I got this email from John. I read it on a gut level. What he did was what students of language who feel the same way should also do. No exceptions. This is very strong!
I just wanted to share an anecdote about an experience I had playing music which relates to our work:
Last year for St. Patrick’s day, a few of us teachers at my school got together and played a few Irish tunes in the cafeteria during lunch. None of us knew the songs very well, we met a few times to rehearse, and we just sort of flubbed our way through them, but we had fun, and everyone enjoyed it. This year, the music teacher (who was on sabbatical last year) is leading the effort. He is a 4%er and a very talented multi-instrumentalist. So he’s taking a few of us through some of the tunes we played last year, and he’s stopping and correcting us every time we miss a note. And he’s going to insist that we play every note of the complicated melodies exactly as written. All of a sudden, I simply cannot play songs I played last year. Affective filter in full effect! I just walked out of the room during the practice session. I refuse to be intimidated, and if I’m not having fun doing it, I have better things to do with my time. All of a sudden, I was in the shoes of 96% of the students in most language classrooms. At least I had the freedom to walk out.