Angels Pushing Us From Behind – 2

Making Krashen’s ideas come to life fully in our classrooms cannot actually be described to someone in words, one has to experience it. This is especially true if a teacher is predisposed to looking for faults, and not strengths, in things that they do not fully grasp. They only see the toenail of the elephant.

Coming from a place of control in teaching causes high blood pressure and physical ailments because we are in one of the most difficult and stressful of all professions. Why not make things easier? Trying to develop self-initiated plans of instruction simply doesn’t work, never worked, and never will work. The kids just turn off and put up the screen savers. Even the kids who look interested and get A’s aren’t interested.

That is what is so unique and difficult to grasp about this work. It is not about self initiated planning, not about “taking the ball and running with it” like a football player crashing through the line. It is just about letting angels push us from behind.

All we have to do is to allow the questioning process and the kids to function as part of an overall process, and not apart from it. We don’t create situations in which the kids are forced to be reactive to us, but, instead, we allow them to be interactive with us. It means feeling and allowing the method to work without meddling with them. Angels pushing from behind.

What makes the good stories happen in a classroom is not about us, but about group dynamics. We simply dance together in the beautiful dance of unconscious acquisition. This work is about letting go, and about co-creating language.

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4 thoughts on “Angels Pushing Us From Behind – 2”

  1. “What makes the good stories happen in a classroom is not about us, but about group dynamics. We simply dance together in the beautiful dance of unconscious acquisition. This work is about letting go, and co-creating language.”

    Bumper sticker? tattoo? fortune in a fortune cookie? Cootie Catcher?

  2. “This work is about letting go, and about co-creating language.”

    I feel that this is a very important statement. We are letting go of the habit of trying to control everything, which in itself is a wonderful life skill, and also letting our students into a safe space. Isn’t that a mark of respect, inviting them and their ideas to play just as an important role as the target language?

  3. “We don’t create situations in which the kids are forced to be reactive to us, but, instead, we allow them to be interactive with us.”

    A much more eloquent way to say, “I don’t force output.”

    It also makes me think of an article I just read called Autonomy: The Aim of Education Envisioned by Piaget, written by Constance Kamii in 1984. There, Ms. Kamii calls for educators to break from the traditional way in order to help students develop their moral autonomy. That is, for students to think logically and critically, then to act autonomously, or rather, to act on what they know to be right even if their boss at the office (for example) says it is wrong.

    What you say above, Ben, helps our students in the FL classroom become autonomous. We draw them into the classroom community where they then cooperate in creating meaning, meanwhile, acquire the language. The degree of logical and critical decision making happening among our students as they choose to interact with us is off the charts in comparison to those in traditional classrooms. We are helping our students become morally autonomous.

    In a sense, as we refer often to Krashen in our practice, so too may we refer to Piaget. (I know you already do 🙂

  4. This is important as i laid the hammer down this week on a chatty and disrepectful class…. it’s really only 4 students but there are 18 students there so it makes a difference. I had a grammar quiz for them to complete if they were not going to be focused on the messages. They have turned any questions into a long tangents about themselves in L1. Only one student continues but he needs healing and is in a bad situation. All i can do is to be consistent with him and remind him to be aware of his actions because trust is not there.

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