rGAA – Robert’s Great Advice about Administrators

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



10 thoughts on “rGAA – Robert’s Great Advice about Administrators”

  1. Picking up on #4 above, when Krashen visited me last year, we had a kind of master class after the observations, and one up-and-coming AP sat in on that meeting. Ever since, in the hallways, via email, I send her articles. She reads them and we grab moments in the halls to talk about them. All of my fear of admins has evaporated due to this facing together in the same pedagogical direction with this person. You should try it. Share our articles with admins!

    I paste posts from the PLC and email them to this admin like once a week. She loves to read them. I have made it my business to take this future principal and district leader into all things Krashen. When else is she going to read about Krashen? She helps run a building with 2,000 students and 100 teachers in it. So I am helping her keep Krashen’s work in front of her. She could become an area superintendent of this district.

    And don’t think that those admins – we have one principal and four APs in our building – don’t talk to one another. So you just have one of them whom you are working on re-educating to CI and the others, swamped as usual, slowly get the message from this one AP you are working on, I mean working with, in little snippets at meetings and such, that your work in the foreign language classroom is different, that kids actually like it, that parents are happy because their little Fauntleroys are chattering in Latin at the dinner table, and our stock goes up.

    Look what is happening in St. Paul now with Grant, a middle school teacher, who has similarly attracted the attention of two supes in MN and they are now getting very active with CI up there. (Diana is in touch with them now and blowing them away – she and Annick are going up there soon to demo some Chinese.)

    Now, this admin I am in contact with in this Michael Fullan way, sharing ideas that are just fun to talk about in the hallway, is revamping the entire ELA program here to align with Krashen and she has started a war here, with established old guard ELA teachers in our building leaving for other schools.

    One could sum up Robert’s advice above in one sentence – the best defense is a good offense. We don’t know the effect of our mentioning CI to all we can, and so Robert’s advice above, solid and innovative as usual from our Chevalier de l’Ouest, becomes a possible avenue to real sharing with others of what we do. Hey, when it comes to sharing about CI with others, who is going to be doing that if not us?

    So keep on teaching, yes, but start sharing stuff with admins too! If you have a few parents who like what you do, share stuff with them. And Robert thank you again for all you have shared with us here. It’s a gold mine, what you have given us.

    Related: https://benslavic.com/blog/2013/02/28/michael-fullan-3/

  2. I would love to do this. I have done it over the years, but our admins are so swamped that 1) there is no hallway conversation 2) they are barely keeping their heads above water keeping the school afloat.

    We are in a massive transition. Next year we will have a new head of the high school. There are also at least 6 teachers leaving, so new ppl will come in. So lots of “new energy.” To me this is perfect timing, but since I am not the dept. head I feel like I need to be respectful of the hierarchy. I’ve certainly been guilty over the pst 2 years of plowing ahead with great force, energy, opinion about all of this, sending articles, etc. So I am trying to check myself. Not sure how to proceed in this situation.

    One of the biggest challenges for me is the overzealous attitude about technology in the classroom. We have had several meetings on this where we had to come up with some “digital portfolio” stuff. I wrote up some reasons why my class should get an exemption from this. It really makes me crazy because at our school the internet doesn’t even work, so here they are making us use all this online stuff but it ends up wasting literally half the class period trying to get stuff to work. NO THANK YOU.

    So…if anyone can suggest one “beginner Krashen” article I could share or reference to pass on, I would be grateful. Like, if you could only pick one article, which one would you share? Or what have you successfully shared w/ admin as a first step?

  3. Sabrina Sebban-Janczak


    Thank you for yet another set of great practical tools we can use to self-advocate in the pursuit of our noble cause. You and Ben and many others on this blog are our “doyens” and we appreciate tapping into your knowledge and wisdom.

    One thing I have noticed that works for me as far as self-advocating the CI cause is to leave my classroom door open. I’m not suggesting everyone does that (as it is a personal choice and not always possible anyway) but for me it has resulted in great promotion of what I do as well as the French language.

