Pitching So They Can Hit It

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3 thoughts on “Pitching So They Can Hit It”

  1. I love this image of the pitching machine! Yes, I want to get out of my own way and pitch just slow enough, steadily enough, and accurately enough so that they can hit it every time. It really is a matter of taking on a bit of the robotic and getting out of my own way.

    Re: ignoring certain kids. This is so true, Ben. Especially for teachers who are new to teaching at the secondary level. When I taught 2nd grade, they all loved me like their second mom, and I had them eating out of my hand. The transition to Freshmen (French I all day every day) was a hard landing – ouch! I felt like they all hated me, and most of them hated French. (That’s how it felt). So my focus was on the few who obviously liked French (which meant a bunch of them felt left out). It took me a couple of years (I’m ashamed to say) to learn the importance of drawing in every kid in the class. And even then, I wasn’t sure how to do it. I guess on some level I thought that as the stronger kids responded to me, the kids who saw French as a greater challenge might catch the vision and join the party on their own. But that didn’t happen, and the stark divisions you speak of became our reality. In the meantime, I was just trying to survive my first couple of years of teaching HS. Fortunately, it didn’t take forever for me to find my groove, and then I got a bit better at connecting with the students who were wondering, “What was I thinking when I signed up for this class?” 🙂 But I still wasn’t doing it well.

    TPRS is now changing all that for me. I am now developing the skills to draw in *all* the students (making it more possible for them to be a part of what’s happening) and to draw them out (give them the tools to become **expressive** in the L2). And as we do this, we are building a greater sense of community, which has been a pretty tall order for some of my classes in 1st semester. This first week back I’ve kept one of your lines in my head above all others: [In the early stages} it’s more important to establish happiness than to establish meaning (from Pringle Man). We are doing both, but right now, the focus is on making sure that each kid sees that 1) we can have fun, 2) comprehension is within reach, and 3) he is a valued member of the team.

    1. I would change the order for a change in your classroom dynamics 1. They are valued members in your class, 2. As they comprehend it beco we more fun. And they will comprehend when you go $LOW. I love the Walk the Talk process that Ben outlined in his book. That has done a world of good for me to slow myself down.

  2. Julie Quenneville

    Just the other day I overheard a boy getting upset because his idea wasn’t being heard. I’m new to this, and we’re having fun creating our Invisibles…but as I ask each basic question (size, colour, etc), I’m not sure which method–having the kids call out, respond with “oui” to gauge majority choice, or vote with hands raised–makes the most sense. I want all voices, especially the quiet ones, to feel like they matter. Too often, the loudmouths take the stage. They already get too much attention!

    Wondering if anyone has advice for this gr 1 to 8 teacher.

    And by the way…advice on how to even choose what your character would be! I have classes of up to 28 kids…

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