These are just some random thoughts on a few threads from yesterday:
Brian has called our attention to that thread about freestyle CI, which is Grant Boulanger’s term for talking to the kids in a totally non-targeted way vs. following the three steps and the CI protocols that we have now. It is quite an interesting thread. To read it, click on the “L’Art de la Conversation” link in recent posts.
As I said in a comment there, for me, it depends on the day of the week and what I am doing, since I love doing both, because it’s like taking flying lessons (freestyling my instruction) and then when that gets a little weird I can go back to the safety of a story.
All this makes me think that it is in this freedom of discussion, this freedom of speech, that lies the beauty of what we are doing on this blog here these days – it is we who are figuring out what is best for our students together in this ongoing dialogue based on our own experience.
We are not being dictated to about how to implement some teaching model that some academic came up with based on research and that often is connected to a book. We can’t trust most researchers now, as they might be connected to a corporate interest group. It’s happening all over the country, so why would we would think it is not happening in our field?
Luckily, there is the pure foundation given by Krashen, but this stuff would have emerged anyway, I believe. And it wasn’t really all Krashen or Lev Vygotsky or Bill VanPatten, it goes back to Simon Belasco, but don’t tell Krashen that – see the blog post entitled “1963” – so important to me that I made it into a category:
Anyway, the point is that it is WE who are making decisions about teaching based on our daily work, as inelegant as it sometimes is/seems, and that is tremendously freeing for me to know that I am working side by side with my colleagues to learn how to teach and I am not being told what to do by some researcher, or, worse, some district beaurocrat who has no idea of what language teaching entails and is asking me to do stuff that makes no sense in terms of the research.
Therein lies is the true greatness of what Diana Noonan is doing in Denver Public Schools, by the way. She is putting her teachers in touch with the best research and prodding us to exhaustively study the standards to figure out and implement what they really say, and then she just let’s us have at it in our classrooms and comes and supports us and we talk about how we can get better and isn’t that what it is really all about?
The DPS model really does change a pattern that has been going on for decades if not for more than a century.
By the way, the real beauty of the privacy thing on this blog is starting to emerge now. I think that the really active people on this blog, down from up to 12,000 one day in August of a few years ago, is about 25-30. This is the group I want to work with, not a big mass of babblers, but people like jen and Brian and Grant and Chill and Skip and John Piazza and Brian and Lori (read her comment today!) and Laurie whose voices I can trust and ring true because they are crusaders. I love that.
And you are right Brian in asking for more avatars (gravatar.com – got it!) – we should do all we can to promote freedom of speech in a feeling of community and safety here and that can’t be said enough.
The Problem with CI
Jeffrey Sachs was asked what the difference between people in Norway and in the U.S. was. He responded that people in Norway are happy and