    So people whom I have never seen/heard of before know me and come to me and usually tell me how beautiful the French language is and that they really love hearing it as they walk in the hallway, b/c whenever they walk by my door you know French is heard.

    Yesterday I was shocked and angered as I was looking at an official IB document with “On language acquisition” in its title. It was a long document so I first went to the table of content and also at the bottom looking at the reference list and articles cited, looking for Krashen . WOW! His name was nowhere to be found.

    Anger and frustration first overwhelmed me, but then I was reminded that WE, at the grass-root level are the ONLY agent of change. The only way we can promote our cause and yield interest is to self-advocate one teacher, one department, one school, one district, one region, one state, one contry, one continent at a time.

    Let’s take a deep breath…..

    1. Robert Harrell

      I also teach with my door open for a number of reasons. In addition, I stand at my door between classes and greet students. Many students greet me in German even though they have never had a German class. My German students like belonging to “the club” and yell greetings to me in German across the campus. Of course, if a student greets me in another language I respond in that language. Recently a group of girls has been sitting in the hallway near my room before school, and I have begun greeting them in Russian (because one of them said something about that language). It’s all about building good will among students and faculty. The other day I was walking back after lunch talking to my principal, and a student whom I did not know stopped me to check on how to say “hello” in German.

      My advocacy is the result of conversations with Jason Fritze, who makes the point that if we do not promote our vision others will impose their vision on us.

      Also, thank you everyone for your kind words.

  4. I have a form I give any visitors. Side one explains the method (briefly); side 2 gives them jobs, which include their choice of

    A) rep counter: copy targets and count reps

    B) ojos (“eyes”): watch kids and point to their eyes and teacher if they are looking away

    C) TL checker: count the # of times (other than pop-ups or management) per class that teacher is out of TL.

    I also have an open-door policy: anyone can come in anytime to watch any lesson.

    I’ll send Ben my obs sheet.

  5. Corrado Russo

    Perhaps it would be worthwhile to put together a “mini course” or even just a bibliography on Krashen and CI so we would all have the necessary research in one place when we need to crush unfriendly admins, colleagues, etc. with it. I know this sort of thing already exists in some form or other; I don’t remember just now where it was on the Internet that I saw it.

  6. I’m going to try to do that in a limited way on these planned videos I am making for beginners. But I am only going to talk about the hypotheses that have really conked me in the head, the big boys like Natural Order and the super big nasty ass Input hypothesis.

  7. yeah, this would be good….I will be experiencing a major change next year – either I will be the only Spanish teacher, or someone will be brought in half time; but in either case, I need to educate my new superintendent and principal about language acquisition and how I use literacy (BIG push next year for literacy in my district – seriously, this is NEW for our district and thanks to this blog, I have already been doing it in my Spanish classes!!) The superintendent is “finding” all kinds of money for books and e-readers (but not keeping a Spanish teacher to keep our classes a manageable size to promote literacy gains! ah, I digress….) so yesterday I was telling my dept. head how blown away I am at my Level 1A’s ….this class consists of only 7 boys (that’s IT) 3 freshmen, 3 sophomores, and 1 junior. They have only had Spanish this semester – since the end of January, and I started them reading “Berto y sus buenas ideas” on Monday. The past two days I left them “alone” to read it in a circle with each other and negotiate meaning with each other. I sat at my desk pretending to be working, but listening the whole time, and would every once in while correct some really bad pronunciation, and give a translation that they were stumped on, but they were doing it on their own!!! and LOVING it!!!! they were laughing, they were questioning why Berto was doing certain things (ok, in English, but they were comprehending the text to such a degree that it sparked conversation among them — GREAT!!!) In fact when they came in yesterday, they begged to read again! My dept head told me that whenever he comes in to “watch” them for me (like if I have to run to bathroom at beginning of block, or go pick up copies) they are always gathered over by my children’s books “library” looking through them and discussing them!!!
    So, we both decided yesterday that if the Super can find all this money for books to build English literacy, then we need to meet with him over the summer and educate him on SLA and ask for money to build our Spanish and French libraries!!!

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben