My new instructional plan for the second semester is based on an idea that, in my view, soars in importance far above any other in CI instruction, that students must never be given the opportunity to behave in a CI classroom in a rude or antisocial way.
In the past, in my fervor to get as much CI instruction as possible going in my classroom, I very often opened up plenty of space during class for my students, either overtly or covertly, to a minor or sometimes major extent, to impose their will on the class proceedings.
It is the nature of CI instruction to depend for its success on open and good-willed back and forth participatory and reciprocal interaction between teacher and students. But this very open and good willed interaction by its nature tends to open up places for rudeness to happen in our CI classrooms, since kids in schools are rarely actually instructed in proper decorum. (Surly emotional distance is not proper decorum.)
We therefore need to change the CI instruction we do to include only CI activities that actively promote proper decorum in our classrooms. There is a difference. It’s not the quality of the CI in schools, but the extent to which the CI brings proper behavior into the classroom.
As stated in the first post in this series, CI can’t be presented in the form of a bullet train in a junk yard. The fact that the train is in a junk yard has to be addressed. And yes, many of our classrooms are junk yards (no blame, no insult, it has become that way so we need to accept that and move on). The train’s speed must be adjusted to its surroundings.
How to control general rudeness has been the topic of at least 1/3 of the posts here over recent years, so I know that I am not alone in trying to find a way this spring – when the problem is the worst – to serve up my students only CI that rests on a nice platter made of strong discipline. CI that invites chaos is what we want to get rid of here, and again, there is a difference.
Rudeness generated in the natural and innocent give and take of our storytelling classes is not a student’s right and must be eliminated. I hope that my new plan, the specifics of which I will present in my next post here tomorrow and are really nothing new to most of us who read here all the time, addresses and meets the problem vigorously.
3 thoughts on “Spring Is In The Air – 2”
It’s so good to have you back, Ben.
Glad to be back, Angie. I was proud of myself for taking off three full weeks. I haven’t been able to do that in nine years – not even close! I still thought about teaching a lot, laying on the beach or sitting in a cafe, but that’s not just my OCD about CI, it’s also because what we have here is so fricking interesting – a way to teach that is fun! However, now that I have the first 15 years of WOW! TPRS! under my belt, my goal is a more balanced life, and CI, as compelling as it is, should be only a part of it. I learn slowly, but God is guiding me with such wonderful patience, and I am so grateful for that, and for this group, for our rabid work together, for all the ups and downs (n’est-ce pas?), for all of it. I find myself already anxiously anticipating the summer conferences or, as Laurie called them, summer camp! The line up for iFLT (July 19th) is insane:
and Agen is going to be wonderful as well:
Ben wrote: “students must never be given the opportunity to behave in a CI classroom in a rude or antisocial way.”
thank you for writing this Ben!!! It has become my mantra this year. I haven’t made huge headway so far this year yet in terms of the kids acquiring a lot of Spanish, BUT….I have made huge headway in making my classes a place where proper decorum is the norm! It’s been a rough road this year – maybe it was because they were testing me …..the new teacher in the district….but, I refused to succumb to the rudeness! One student has been removed from my class, and another is on the verge if he doesn’t shape up!
I have been beating myself up lately feeling like I haven’t taught enough Spanish….but I have taught plenty of culture, and I have taught them to be respectful to each other and to me. (Please note …. I am teaching at Middle School and High School – which is tough too! but my high school classes are Spanish 1….kids repeating who had it in MS and just did not engage in MS, have low literacy, etc etc. So, I have pretty low-level kiddos at the HS level – in two of my classes. One of them is just upper classmen who haven’t had the opp to take it yet.) Regarding my Middle School kids, well, they will be middle schoolers — high energy and low interest in settling down and learning a language – while at the same time not knowing what is proper decorum in a classroom! 🙂
so, thank you for letting me know that I wasn’t wasting time! 🙂