Steve Johnson

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13 thoughts on “Steve Johnson”

  1. Maybe we could start a category “CI in disguise” for activities which would look to an admin like output, but is really just another opportunity for input. I am thinking of things like dictatio, OWATS, student skits/videos (where they use a scriot/story they already know), etc.
    By doing ci in disguise periodically, we can really go under radar and avoid unnecessary conflicts.

    1. John, you know quite a bit about my environment last year, but an administrator criticized Dictation because I was talking most of the time. Idiot. Also, when I showed him Scrambled Eggs Dictation (where the kids grab a plastic egg and dictate the sentence to a partner), I was further criticized by not having more than one basket of eggs since the kids had to run back if they got the same one.
      This is just to say disguised activities aren’t always a home run
      .

  2. A parent told me yesterday that the high school teacher said to him: “Language learning is linear and like math.”
    That is what I’m up against. Dead opposite of what I believe. Confrontation wouldn’t get me anywhere, except do further harm to our relationship.

      1. Language learning as traditionally taught is linear (and a lot like math).
        Language acquisition is something else entirely; it is not linear, and it cannot be confined to boxes that we can then check off. Therefore, people who like to check off items in a list are uncomfortable with language acquisition. (Thanks to Susan Gross for the insight.)

        1. Yeah, but this teacher was using learning as synonymous with acquisition. Obviously, that distinction is not made by this teacher.
          And when I used to bring up research I was told that this teacher was a student of a Natural Approach class and that this teacher has probably worked with some of the researchers I was reading. . . it took some restraint to not respond to that one.

    1. Linear is one-dimensional. There is no up or down, just backward and forward. Language is multi-dimensional. The process of TPRS is one of connecting what we are doing with everything we have done. It is back and forth, up and down, in and out, here and there, hither and thither, front stage and back stage, shallow and deep.
      Linear language is plus and minus: (hablar minus -r = habla) plus (-s) = hablas = second person singular present indicative.
      TPRS and other CI move us into two-dimensional (times and divided by) and beyond to three-dimensional language and exponential growth.
      There is more than one way to teach math, though. It can be learned in a real-world, handle and see, concrete way. Your colleague, like most of us, probably learned math in a vacuum. (James Asher of TPR developed an alternative math method, by the way. I don’t know much about it, though.)

    2. I used to say that (language learning is like learning math… one rule at a time). I was right, in the sense that Robert explains. But I was dead wrong, because I had no idea of the learning/acquisition distinction that is quite apparent to me now. That distinction of dichotomy is so important for us to keep making.

  3. Excellent wisdom, Steve. I would add that “confrontational,” depending on one’s situation, could mean sharing an article or a quote, talking about what you are doing, bragging on your students, telling about the TPRS seminar, asking for an inclusive curriculum which allows for more than one way to do language in the class, or responding to a comment.

  4. “Learning language is like math”–before my introduction to TPRS 6 years ago, that is what I believed: that language learning is analytical, that not everyone is good at it, that you have to memorize a lot of rules.
    Some people still don’t know any differently. I have noticed, though, that most of my students (except for a few work-sheet loving females) instinctively feel with TPRS that they are learning (I’d say acquiring) instead of just memorizing. It feels more real world, less academic. Students know.

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