Report from the Field – Jeanette Borich

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4 thoughts on “Report from the Field – Jeanette Borich”

  1. This question cuts to the core of what CI should be, which is that it should be a reflection of the individual personality of the teacher and therefore different in each CI classroom. This is especially true in my opinion when talking about those little kids who require such specialized CI instruction. The main thing is to keep sharing ideas w those great elementary school teachers. I have always felt that those little ones require a completely different instructional approach using CI than the older kids.

    You really say it all when you say this above:

    …what is important is good CI….

    And we will all do CI differently, because we are different people. In my books I have tried to lay out certain strategies that have worked for me but they were not meant to become a “method”. We all teach using CI in our own ways. We grab ideas from wherever we can while developing our own ideas so that there can be no one way to do this work. At conferences we can share the way we do it but we can’t tell others how they should do it.

    The cross pollination you describe above among teachers who are charged with what I think is the supreme challenge in language instruction, those “littles”, is what this work is about. It and we as individuals will continue to evolve and no standardized method will result. Hopefully! Because when it becomes a method people start making claims to be experts on it and people have to do it their way and it gets real ugly real fast. I hope nobody sees my new book as an attempt by me to standardize anything! I have just found something that rocks MY comprehensible input house and I want to share the love.

    Anyway, so that was my long answer to your question. CWB, indeed not one single strategy we have developed, is essential in this work. Rather, we experience a kind of happiness when we do this work and THAT is what should drive us forward according to the dictates of our own teaching hearts, with lots of cross pollination of ideas happening all along as CHANGE is the defining aspect of this work. (Change to a greater awareness of what we have within ourselves to share with our students, a continual and never ending unfoldment process to greater levels of happiness in our classrooms.)

    1. Thanks, Ben! This speaks directly to my question. I am so grateful to you and ALL of the other teachers who selflessly have helped me on my journey. That we should experience happiness as we teach language cannot be done with one single methodology, but we certainly can learn from each other as we try their innovations for ourselves so that all students can learn the joy of speaking a second language.

  2. Here is an example to support the point made above. I have found out that the Invisibles make great readings. The readings are so compelling that I now believe that in first-year classes, we should stop our forced marches, stop plowing through leveled readers, or novels, or knocking ourselves out trying to make whole-class novels comprehensible and fun, and simply read class-created texts based on the students’ stories.

    But this is just my view. Other teachers may find that making the novels the core of their instruction works best for them. That is the way it should be. We all get to share ideas and move forward professionally doing what works best for US.

  3. Hi Jeanette!

    I teach high school but I’ve worked a little with K-2 kids over the years. I imagine that targetless instruction has even greater gains for the little ones. I imagine the language sticks with them, for the lack of a better term, than with older kids who need more repetitions. I could be wrong 🙂

    Speaking of targetless instruction, I recommend the OWIs as the lead into the Invisibles Ben is talking about. Creating these OWI characters with the class has been highly compelling for students in my room.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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