that is what this whole change is all about – that the current national FL teacher corps, being four percenter left brain dominant robotic thinkers about the mechanics of language, lack humor, don’t know how to laugh.

      There is something about this work that makes those drawn to it develop a sense of humor. It’s not easy for some people, bless their hearts. It means they have to relax and accept their students on their own terms, as people, and focus on them in lightheartedness and respect, putting the language second.

      Doing that for me was the biggest challenge of my career, and it made learning CI look easy by comparison. It’s just so much easier to just focus on the subject matter!

  14. Along with all the paper evidence, try really hard to get him into your classroom. There is no substitute for that. No amount of description, no matter how detailed and accurate, can come close to having the person come into the class. They need to feel, see and hear. A CI class is experiential, so must be experienced.

    So, documents and videos as per Eric’s outline, along with articles and blog entries AND set a time for live human observation / participation (participation often happens organically during a visit…never planned, never forced of course…).

    As a principal, he ought be interested and curious about this, enough to want to experience your and your colleagues classes, no???

    1. Yup.

      Also can you not just show him some evidence?

      I was looking through ancient, pre-c.i. final Spanish projects. My top level 2 kid in 2007 wrote a not-bad 80-word paragraph for one of the final project tasks. My beginners– with litarally 1/4 the class time that this kid had had when she wrote her final– can produce literally ten times as much writing, which is more fluid and interesting, and less error-filled. EVERY tprs classroom I have seen blows away trad-taught kids’ output by miles (oh and btw I suck– ANYONE can teach tprs better than me).

      So just show your admins some writing output. They’ll be most impressed…and they will be even MORE impressed if they see kids who are “weak” doing decently. (This IMHO is where tprs REALLY shines: the “weak” kids can do fine with it)

    2. An example of what jen is saying, Jen, is that Annemarie Orth in Maine once went to some kind of board meeting with a superintendent there and did a five minute demo and included the supe in the discussion. He thought he was bad ass at the language after those five minutes. (I think jen was just standing in front of this table of bigwigs or something and had five minutes to convince them of CI.) So all the research in the world could not do what that honoring and including him in the class as real person in the group did. I am sure that on some level he compared his happiness in those five minutes with his own grammar experience years before. This is one of the deepest pillars of my own take on this adventure we are on – we must include everybody in lightheartedness. It must be a conscious effort. The truth that humans need to be acknowledged as a member of a group, along with the principle of play, have yet to make their way onto the stage of our work in the way that I think will happen one day, as people continue to learn to lighten up in their classrooms, as teachers finally learn that if they are not relaxed and honoring of their students, with a little glint of fun in their eyes, their students won’t be able to relax either, and if they are not relaxed, they really can’t learn, as the neuroscience is showing us, like in that book by Kirke I mentioned earlier (Kirke Olson, The Invisible Classroom – Relationships, Neuroscience and Mindfulness in School).

      The key to Annemarie’s big success in that meeting? She did two things not typically done in traditional classrooms:

      1. it was about the supe and the other people at the meeting.
      2. they understood what she said because I remember her saying that she really stayed totally in bounds during the demo.

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Research Question

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We Have the Research

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