A parent of one of my best students, although she would not be in a grammar class, was told by a previous teacher that her daughter “has neither the discipline nor the patience to learn a second language. Sophie at that time was five years old.

That’s an extreme form of what we’re up against. But do not doubt for one moment that the general tenor of the above vicious statement is alive and well in many of the colleagues in our buildings today and will be for some time, until their grammar ships get loaded up with so much negativity that they sink.



7 thoughts on “Sophie”

  1. The incredibly playing-field-leveling strategies are effective for gifted and IEP students alike. Many of us in elementary saw an upswing in engagement the second we shifted to T/CI. Kids who tuned out the minute we spouted on about the geography of South America are suddenly playing Brandon Brown’s mom with gusto.
    If the kid learned English (or his native language) – that’s proof he oughtta be in our class.

  2. “If the kid learned English (or his native language) – that’s proof he oughtta be in our class.”

    That is pretty much what I say to everyone, students and colleagues alike. My Dad worked with a student who had some sort of IEP (this was at the college level) back in the 80s. There was some big “thing” with this kid or his parents claiming that he was “second language disabled” or something. Well, good ole Dad worked with him one on one and golly, he acquired Spanish! I don’t remember the details other than Dad saying “You speak one language so you already went through this process. There’s no reason you can’t learn another.”

  3. I believe there are a lot of teachers out there who have “neither the discipline nor the patience” to help children acquire a second language. It’s so easy to say “memorize the irregular verbs and the sixty vocabulary words and the grammar rules” and then blame the students for not being able to comunicate.

    1. Well said. Turn it back on the teachers.
      Once I was presenting on how to accommodate ESL students in mainstream classrooms and I was interrupted with “Why should I have to baby them? Why are they even here?” “Federal law” was my response but I was thinking: “How are you an educator?”
      Bigots with “neither the discipline nor the patience” to help children- as Judy says- don’t deserve the children in their rooms.

  4. Your response that it is the law, Claire, was the best one you could have made and you chose it. What is so nauseating to me after all these years is that these folks really do think that they are educators. That is not what I think an educator is! But the hypocrisy is that I did that same thing for 24 years because I didn’t have a better way. So you did so right not to blame that person. This really is a time on this blog of laying down the swords and turning them into plowshares. Thank you for relating that incident. It is played out in thousands of ways every day in our schools and many of the teachers here who are more quiet suffer as a result of those conversations, but needlessly. By continuing to use CI, we become, incrementally, which is how all real lasting change happens, part of the solution without having to slash and burn people to do that. We bow to our oppressors, offering the other cheek, (and let there be no doubt that people like the one you describe above are oppressing children – they are just not aware of it). We create change by teaching better in our classrooms. That has been a very hard one for me to get, since I have spent my life slashing and burning, but I’m getting it thanks to the people on this blog who have been laying it all out here for so long now.

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