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14 thoughts on “LTU”

  1. And a similar quote from Dylan Thomas, paraphrased here, from a poem called Nullus:

    …sometimes there are pauses in life that are empty and dark as death itself – it is during these pauses that the creative change takes place….

    Anyone acquainted with clinical depression can relate to that one. It’s amazing that I actually got to retirement. Credit the angels and the One they work for….

  2. “But could we maybe just start thinking about forming such a group, one which believes in the possibility that we can in fact learn to teach effectively against divided classes of the kind described above by finding specific inclusive ways to build community and thus inclusion for all? Or is that just too much for us?”

    Count me in.

  3. If your name isn’t Kelly and you aren’t so much into the battling system racism in our CI classrooms don’t read this. It’s far too long to read anyway.

    So Kelly we now have a group (of 2) and sorry about the long harangue here but Mr. Floyd et al. – and all the black and brown kids fixin’ to try to learn another language in our schools, whatever form they take in the future – deserve this kind of discussion now, and it should be in all the CI circles.

    I think it is time now, after the initial excitement of finding that we even have a problem, that no one in our profession has formally addressed, and so we can do it, or at least start pushing the boulder up the hill, so now maybe we should just lay low and collect information.

    I will be sketching out a small book on “Systemic Racism in Language Education with Possible Solutions” or something like that. I will send you the newest book, saved from the way-too-big Invisibles book, which is being divided into six books. The new book solves both the online CI instrution problem and the systemic racism piece.

    So one thing you can do, and I will function on the assumption that it will just be the two of us working on this, although I think Becker will be in on it as well, is, if you see something, anything, in video form or written, or think of things yourself, just start collecting it. I already have about 20 pp. The eventual goal is not just the book but a bunch or pissed-off, gnarly street protestors whose streets will be the online CI world.

    We can start doing things like challenge people who are making a lot of money off of CI to donate a percentage of it to this, the real work in our language classes. We can constantly remind CI teachers that if their classes don’t retain kids of color through four years then they need to address that.

    Are we on the same page? Is that our goal here, that we work now with a specific focus on the ending of racist CI classes. People who still do grammar should be left out of the conversation, right, just because.

    So I think if we lay low and keep collecting information we can then come out with claws on our hands and start taking swipes at the real problem – systemic racism in our field and perhaps in schools in general, since schools mirror our society at large.

    Anyway just thinking out loud this morning. I do see every new morning now as a chance to finally address the real problem in our field. What I am saying here of course won’t win me any friends as much as it will enemies, but I don’t give a shit.

    We’ve come a long way in CI pedagogy. I certainly have myself, and my newest work, and I know that you have been around long enough to get what I am saying here, the new work is only on the surface about CI pedagogy. It’s only the mechanical part.

    Now a door that we didn’t even know existed has just opened in our field. I know others are talking about this online, actually, but if they don’t have a solution, if they talk in generalities but do not suggest specific ways to attack the pbm. via how we teach then ain’t nothing gonna happen.

    I feel as if I’ve finally found my life’s calling: “How to Reach Every Student in the Room in Spite of the Racist Curriculums that Up Until Now Have Prevented Us From Doing So”. If all these great CI teachers out there aren’t addressing that problem, the problem of engaging EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE kids, then we CAN try – and who givers a shit if we fail, bc at least we tried – to raise consciousness about this issue, which is the only issue.

    And we thought it was about pedagogy – that if we could just teach better, the systemic racism in our classrooms problem would go away. But now we see that only a complete dismantling of current CI pedagogy – if you look at what it has unfortunately become – with one eye focused on that and the other on the racism will even put a dent in the ignorance that exists in our profession right now.

    Why do I say ignorance? Because to my knowledge no one is offering any REAL creative solutions to the problem! Our Gang of Two we probably has a combined experience of over 70 years in the field so let’s get ready to open up a nice big can of Whoop Ass on this issue. I’m ready to get my activist credentials renewed after a fifty year hiatus, which I won’t go into here but am glad to see that the fire burning inside, the OUTRAGE, that I experienced in the Viet Nam war era is not gone, and from those embers our Gang of Two might throw some more shit at the fan and hope we get someone’s attention about the REAL issue.

    No. CI will not solve the problem. CI + social activisms within our field will do it. Actually our Gang of Two is actually probably a Gang of Three bc Becker is in, I am pretty sure.

  4. The short version of the above is that if people don’t have a solution, then that’s not what we want. We want solutions that work. The time for grandiose thoughts on this is over.

    And I’m not saying these kids of color in our language classes are being murdered, but where do you draw the line on exclusive teaching – teaching that excludes certain populations, of whatever color, size or shape? Does murdering kids’ minds and their hopes that they too can learn a language in spite of the situation they are in count as something we want to fight?

    Do kids who can’t score high on the common assessment bc they don’t care about memorizing shit count? Do they have a right to progress through to the upper levels, too? Or is this really about privileged status of certain kids – the kids whom you like? Should we address the disease of memorization and targeting in our field of CI teaching? Or should we just sweep that one under the rug?

    Are we going to re-organize our own “police departments” or let the same teachers I am attacking here (as having no solution and therefore being part of the problem) continue on with their divisive instruction?

    Do we NOT attack w the goal of raising consciousness about the problem of white privilege in our classes? Because it might offend?

  5. I can’t even make lunch w/o all these thoughts on equity invading my noggin. Here’s the thing I keep thinking about: if there is no real desire – collectively – in our CI community to actually address the problem of systemic racism in language classrooms, then what are we going to do – just leave it? And worry about how to teach languages online instead? Can’t we address both? It doesn’t look like it.

  6. So pardon me for jumping in here but I think one way to teach in a more inclusive manner besides teaching from the heart and teaching to their eyes is through the stories we offer.

    Can we offer stories that reflect the culture of language 2 bumping up against the culture of our students? I am proposing that we look at history. Because these racist systems go WAY back. And we don’t actually teach history any more. In Fl. civics and history are no longer a part of our high school curriculum. Oh yes. Be shocked. We are. At least they don’t test for them So they are nonessential land they were pretty white men oriented anyway.

    Most of the world languages I see taught in our schools are from the Western cultures. Why can’t Spanish classes explore the entry to the American continent. They were the first to begin slavery as a business here. The practice of slavery did exist here. But the way my Elders explained it to me, was that it was the spoils of war and didn’t always mean the people forced into slavery (usually women and children, men were killed). Often they could be adopted into the tribe as they were replacing people who had been killed by the enemy. But, it wasn’t a business until the Invaders began to wipe out the civilizations they met here through disease and warfare.

    Why not have a discussion and conversation as to how the French entered as traders and what happened with them?

    Then there are the ways in which the English (Wagina for Virginia in Mvskoke interacted.) The Waginas having run through the native population fairly quickly actually incarceratedated the native women with African men to breed slaves. This is an oral history of my community. The Indigenious men were shipped to Cuba and the Dominican islands because the Indigenious of that geography had already been used up. And then they were in geographys they were unfamiliar with in case they considered running away.

    A little history but opening up these conversations help students learn where the roots of these systems that are so confusing today become possible to explore. This is important to them. For those who are non-caucasion they have a lot to offer in being in a room safe enough to tell their experiences. Instead of cute answers you will be moving towards real conveursations. What is the word in your language for being under surveillance? That is far different from being watched.

    In Mvskoke our third person grammar is non-gendered. What is the root of the romantic languages for the genderizing of nouns? What will be used in our classrooms?

    I think being real with how your students direct the curriculum is going to be the key.

    I think they are going to need online or off an opportunity to dicuss their feeling about brave the New world they are finding themselves in and their expectations of what they feel will be most helpful for them in moving out into this new world.

    Community building isn’t a fluff next year, it is crucial. Once they are comfortable in the community, they will be able to listen to a new language. They are going to need to dump first whether they are 5 or 17. They have seen a lot of things since Feb. and they need to talk openly about it and listen to their peers about what they have experienced. They are already living in their survival brain center. A new language to absorb is going to push them further into that. Listen and help them bring themselves through their survival/emotional centers before you begin to really teach language.

    Administrators are going to need to understand teachers are going to be wearing their social worker hats more than their academic hats for the first 10 weeks of the new year.

    I wish all of you well in that endeavour.

  7. Kate said:

    …they are already living in their survival brain center. A new language to absorb is going to push them further into that. Listen and help them bring themselves through their survival/emotional centers before you begin to really teach language….

    The thing is that I don’t see the current crop of CI teachers doing that. They are caught up in their own perceived greatness, paralleling the millions of “Americans” who go on TicToc and moan and kvetch about the protestors w/o realizing that they themselves are aa contributing source of what they are complaining about.

    The current crop of CI teachers is going to bitch and complain when people like us start asking them to take a real look at how we are doing some degree of mind-murder with kids, black or brown or indigenous or white but from the wrong part of town. They will say that they teach “all” their kids, but some of their kids just can’t measure up to the tasks and activities put before them, bc they are lazy or whatever.

    I see myself readying for war with those CI teachers, those in it for the sales, etc., but not the real work that we plainly must do right now. Yes, be in it for sales, but be part of the solution, too.

    I like the way Dr. Fauci put it when talking about the coronavirus – we are ALL part of the process of the virus no matter what our politics. Likewise, we are part of a process now of owning how we teach and its effects and then we must act in a new kind of process, and if that means dumping ACTFL for its MASSIVE FAILURES TO UNDERSTAND THE RESEARCH, its failures to understand what a giant monolith against real change for kids of color it has become, then we should do it.

    If dumping the College Board and the existing textbook curriculums etc. so that we can start anew in the same spirit that we need to reform police departments is required, then we should do it.

    Why is it always true that the established order is always part of the problem in bringing real change to so many aspects of our society?

  8. It’s so interesting. I WAS part of the power structure. It took Mr. Floyd’s murder to crack open my ignorance. Now, with my new eyes, I am zeroing 100% in on racism in language classrooms.

    I now feel like I did starting out in my career, but with a lot more hope. This time around my goal is to teach languages with absolutely no shred of the kind of racism that I helped perpetuate during my career.

    It doesn’t count if I had neither (a) the awareness of what was going on, or (b) a method to teach languages that reached all of them.

    But I’m not going to take my inventory on that. There is enough mea culpa sauce in our hair these days. The past is the past and we are all doing the best we can. Right now it’s about getting the guilt out of our hair and raising awareness.

    Oh Kate, I can just imagine how you must feel, having experienced and endured and understood so many thick layers of systemic exclusion since what must feel to you like forever, with no one hearing you. I am so deeply sorry.

    It must give you some solace to know that it’s over for White Rule, finally. Or should I say Orange Rule.

    It’s a new day. It’s a new day. For me, from now on, every day is MLK Day.

  9. So Ben, I think you should know that I was raised as an enlisted man’s daughter in the Navy. I knew nothing of Mvskoke life through my family of origin. That was an adult experience because I was seen as someone who could be trained to bridge forward to the next generation.

    Most of our community here were not raised in traditional families. They were raised like me in the white privilege of being light skinned. Our families have intermarried many times over. In the state of Florida if you were Native you were shipped to Oklahoma. And that idea persisted until about 1960. Even though that was not my experience, living in the South the racism that exists is very in your face. It is not covert as I have seen further North. Racism is just a founding principle of these United States.

    As citizens many have lost their lives to open the rest of our eyes to the unequal treatment both in written law and societal structure. Each of us must now face our bias. We must do our best to face our own part in in restructuring the New Normal to come. And that means honoring all citizens and nations of this planet we call Mother.

  10. Kate said:

    …racism is just a founding principle of these United States….

    The thing is, it’s the videos taken by cell phones that are finally making us aware of this. I think Will Smith said that.

    When I get sucked into the TicTok vortex there are so many videos depicting this truth.

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