Thematic Grouping



14 thoughts on “Thematic Grouping”

  1. Notice that the research they quote is twenty years or older and ignores Krashen and also ignores what’s best for kids, which is our main goal. We need to write a book called “Meeting the Students Where They Actually Are” in which we address how we should try to teach for spontaneous, authentic output on the students’ internal timelines, not some arbitrary date in the teachers’ plan books where a few white privileged students are supposed to stutter through a memorized presentation on some topic with which they have no personal investment. This is a vestige of white upper-middle-class privilege that we are fighting against as we want WL education to become more equitable. We know that this puts us at odds with ACTFL and we are OK with that.

  2. Only that nobody actually does that process. That’s why the textbooks are actually coming with ready-made documents that teachers are printing out and pasting into the documents. Why backwards plan a unit on daily routine when the textbook already has that unit created. It’s so ridiculous.
    The other thing I know of is an affluent public school in the area PAID Paul Sandrock to come in and write that style curriculum for them, which essentially means they replaced the textbook with their own textbook.
    I’m really glad I bought Cameron’s book!

    1. In my state there are a lot of well-meaning teachers who are promoting the backwards planning and integrated performance assessments. The slogan is that it is a lot of work but is so rewarding. A few colleagues just returned from a two-day workshop. There were told that they did not need to reinvent the wheel. Borrow from what others have done.
      A national presenter told us two years ago that for all of the talk about the curricula being created, nobody actually uses them, even the districts that created them.
      The difference with all of the work (that is not just Tina’s opinion–it is what the promoters are saying) and CI approaches is that you walk away from comprehension-based workshops with something you can take into your classes. One of my colleagues who went to the two-day said she ended up with nothing she could use in class. Two colleagues who had just done a one-day comprehension-based training have been talking for a week about how they are providing CI in their classes.

  3. They can talk their IPA and proficiency game, but in the end it’s just a window dressing for the grammatical syllabus. Daily routine as an excuse to teach reflexives. Sports vocab as an excuse to teach the verb “jugar.” Food unit as an excuse to teach “pedir” and “merendar” (both stem changing verbs).

  4. My girlfriend lived half of her life in Mexico and half of her life in the USA. She has an MBA and has worked at law firms in the past.
    She made a good observation. She said in USA culture it’s important to have good paperwork- even if this paperwork as nothing to actually do with reality.
    That’s why many school administrators harp on the curriculum documents but are not really interested to see what actually goes on in the classroom. A teacher could be doing horribly and doing grammar-translation all day, but if they have a decent UBD document it’s all good.
    This is also why everyone needs a college degree even if they don’t really learn anything because they went through college drunk and then ended up getting a career where they don’t even use their degree.
    Right now I only have a bachelor’s degree (planning on studying for my Master’s in 2 years). Not to be proud or anything, but it doesn’t matter that I know more about SLA and language teaching methodology than most teachers with Master’s that I know. I don’t have the paperwork so I don’t get the $$$

  5. All kinds of hypocrisies, well pointed out, Greg. I especially like what you said here:
    …they can talk their IPA and proficiency game, but in the end it’s just a window dressing for the grammatical syllabus. Daily routine as an excuse to teach reflexives. Sports vocab as an excuse to teach the verb “jugar.” Food unit as an excuse to teach “pedir” and “merendar” (both stem changing verbs)….
    The thing is, since we now have Cameron’s document (I’ll write a short article here for those not familiar with it), what do we do? I certainly never want to have another online war like the one between us and the ACTFL FL Educators list in 2015. I guess we just continue to reach one teacher at a time.

    1. I think that having a good presence and folding in teachers is a good plan. Tina is doing an awesome job with her facebook group and youtube channel despite some haters hating. That’s okay because Tina is doing her thing. I think that more and more teachers are hearing about this “CI” or “Teaching with CI” via the internet etc… It is definitely to me more grassroots than what ACTFL says or what some districts expect. Teachers teaching with CI should not have to completely rely on leaders, admin or district heads.
      It’s scary for me now since I may be rocking the boat quietly and next year it is very likely that I will be chair of my department. I definitely do not want to force CI on anyone BUT neither should anyone force an eclectic or output based approach on me.

        1. Steven, I am in the same situation, we should correspond. I have some ideas. Basically you need to focus on the new hires….to find people already into TPRS/CI or people that are open-minded. Make sure that some admin communicates with them that they are being hired to do CI and it won’t be easy. They need to know the expectations from day one.
          For the teachers already there focus on negotiating to get them off of the textbook (if your department or your students are required to buy one) and to stop testing for grammatical accuracy. Then try to get them to try doing a novel in class.
          It’s definitely not easy! Working with people who are hired to do CI is much different that working with people who came to it on their own. Expect to have to spoon feed info and spell everything out.

          1. Maybe you could collect notes Greg or Steve and write “A Guide to Flipping Your WL Department”. Subtitle: “Helping New Hires to Align with the Research and the Standards”. Drew Hiben could get involved. Tho hard to write, such a book would be invaluable. Diana Noonan, who has has flipped an entire district, is another resource.

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