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4 thoughts on “Jennifer”

  1. The results are in. At least half of them are. And, ironically, even though I caved in and taught more traditionally in order to appease the exam and the next semester’s teachers… my kids did worse on this exam than on the previous one.

  2. Susie recently told me that after three months or so grammar in most kids is simply gone, vanished. My level four class proves that in spades – they don’t know grammar even though they did a lot of it last year. They memorized for the test and then forgot. In your situation with the backdown to “authority” we have more proof. What’s nuts is that we spend so much less time on that stuff proportionately, yet our kids know it as much or more as kids who have spent lots of time on that stuff alone. You’d think that fact alone would raise a few eyebrows. But it doesn’t.

  3. The problem is that for my tests and pacing guides I am expected to have taught certain discrete words and skills, and honestly, a lot of it isn’t stuff that would come up in a normal TPRS class, or even normal daily conversations. In other words, it isn’t even on the top 5,000 word list, and a lot of the grammar is probably late acquired grammar. So… I still have to find a way to teach words and grammar that won’t pop up (get it?) in our stories.
    I also have to find a way to get classroom management under control. I am still fighting kids on the basic rules, and so I have not done any retells, acting, etc. simply because I haven’t trusted a few kids to handle it. You know the adage that we can’t accomplish anything until the kids feel safe. So… more soul searching.
    That’s one thing about this method. We seem to do a lot of soul searching. under the old system, if kids failed we could always blame it on them. Obviously they didnn’t study, or they didn’t care. Now, we have to look at ourselves. (I don’t mean to say I never looked at myself, after all that’s what led me to TPRS in the first place! Just a thought about general attitudes.

  4. a lot of it isn’t stuff that would come up in . . . even normal daily conversations
    Then, obviously, those benchmarks are not aligned with the standards. I’m highly involved with discussions of benchmarks, standards, etc. in my district because I want them to get it right this time. Our last set of benchmarks were tied to a specific book and specific vocabulary, much as I’m sure Profesora Loca’s school’s benchmarks are. As we get closer to actually formulating new benchmarks (and German doesn’t even have benchmarks because I’m the only full-time German teacher in the district), I’m going to be certain I keep asking how they align with the California State Standards. There should be hefty doses of input from the ACTFL Performance Guidelines as well.
    Perhaps Profesora Loca’s solution is the same as Ben’s: Make those vocabulary lists that students have to learn outside class, then test them regularly so they know they are required, then teach grammar authentically via TPRS in the classroom. Then just before the test review the test style – just knowing how to navigate the test makes a difference.
    Just some ideas.

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