This is just too good. Chicago – Greg and Alisa – is certainly in the house on this PLC! This is from Alisa:

As compelling and intriguing as Conspiracy Corner is, I think the ACTFL situation is worse – it’s not that there’s a conscious effort to repress the ‘real’ way students acquire; rather it’s utter ignorance and stubbornness – unwillingness to acknowledge that what most are doing now is hardly different than the ole’ audio lingual method. How can a WL teacher respectably ‘cover’ all 5 C’s and still get in enough real TL at the discourse level? How can a teacher be successful without knowing how to scaffold language for beginners? How can we expect acquisition if our corps don’t know what that looks like and how to get there? How can we hook and maintain interest, and attention to the message, if it’s dead on the page, and/or we don’t know how to manage the group?



5 thoughts on “ACTFL”

  1. This is a severe indictment and 100% on target. Paul Sandrock might know this if he wasn’t in bed with the book cartels. Makes me think of the NRA but I won’t go there.

  2. I just don’t even get how you are supposed to speak 90% in the target language when you have no CONTENT to talk about- just textbook themes and barely comprehensible authentic resources.

    I think that we really need to get involved in local language professional organizations. I know that Carrie Toth is president of ICTFL.

    A colleague and I will be speaking at CSTCFL in March (Central States). My talk will be called “Getting started with Input”.

    1. I wish you well in your presentation, Greg. Keep at it. They may need a CI CSTCFL president replacement some day.

      A good point about the paucity of content. I must say though, that the week long workshops that I attended on proficiency tended to look down on textbooks.

      Text book word lists are topical (10 fruits and 10 vegetables. In contrast, a thematic approach would be something like “paella.” The vocabulary used would be that necessary to explore aspects of paella like its history, its place as a cultural product/icon, its preparation, its variations, its ingredients and their source, etc. The vocab /grammar used are authentic because they are germane to learning about paella. Krashen talks about using language this away. Tina talked this summer about upper level use of language to learn content in the language (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency = CALP).

      But your point is well taken because a lot of translation of thematic is just same-old text book with a lot of faux-pro (ficiency) window-dressing (grading output for accuracy).

  3. My message to the Hebrew newbies considering T/CI is that it’s not really ‘comprehensible content’ until we build the Ss a bridge to it – (some kind of personalization – not nec PQA) and until we scaffold it (for comprehensibility).
    This need to have a set target text to backward plan from is a deeply cherished assumption by many legacy WL teachers….

    1. Alisa says “not necessarily PQA” and we need to listen to that. I would rephrase it even more strongly – we scaffold for comprehensibility with our students by building a bridge of trust to them and PQA doesn’t come close to doing that when compared to some of the bridge-building strategies we have built since the days when PQA had its heyday about ten years ago. PQA is a relic. Too uptight.

      Related: and if anybody wants to know why America is the greatest country on earth, here’s proof:

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