Staying in the TL

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6 thoughts on “Staying in the TL”

  1. I get that. I have a tendency to think in idealized terms, and when I got through wrapping my mind around Krashen and fully appreciating the nuclear material found in his work, I tended to share my ideas in terms of what was possible. It was only natural to do that because I was constantly focused on the ideal, what I termed over ten years ago the Pure Land. But real me, the actual teacher in the classroom, has always seemed to lag behind what I knew was possible, as is also to be expected because all of us have embraced this new thoroughbred way of teaching face a huge learning curve. No wonder so many traditionally trained teachers run like hell when they see this stuff. It’s a monster but once you befriend the monster you will believe wonderfully in the entire concept of being a language teacher. You can imagine how hard it was for me (and David and Sabrina and anyone else who has done this) to post videos on this site. Yikes! I look at myself on video teaching and I can just say that that is not what I know is possible. One thing is certain for all of us, we will never ever be bored in our careers as we constantly strive to get better at this stuff.

  2. I look forward to diving into Krashen’s literature sometime soon. Meanwhile, dialoguing with you guys here has a special significance. We are making meaning here on the blog by sharing and discussing common points of doubt. We articulate and refine our questions and inquiries based on the feedback we receive from our peers.

    To borrow a phrase from the director of the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University (where I did my MSEd), Sophie Hartounian-Gordon, this is the kind of dialogue that reflects the message expressed in Plato’s allegory of the cave: how education and learning involves a turning of the soul. Sophie had us exploring this allegory as we read Plato’s “The Republic” in the MSEd program there at Northwestern. I certainly feel like my soul is turning here.

    But yes, I see how it takes courage to open up like you say you and David and Sabrina have done (I’ll have to look at David’s video… I’ve seen yours and Sabrina’s). I think about how these characteristics of being courageous, open-minded, conscientious, and willing to expose vulnerabilities, are wonderful characteristics to display in our classrooms as we build nurturing classroom environments.

  3. And to speak to that last point, when our students know that this is something we are working on, trying to get better at, they all support us in a way that one could not find in a traditional classroom. Thank you for that comment, Sean.

  4. I can relate! I would also love to hear more about those who have forged great relationships with their students without use of English to do so. How are they doing it? Do they have a certain demeanor and persona or charisma that helps?

    My biggest use of English, though, is classroom management. Redirecting kids and giving instructions. I have found that some classes tune out the TL but if I say those things in English, it seems to wake them up or something. Are there people who can share about what they do with this?

  5. One of the ways I forge relationships with my students in Spanish is by showing them that I am a human being too. I showed them a short power point at the beginning of the year so they know about my family and my dog. They love that I have a dog. He shows up as a parallel character in some stories. Then we put students’ dogs into the stories, etc.

    When I’m not feeling well (rarely) I tell them, touching my throat to show a sore throat. They all said Oh no!

    I’m lucky to have teenage daughters, so I know about things teens say. Like YOLO (You only live once), and they’re amazed I know about yolo, so we get that into our conversations. This really helps, knowing about singers and celebrities, etc. It’s easy to find out about them by asking them to write down who their celebrities are.

    I have weird superstitions that I exaggerate in class, like saying “Rabbit, rabbit” on the first of the month. We act that out big time on the first day of the month. We laugh together a lot.

    Gesturing is a big deal in my class, especially “boring” (twist index finger next to nostril), “lie” (circle index and thumb and put it around your nose, indicating Pinocchio), “phew” (wipe the sweat off your brow) etc.

    I play the innocent, naive teacher and ask them to educate me about stuff, then pretend to be shocked or surprised. Really?? No way!!

    I don’t let students speak English unless they ask my permission first, and by now I raise two fingers indicating they can speak only 2 words. Sometimes I ask for permission to speak English and they raise 2fingers, and we all laugh.

    “Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” That’s my second motto, my first is, “Todo es posible en la clase de español,” obvio.
    Ben

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