Super Long Rant on What is Going On Now

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23 thoughts on “Super Long Rant on What is Going On Now”

  1. So I just want to say that the beauty of this system is not that it’s targeted or not but that by not worrying about stuff like that we can really get to the heart of communication with our kids. So in my 3rd period first year class we made a character: he is a microscopic stapler that has rainbow polar dots. Haha how cute but when we got to is it nice or mean the kids all agreed he wasn’t nice in fact he’s a bully. I asked how it felt and they decided he was nervous. So I asked why the kids decided he only had one staple left so he was nervous because and so he takes it out on everyone but at the same time feels worried because if he ever actually hurt anyone he would lose his staple and then he would feel empty inside. That is a complex issue. And on the surface is just funny and silly, but if you really look at it he is a bully that feels inadequate and acts out in impotent rage. That’s serious! And I would never get that from TPRS. It’s all about superficial. What I like is that we were having fun and being silly but we touched on something very serious at the same time. And that is amazing!

    1. Time and time again the invisibles prove that students can open their hearts up when making suggestions. In PQA type of stories, which needs to get revisited in my opinion, students are reluctant and it requires much trust-building. The invisibles just need a few brave souls and were off! My only gripe if that there needs to be more systems of CI for teachers teaching multiple levels. The invisibles could work continuously in a four year program I imagine but I cannot imagine that they can be a “bread and butter” for 4 years straight. Ben, is there anyone out there doing this?

        1. I see that student interest (at least at my school) is towards culture. This happens in an NT way. Since students have such buy-in due the invisibles, special and other activities, they feel comfortable about suggesting a topic like “French pastries” or The traditional “French Breakfast” Of course, an idea I have is that right when you feel that your own interest is waning, you spin off a story and deliver the first sentence. “Classe, Brian est allé à Paris et il buvait un café.” But there was a problem!

          I feel my wheels turning but I don’t have a plan yet.

        1. I’m working with Tina (along with many other people) in developing units to support more “academic” language. I call them nonfiction units. Tina is guiding us through the steps on how to do a Project Glad unit and we’re going to share them in a spot for people to access.

          I asked my 8th graders (Ben’s former students who created the Invisibles) what topic they’d like to learn about. Several of them wanted history, in particular the French Revolution. So that’s what I’m working on. I think it’ll be wonderful to be able to do fiction and nonfiction throughout the year. I think the students will need a break from the heavier stuff so we’ll go back and forth – at least that’s my plan.

          1. YES I am taking an Invisibles break with French Two right now. We will get back to the geography or move on to another topic. I cannot believe my HS counterpart is wasting three years of the IB feeder program looking at the fucking textbook every day for years 1-3. What a loser.

          2. Tina you used “counterpart”. Let’s look at the definition.

            Counterpart: coun·ter·part
            a person or thing holding a position or performing a function that corresponds to that of another person or thing in another place.
            “the minister held talks with his French counterpart”
            synonyms: equivalent, opposite number, peer, equal, coequal, parallel, complement, analog, match, twin, mate, fellow, brother, sister; formalcompeer
            “the minister held talks with his French counterpart”

            The person sounds like no equal or peer. Looking at the textbook for 1-3 years is no match for what you do.

          3. Aww thank you. My “colleague” then. He thinks he is so superior to me. He thinks he has won in that he managed to convince the principal to put my French kids BACK INTO FRENCH 1-2! But he does not know that I am playing the Long Game. At Back to School Night I had the French 2 parents nodding and almost leaping up saying Amen! talking about how it would be different if their kids did not need to learn grammar to keep up with the textbook users at Lincoln. I told them I know of the situation and assured then that my principal is adamant that we develop a common placement test based on proficiency. I asked, “Any questions?” And a mom asked, “Why can’t you teach ALL the subjects?” I said, “Well, up through sixth grade, I can, and after that it’s pretty much only math and science that I can’t! LOL!” While my colleague at the high school is a one-trick pony, his trick being not too fun to watch for THREE YEARS OF TEXTBOOK USE, I am well-rounded and much more experienced an far more educated and way more skilled. Gawd. I am also as patient as all get-out and playing the Long Game.

          4. The Long Game. We are all playing it. In 20 years it will be the Short Game. And 20 years after that we will have achieved our goal of making a difference as a teacher, of finding a career that meant something. The work we are doing even when we fail is important. We need never despair.

          1. Ummm, Tina — *I* want to see *you* in action with high school kids! I love you with the younger ones, but I would love to see what you would do with my students!

            Yes, my boss is having me do French 1-4 again this year…


            –Leigh Anne, who totally pisses off her non-TPRS colleagues on a regular basis…just by existing

          2. …and who thereby remains in Ben’s list of Favorite CI Teachers in the World just by existing (because, just by existing, Ben also has earned his own big group of public haters bc of the non-targeted thing, whom he would like to hug every day because they are so cute and lovable….

            Tina has no small share of haters either. Some of them are well known TPRS trainers. But we won’t go there.

      1. In Ripon WI I taught all day in Marta Yedinak’s middle and high school classes. One class she told me was very non-participatory. This class would have tanked with PQA. But with the Invisibles they eventually got into it. I mean who wouldn’t get into the story of a slice of pizza whose seven girlfriends got eaten one by one as he worked his way through the survivors, and then the man who ate all the slices came back vomited all the girlfriends up and they fought each other for his hand? It ended up being a good experience and a testament to the power of the Invisibles. Because I sweated a tiny bullet or two when I noticed how sullen they seemed at first.

        1. This is an important video. It shows how the Invisibles can draw even withdrawn kids in. It is master-level teaching. Tina I hope you can get this video out in as many locations as possible. It can give teachers hope.

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