CI in the UK

I know that Bob Patrick has done work in England, and he works closely with John Piazza and David Maust and the other Latinists in our PLC to keep things together in the Latin world here in the U.S., but John in the article below is reaching out to the larger community with a question related to the situation in the UK, where nothing is happening:

Anyone teaching TPRS/CI in the UK?

A Latin colleague of ours, Keith Rogers, is really interested in implementing CI methods in UK Latin programs, but he is really a voice crying out in the wilderness. Not only is he up against a much more rigid and petrified (in all senses of the word) tradition of Latin pedagogy, which finds its culmination in the Victorian “grammar grind,”* but he recently informed me that he knows of none, not even one modern language program or teacher in his country who uses anything resembling CI. I was hoping that someone on this PLC might know of someone in the UK who is using CI methods, so that Keith can find some support, and feel a bit less alone.

John

*for anyone interested, Christopher Stray has written a book called “Grinders and Grammars” which describes the “no pain no gain” culture of suffering that was so prevalent in British Latin and Greek classes, and which still infects all language pedagogy over there and over here. It’s also a sad fact that many of the revolutionary teachers in the UK who sought to teach language in more comprehensible ways came of age just in time to lose their lives in WWI.

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3 thoughts on “CI in the UK”

  1. John, I don’t know of any teachers using TPRS in the UK, but I recently talked to a niece who works with improving Welsh education and the way Welsh is taught. She had never heard of TPRS, but was interested. They are pushing a more communicative approach than the traditional grammar methods. If you like, I could ask her to contact Keith.

    I think it’s good to bear in mind that in the UK there is an impressive industry built around selling material for teaching English around the world. Whereas Americans just kind of assumed that eventually everyone will speak English, the British made a business out of it. And they are implanted in countries around the world, teaching English. So it’s normal for them to resist the Americans showing up for the party, loudly proclaiming that they have this wonderful new method that everyone should be using. And guess what! You don’t need books or videos to do it! Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press are big global enterprises. They’re not about to look favorably on TPRS.

    Next month I’m presenting an hour long explanation of TPRS to the TESOL organization in Paris. I expect there will be a lot of British teachers present. I’ve given the presentation twice here locally and stirred up some interest. It’s so hard to fit everything in when I only have an hour. They want to see a demonstration, so I’ll be doing that in a local school. In Paris I’m thinking that I’ll give them links to see Ben on Youtube. Any other suggestions?

  2. Judy,

    I think Keith would appreciate connecting with anyone who is interested in CI, so please give your friend his email: k_d_rogers@hotmail.com. Perhaps it will be in the fringe efforts to preserve/revive the native british languages that CI will find a place, just as with Latin and Native American languages here in the US.

    Your comments about the British establishment ring all too true in light of our recent experience with a certain rep from Cambridge University Press who has successfully shut down much public sharing of teacher-created CI materials based on the Cambridge Latin Course. He has made sure he is present as a monitor in both online communities and official CLC workshops on both sides of the Atlantic, coming down on any unauthorized use of the copyrighted stories which is not in line with their “reading method.” He has also stated that Krashen is to blame for setting back language education in the UK for the past 20 years. I don’t know how you “set back” something that is already hundreds of years behind. In fact, to make Latin studies “medieval” would be an improvement over 18th century methods, from an acquisition standpoint.

    It now makes so much sense: we are up against Empire in its death throes.

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