Our book on classroom management continues to be written here on a day-to-day way in this, our seventh installment:
What Are Our Goals?
What are our classroom management goals? What might we imagine a well- functioning CI classroom to look and feel like, from our own point of view and that of our students?
If we start out our summer reflection here on how to best manage our classrooms next year by envisioning the results we want, we will then have a framework from which to move forward that we can trust. Imagining or visualizing what we would want our CI classroom to look and feel like is a feeling-toned goal, and is more important than teaching with some test in mind, which is not feeling-toned at all, but rather based in the robotic (thus mechanical, thus boring) life of the mind.
Do we want our classroom to be based in feelings of group happiness and community, or merely in thoughts about the way the language is built – grammar thoughts that keep the members of the group separated from each other and which prevent the natural and joyful appearance of community in our classrooms?
Asked in another way, the question might be: “Are we going to choose to teach in the way that we ourselves were taught – the “thinking” way, or in the way that the research indicates is best – the “feeling” way? The former puts us into an analysis of the structure of the language; the second keeps us mercifully away from that paralysis of the language by analysis and moves it nicely into the safe (for real acquisition to occur) area of how the language functions.
Thus, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that the most egregious barrier to our students’ meeting standards and acquiring real (authentic) proficiency is our own archaic and failed mindset that our students have to think about the language in order to acquire it. Why continue to do that?