Report from the Field – Candace Elder

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8 thoughts on “Report from the Field – Candace Elder”

  1. Yes. Being in the space and witnessing is far more powerful than reading or discussing. I can’t wait to witness this! I need to reach out to some local teachers to try to get a workshop out here in the east. That said, if anyone in this group is an East coaster and interested in hosting Ben, please keep me in the loop.

    I literally know 2 teachers near me at another high poverty school. Last time I heard, they had gone all-in on OWL program. I’ll check in with them, and also try to connect with ppl at Skip’s conference.

    1. Where are you on the east coast? I am in Albemarle County, VA. We have a handful out here in this area, and I met a couple others at iFLT from VA. I would love to get a workshop for Ben out this way.

  2. There is a big debate going on the iFLT page on Facebook right now, about using targeted language or not. Many seem to think that using “emergent language” (the language you find you need to communicate in that moment) is some “next frontier” like you have to pass through circling, targets, scripts, Look I Can Talk, Raconte-moi encore, then maybe try to dip your toe into using emergent language that the class needs to communicate its ideas.

    I see it differently and Candy’s report here seems in line with my vision that CI is actually way easier than people make it out to be with their lists and plans and books and structures and steps and rules and formulae. It is more like what human beings are wired to do. All we need to do is internalize a mindset, a set of dispositions, and a commitment to just making ourselves understood and interesting enough to keep the kids’ attention. And I actually have come to think that trying to hold onto all the lists and formulae while also trying to communicate comprehensibly and make sure that it is interesting enough to hold kids’ attention, trying to follow the steps or the plan, is so mind-consuming that it makes CI harder to deliver.

    Communicating in languages is part of our human birthright and should be a painless, natural, free, and relatively simple task.

    As a mom, my mother was the best. She was a SLA expert. People would marvel at her constant patter to me and my siblings. She narrated, in kid-friendly terms, pretty much constantly. “This is peanut butter. It goes on the banana. And salt too. Let’s put the salt here.” Mom asserts that it is because she was lonesome out in the country with three kids and two dogs and assorted farm animals for company while Dad was at work. Whatever the case, she constantly provided English to us by talking and reading and playing and drawing and pretending and making believe. She read to us a lot, and then she would take us to the Middle Georgia Regional Library in Macon, GA, where we did a lot of free voluntary book-checking-out and reading at home.

    Result? I am highly fluent in English. 🙂 Did Mom take a class? No. Did she plan her input? No. Did she have a plan? No. She simply followed her human instincts. This work is within us, it is a gift waiting to be unwrapped. It is part of our DNA, our brains, our very bodies.

    Candy, it was such a gift to meet you. Your warmth and openness were refreshing and beautiful to encounter. Please please continue to keep us updated. I will be following your experiences with vivid interest.

    1. Yes Tina. Awesome anecdote. It’s a shame that people feel that we have to go through hoops of acripts, work books etc… I think that emergent out does anything scripted. It’s about letting go of our egos and high horses of being a Teacher and just be an adult that cares about the kids.

      The best is a firm, fair and consistent adult that brings joy everyday to everyone. It’s easier said than done but if we are in this, lets play for keeps.

  3. Way to go, Candace! Sounds like your enthusiasm for this is contagious!!! I love that the students were begging for more…
    I remember when I first tried this I had no idea what I was doing but I just knew that it was better than what I was doing before. It just lined up more with who I was and how I wanted to connect with the kids. I realize that in using stories I connect to EVERY kid, not just the 4 %’ers.

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