Overemphasis on FVR

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6 thoughts on “Overemphasis on FVR”

  1. The voluntary reading for us is that they read the story later on their own. I try to give them something to read that only uses the vocabulary we covered in our meeting. I also try and record small readings both for my own learning and for us all to add to our listening time. Our drive time has become another time to immerse in the language.

    We are building our curriculum as we go. It is specific to us. While we pull from what is available we are doing the majority of design and vocabulary from what interests us.

  2. Kate said:

    …I try to give them something to read that only uses the vocabulary we covered in our meeting….

    Most people don’t do that. They think that students are motivated in the way adults are. So FVR means something different with adults than it does with kids, who are generally not at all interested.

    And if I am not mistaken, the research was done with motivated and semi-motivated adults, not unmotivated teens.

    (Even the teens who get the A’s are not motivated to learn the language but to get the A. This makes me think that when colleges eventually fall to the axes of online college instruction, the motivation of high school “high achievers” to get into college at all costs will be gone, thus accelerating secondary and higher ed down its current path of cracking apart faster than we think.)

    There is a contradiction in these terms: (a) voluntary and (b) being in school.

    So yeah, give readings based on the tableaux and stories created in class, but not those despised novels, which are accepted as useful and good only by the few students (those five who care) and the teacher, who agree silently that they will be the smart ones in the class and so it is kind of a silent conspiracy between those who process and read well to get the A vs. the rest of them.

    It would not be too much of a stretch to go from the seeds of that idea in language classrooms to – the idea that the few are superior to the many and therefore need to be the ones in charge, to our current exclusionary and judgemental society.

    The few always need to be in charge. So democracy, let me the first to say, “You took us 230 years down the road! Thanks for the ride! Nothing lasts forever…”.

  3. Let’s see how our country responds and reacts to the injustices and abuses now flashing in our faces before we give up on democracy just yet.

    But this is a good post. I too am skeptical when people say they run FVR in their first and second year classes. I’ve tried, but not after a good semester of solid CI instruction. Even then, though, like you say, the little novels are just too hard or too uninteresting. Knowing this, I used to stay committed because, well, that’s what other CI teachers were doing, and because I thought I was helping them exercise reading stamina.

    Let’s face it, trying to exercise and increase reading stamina by giving a student a challenging text is like trying to drive a car with square wheels. We’re left with way too much mental strain.

    Our FVR time might be the only time our students get the entire day to choose to read something on their own. So, I let them bring in an English book. Any book. Some actually do pick up the little Spanish novels. Some do so because they don’t have any book in English they’re reading or care to read. It’s sad. I regularly try to push our English teachers in our school to get high-interest novels/ graphic novels for kids. Our SPED English teacher has a good assortment of graphic novels. Heck, maybe I should start putting English books in my classroom library.

  4. Sean said:

    …let’s see how our country responds and reacts to the injustices and abuses now flashing in our faces before we give up on democracy just yet….

    Of course I agree. But at times, when you see the lemmings w no masks on the WH lawn like last nite, a lawn that has never before been used as something other than the lawn outside the House of the People, I tend to wonder if our democracy can in the future ever live up to its potential in a robust way. Poor democracy is hanging by threads, it seems to me, at times. Like now after Kenosha. And unless this change we’re in grows some real teeth, there will be more Breonnas and more George’s and I don’t know how long the people can take it.

  5. And as I continue to pull off layers of the education onion, I am starting to see more and more and more racism. I look back on my career and I see racism and bias in memories of my career where I didn’t them before.

    When I had just arrived in Colorado from SC I said something in the Teacher’s Lounge and afterwards the principal, in a very kind way bc she also was a democrat, came up to me and explained, “Ben, the teachers here are very much on the right, so be careful what you say in the lounge.”

    That shocked me. I have always thought of students as the people (all colors, sizes and shapes). And here I was working in a building where, well, just look at this
    image:

    https://columbinehs.jeffcopublicschools.org/staff

    So “something is different”. That’s a good thing! Growth (of an individual or a country) is tough work but at least we are doing it now. We no longer have our heads hidden in the proverbial sand, to put it in the nice way.

  6. I hear you, brother. But our country’s democracy just needs some particular tweeks in legislation, like regarding gerrymandering, campaign finance reform, and something I hadn’t really thought of much before George Floyd’s protests, police reform. Some of these specific legislation reforms will help a critical mass of people participate more in our democracy. And with that participation will come the change we need, like getting more people of color hired as teachers in our public high schools. (That is one big white sea of teachers in that pic at Columbine! Power to that sole dark-skinned man in the back row!)

    I’ll also tell you that the Milwaukee Bucks, Lebron James, and those the NBA super-heroes really gave me some hope after feeling quite hopeless as I stayed up late trying to make sense online of the Kenosha event.

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