This article follows up the discussion found here:
So who gets Krashen more, Jody or Krashen? I vote for Jody. She knows everything he wrote, but has the added advantage of having lived it in the trenches for decades. That’s authority.
When Jody says to Ben that movie reading has been tested and found wanting, Ben mounts an unrelated defense about how hard school it is to survive in the teaching profession, especially now at the end of March. Was that lame?
Being Ben, I think that Ben actually has a very good point, even if it is unrelated to Jody’s. Really, the recent discussion about movie reading boils down to one issue and it’s a big one for us. Are we to try to do what is best for our students in terms of language gains, or in terms of our own mental health and theirs?
Krashen only knows what best results in language gains, he doesn’t know what goes on in American secondary schools. Not really. He is a data guy. Up to 80% of the kids in most American classrooms could give a rat’s ass about language gains. That must effect what we do with them.
I’m voting for the mental health side of this. I now have about ten strong statements from blog members – very strong teachers – made in the form of comments since that post (link above) in support of the calming effect of movie reading on kids. That’s enough for me. In schools, we must do what is best to maintain focus and order, not necessarily what results in the greatest gains for our kids academically. It’s just that way.
It’s about longevity and survival in the classroom. That is called making a career out of it as opposed to teaching fangly for a few years and then becoming one of the 50% who quit in the first three years (statistic applies to urban schools only).
TPRS/CI has given us a tremendous leg up on the profession. Everyone we present to (Annick and I presented to our school’s math department yesterday on Krashen and CI) glares at us, outwardly or inwardly (half of the math teachers who attended our session glared outwardly), yet we are right.
So, we have the method. Now, we need to have and implement an emotional raft so that we can cross the waters of the Ocean of Insanity (teaching) by bobbing up and down on top of the waves, which can reach 40 feet in a strong spring storm, and reach our destination (the City of Peace) at the end of a wonderful career with many life lessons learned on the level only a teacher can learn them about compassion, forebearance, and right adjustment to others (loving those whom we cannot love).
Krashen only gets it in his head. We have to get it in our hearts if we are to survive. So, when I say to read to them in movie reading with love, I mean it. I personally don’t give a rat’s ass about their gains, just like they don’t give a rat’s ass about gains, if it means that I am going to burn out in the pursuit of same.
If we do just that, read to them with love as per that post from a week ago, we can express a kind of mastery in teaching that few achieve, and we can have long and rewarding careers. What a big learning I got from you, Jody. Thank you for precipitating such strong discussion in our group. We all benefit greatly from each other and that makes me feel that we are accomplishing exactly what I set out to in making the blog private.
It’s not about the gains. It’s about sailing over calm waters on a crystal sea over many decades, as we float surely and safely amidst the most violent storms. We have the method, now we have to align our hearts with what teaching is really about, which is definitely not about learning the most stuff.
When master teacher Paul Kirschling does projects to finish the year, and when other master storytellers like Anne Matava stop stories in March to do other things, and when I spend a lot of time working on writing for a few weeks every spring even though I know that it doen’t help them a bit at level 1 (way too early for output), I do it because they like it and enjoy it. Same with dictée. Teaching is about right adjustment to others, is it not?
Now all I have to do is feel that truth in my heart, and stick yet another dagger into the superachieving competition driven workaholic teacher that I used to be, much to the detriment of myself and my students. Peace is my goal.