We don’t need any more research. In academia that would be a frivolous comment, but as a classroom teacher in languages I support it. Yes, perhaps we need more research in other fields. No in languages; we already have enough research, at least for the foreseeable future. What we need to do is IMPLEMENT the research that we already have. It’s been very ignored, and we all know it. Why?
First, because of the textbook lobby that doesn’t want us to implement it for obvious reasons. They don’t want us to know that Krashen’s original work, Mason’s support, VanPatten’s as well and the others POINTS DIRECTLY TO THE FACT THAT comprehensible input is the key that unlocks the door of good language instruction. So why look around for other keys and other doors?
My 16 year old son took his driver’s test last week and passed with 23 of 25 questions. Why? It is because he wanted to drive and so he studied. He pays attention when I am coaching him as he drives on the road. It is because he wants to drive.
Over all the years as a teacher, I think that most of my students, perhaps as high as 90%, didn’t care to learn French all that much. It was a course someone told them that they had to take. Even in the upper levels, those college bounds had to take it because they “needed three years to impress colleges”.
No blame. They are children and don’t know about the cheeses, wines and meats of France. They don’t know about the artists and writers, the thinkers, the Loire Valley, the French soccer team. There is a lot they don’t know. It’s our job to make it interesting, but as long as keep flirting with the old ways of teaching languages, they will never appreciate what we hold so dear to our hearts.
But as I look back, I wonder. Maybe there was a profession I could have done where, when I worked my butt off to get better at it, my efforts would have been more appreciated.