Quote from Csikszentmihalyi

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11 thoughts on “Quote from Csikszentmihalyi”

  1. We all say it – the ultimate educational goal is to create life-long learners. The path of pleasure is the only way. How many teachers actually teach that way?
    But really, our subject matter is not the most important. If no one acquires any L2, then it isn’t likely to have any serious effects on the future of the students. Character and self esteem are what I believe allow someone to be successful at whatever career and life situation they find themselves in. And TPRS is an excellent way to build those social and psychological factors.

  2. Alisa Shapiro

    This is a MANIFESTO.
    This is what teachers sign up for.
    Not curriculum maps and rubrics.
    Our strategies plus focus-on-affective-environment allow us to truly pursue our goals without distraction.
    Lucky us.

  3. Reading that makes me realize again (and I hope I never forget) that the work we are doing – let’s be real here for just one moment – is in no way some cool new way to teach, one among others. It’s more than that because it involves, as Eric said:
    …character and self esteem … and social and psychological factors….
    That is, this work involves the whole child, mind, emotions, social skills, all of those things. The reason it is so slow in being recognized (like a tsunami that isn’t recognized until it hits the shore) is that most teachers are old school, teaching only to the mind part of the child.
    But, unlike other subjects, languages don’t work that way, they involve character and self esteem and social and psychological factors as Eric said, and kids can’t learn the language unless those parts of their psyche are activated by the teacher in class, which is no easy task when robots and tests define the culture in the building. Anyone bringing those heart qualities into the building are immediately branded as weird. WTF?
    (Anyone wishing to counter that last point by saying that other methods bring in those heart and social and self esteem pieces would embarrass themselves in trying to justify their argument. Other methods – I challenge anyone to prove this as incorrect – in no way require students to show up in the classroom as fully functioning social beings in the TL. We could make a list. All those other methods require kids to stay stuck in the left hemisphere of their brains, aching to interact with their teacher and their classmates in lighthearted ways but unable to because of the way they are being taught. Which causes them to act out, to act out in an effort to get out of that dry left hemisphere where two dimensional grammar reigns, making this time of year in those other classrooms unbearable. If anyone can prove me wrong on that point I would love to be proven wrong and I would immediately embrace such a method, and study it, because it might be better than what we have! But 38 years in the trenches tell me that we probably don’t have such a thing.)
    If the teacher has entered the profession to teach to the mind (recalling Krashen’s statement that “robots don’t converse”), they are caught unawares of these other factors, and when some weird ass teacher down the hallway starts doing them, starts actually speaking the language in her class and, even more weird, doesn’t use a book but starts to talk about the kids in her classes, those mental experts/grammar freaks who only went into language teaching because they were so good at grammar, naturally react with disdain, which is really fear, and so they lash out at us, and if we ourselves don’t react in fear of their reaction to us, we can forgive them, and slowly the change will happen.
    (This points up another reason why I feel that it is so important to get together for hugs in the summer at the conferences. Who down the hallways in our buildings is going to give us a hug when what we do scares the hell out of them because it challenges them to start functioning as a teacher on more than just an intellectual level? Any new people reading here, when you meet some of the experienced people here, like Laurie is a perfect example, will feel so happy that you went to a conference, because you will find people who are very much human, not some great expert, just regular people, but people who refuse to go into a classroom and bore kids, who feel that this profession has potential to bring happiness to both themselves and their students. What greater reason to do a career than to bring happiness to others?)
    OK kind of a ramble there but I think my point was made. I never know. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we strive to be happy.

  4. “Anyone wishing to counter that last point by saying that other methods bring in those heart and social and self esteem pieces would embarrass themselves in trying to justify their argument.”
    I agree. I think teachers all the time say they care about their kids and want them to enjoy class, but then it’s hard to find that in the day-to-day activities going on in the classroom. I think any approach that values accuracy first runs contrary to how language is acquired and therefore only the brightest are able to get by, but even they are faking it.

  5. The flow guy’s quote echoes that Humboldt (?) quote Eric posted not long ago.
    A good rebuttal to the skill-builders and the communicators who say “we’re getting you guys ready for the real world.” Fuck that, we are here, now, and we aren’t going to suffer through 5 years of grammar crap so we can order escargot in French– not even those kids who want to go to France, or care about France– we want things to be autotelic, interesting for their own sake.
    Teachers’ biggest mistake? Imagining their students will– or should– turn into copies of their teachers.

  6. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    I can honestly say that I have never gotten so many random hugs from my Ss as in these past 2 years since I embraced T/CI. I feel known, and they feel known. What more could we ask for out of an otherwise forced, institutional relationship?
    They stop me in the hallway to tell me stuff. They linger after class. they draw me lil pictures of coffee cups and stuff ((I’m a fiend) or make me lil ‘private joke’ crafts – a baby chick or unicorn out of Rainbow Loom bands, a written attempt at a silly story…
    My place in their lives has blossomed…they want me to know them, and I, them….
    Sometimes when I pull out a prop, they ask me which of my kids it belonged to, or if it’s from my husband…they refer to other people in my life who’ve I’ve scripted into stories…(Like the time my sister tripped at Justin Bieber’s feet in Target in LA…)
    Thank you, Dr. Seuss: “Today you are YOU, that is TRUER than true. There is NO ONE alive that is YOUER than YOU!!”
    What a gift to share ones true self!

  7. I had a wonderful compliment from a student today. Actually, she isn’t my student. She was assigned to my study hall temporarily in the fall because her grades were low and continues to come on a regular basis. She asked how I learned now to really listen to what my students were saying and feeling. She wanted to know why students felt that I really heard them. She asked if were from a class that I took and (gulp) why didn’t our counselors take that course?
    I explained to her that I work with a large group of teachers who practice this every day. I told her that we remind each other often of how important students are because of who they are, rather than because of how well they can be taught.
    By the way, this young lady is considered “not very educable”. It takes her a long time to process written material and ‘deep” topics are considered too complicated for her. The truth is that she is a VERY deep thinker. She looks at everything from a million angles before feeling as if she understands it. She asks a lot of questions. She’s a gift.
    with love,
    Laurie

    1. “I told her that we remind each other often of how important students are because of who they are, rather than because of how well they can be taught.”

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