Report from the Field – James Hosler

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9 thoughts on “Report from the Field – James Hosler”

  1. I feel ya James. I just sit quietly in department meetings since I’m the only French teacher and I can do my own thing and no one bothers me. I get annoyed listening to the rest of the department members and their ridiculousness about “They just don’t get double object pronouns!” Well of course they don’t….they’re hard and it’s been a whole two years of the language they’ve had. Sigh.

    1. Seriously. I see my colleagues carrying so much negativity around and saying things like “languages aren’t for everyone.” I am so happy and grateful that I have found a way to teach that doesn’t take me to such dark emotional places every single day.

      1. Along with the “languages aren’t for everyone comment”, I love the “The kids just aren’t as smart as they used to be!” comment. Ugh, sometimes I’m glad I’m on the far end of campus away from everything. Sadly, right next door to my dept. chair who is possibly one of the most negative people in the world.

  2. Ya. Anyone can learn a language. I have an IEP kid with multiple challenges…this is the first time the kid has been able to get ANYWHERE with a language in 7 years of school. (Not me but method). I also no longer talk at dept meetings. I’m tired of trying to buld bridges to nowhere.

  3. yup. anyone can learn a language. and it is fun. and we don’t have to “win” the “who works the most hours and sweats the most making lesson plans and creating creative creativiity based projects” and then grading said projects and filling the trash bins with foam core and too much glue. best place to be is in the classroom with the kids with the door shut to keep out the negative energy. in a most ironic twist, since i left school, suddenly dept. head “sees the light.” but nobody knows what the admin. “vision / strategic plan” is shaping up to be so it is hard to come up with dept. goals. i don’ t know what the goal is for the dept as sent down from above…but it feels eerily like they are heading toward “technology and project-based” blah blah blah. (ie, set the kids up with rosetta stone or some such online BS).

  4. This “project-based learning” and ‘inquiry learning” stuff is awesome/drives me nuts. My biggest revelation ever while learning TPRS:

    NO STRATEGY WORKS EVERYWHERE!

    You CANNOT run a social justice class on “input” alone. You CANNOT run a (successful) language program that’s output-based. An English class must have laods of input– mostly reading, with some films thrown in– but also crucially needs output (essays, lit paragraphs, stories etc). PBL and IL are great for investigative work in socials, english, some areas of science, law etc…but totally wrong for languages.

    1. totally agree Chris! and I don’t understand why there is so much effort / energy / money spent on trying to identify some mysterious elusive “strategy.” REally? I honestly can’t even grasp how one would even think that there is a formulaic “best way to teach” that applies across the board to every circumstance and every subject.

  5. PBL = bane of my existence. along with tech (notice it’s a FOUR letter word!)
    the IT guy came in my room the other day and asked me if I use tech a lot (the new iPads) – the librarian was in my room too – I was very honest and told them both, “NO. I want the kids to learn Spanish. There is NO WAY a person can learn to communicate if they are not communicating with another human. Machines can not give feedback. I want them to learn the language first — did your kids learn to speak by using a computer?” (they totally understand anyway!!! the IT guy spent his childhood in Peru – his dad worked for the US Embassy there – so he knows how to acquire L2. In fact, I invite him in a LOT to talk to the kids about growing up in Peru and the benefits of learning a L2.) When I speak to people in other depts they understand what I am saying about CI. 🙂
    But, good news: my colleagues are now understanding that we need to accept that they are not going to learn double object pronouns and all past tense conjugations in Level 2 – or WANT to!!! They are realizing that we are now competing (as an elective) with other electives and the VoTech school for students – so we NEED to make our classes FUN and COMPELLING — we just spent our whole budget on TPRS novels and ancillaries!!!! 🙂
    This is working because one of them is now taking Italian (and her teacher also teaches high school and it sounds like he is a CI teacher! and the other is re-learning Korean, by hosting “Korean Club” – the kids found out he taught English in Korea for a year – about 15 years ago!!! and they want to learn Korean — so he’s learning it with them after school).
    BUT……..ACTFL still says that kids need to be outputting, even at the low levels, so I am trying to keep my mouth shut as they want to come up with “common assessments” of the 4 skills. Which brings me back to Performance Based Assessments.
    I dread them — it’s like the testing machine that Pearson is driving in the Core subjects…..takes up WAAAAAY too much time from just “being in L2”.
    Like everyone else, I am keeping my mouth shut in my dept. meetings. The tide IS already turning though ….. good things come to those who wait.
    For those of you who have known me the past 3 years — you know this is GOOD news! 🙂
    I am teaching only Level 2 this semester. For the first 3 weeks I “reviewed” by reading an easy Level 1 book, but spoke a LOT of Spanish. No one complained. When we return from vacay on Monday, I will jump into CI full force – we’ll be reading Agentes Secretos — and I am looking forward to being a CI teacher from now on!!!
    Because….you know what I notice about all my students? The ones who I have had before are following along just fine with what I am saying; the students who had someone else for Level 1, are trying but at least they are giving me the clarification signal. CI works! I need to trust in it – instead of listening to the doubters.
    Thank you for this forum!!!

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