Ohio May Have a Problem
I got this from Chris today:
Ohio is currently in the process of revising and rolling out new, revised Foreign Language Standards. Currently, I’d say they align fairly well with ACTFL’s 5 Cs. I emailed and asked the World Language Consultant in the Ohio Dept. of Education about the standards and how friendly they will be to TPRSers. I mentioned how we don’t believe in forcing output, especially in the beginning phases of language acquisition and I said that I hope the new standards will not be detrimental to teachers whose teaching aligns with Krashen. Here is his response:
Thanks for your message and your interest in Ohio’s next iteration of World Language content standards.
To answer your question, the new standards will be quite friendly to teachers who use a variety of communicative methodologies, including those who use TPRS. However, they will thwart those who would misinterpret Krashen’s theory and message by designating input as the be all and end all in their classrooms. While input is critical, we must also look to others like Swain and Long for other critical communicative components like comprehensible output and negotiation of meaning. Our revised standards, like the national standards and those of the other 49 states, seek to strike a balanced approach to communicative, performance-based teaching and learning.
What do you make of this? Does this sound “good” or is there need for concern here in the Buckeye State? If you have the time or interest to check it out, here is a link to the Dept of Education’s site with information on the new standards: http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?Page=3&TopicRelationID=1701&Content=115450
My own opiniated response:
Chris next time don’t identify yourself as pro-TPRS. That sparked this guy’s ire and condescension. But the much larger point you make is really serious. 90% use of target language in the classroom, the very position statement of ACTFL, clearly implies, since the kids don’t know the language yet, that the instructor would be the one to use the TL 90% of the time. Do the math. Also this guy doesn’t really get Krashen’s ideas about the natural emergence of language and how by not forcing output early we get, and have seen all over the place now in our classrooms, tons of naturally emergent output later. This guy doesn’t get Krashen, and if people who think like him are in charge of Ohio, then YES, there is ample reason to be concerned for the Buckeye State.
Note in particular the tone of the response. He doesn’t like you. He knows better than you. If you are right, then he is wrong. And how can he be wrong? He works for the Ohio State Department of Education, right? The thing is, this kind of “see only what you want to see” is what we will get in some states if the wrong people (those who don’t really get (a) the national standards and (b) how people acquire languages) are in charge, then each state will align not with national standards but rather with the think-speak of those sitting at the desks in your state’s dep’t. of education cubicles.
I say Harrell writes a letter to this dude, we all get a copy here, and send it off as a mass email. This cowboy needs to be jammed. In the roller derby sense. Robert, use this text from Inga, which I read tonite from Grant:
“To the man who has a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” -Mark Twain
As applied to traditional language teaching:
man = traditional language teacher
hammer = explicit grammar lessons/text book/conjugation charts/rules
problem = 96% of language students
nail = improper conjugation/lack of agreement in gender or number/missing accent marks (and the list goes on) (it’s quite a nail…)