Here are three comments from a recent thread here:
First comment by Eric Herman:
The high school program I send my kids to is SUPER traditional. 4 years of “mastery” of a textbook syllabus. Disgustingly traditional. Painful. Embarrassing.
I have proposed to my principal that I rename my class and he is supportive! My report to him on our last HS & Elementary teacher meeting revealed classroom practices that even my principal called “disturbing.” I teach a different subject. I don’t want to get confused to be teaching the same subject as the high school, so no one thinks I’m trying to prepare kids for the high school. I don’t want any association with that.
Possible names for my class: “Spanish Proficiency,” “Spanish Fluency,” “Spanish for Acquisition,” “Spanish to communicate messages.”
The high school teaches “Spanish Grammar & Culture,” “Spanish for Learning,” “Spanish to communicate grammatical forms.”
The tasks in the high school class, the homework, the tests. . . they all are designed such that communicating grammar is the name of the game. Not proficiency/fluency-based in the least. If they were to test grammar under “proficiency & fluency-based conditions” they’d see very little “mastery” which they claim they get.
This relates to Alisa’s suggestion of breaking away from ACTFL and their 5C standards, performance guidelines, etc. I want to develop in the learner an internalized system of language knowledge that leads to success under proficiency and fluency conditions. Why not rename, or qualify (FL “proficiency”), our courses?
Second comment by Michael Coxon:
I think, once again, you are bringing up an important point. Making distinctions like the name of a program is significant. My initial reaction is that I like Spanish for acquisition. The definition of proficiency has been corrupted by ACTFL.
I am going to chew on this but I think it is important. Blaine made the distinction when he compared teaching for mastery versus teaching for presentation. Looks like you are trying to be more concise….
Third comment by Alisa Shapiro:
The general public (incl many HS WL teachers ?) won’t know the difference between learning and acquisition, so I like ‘Spanish for [Understanding and/or] Communication’ (at least for now – lemmee noodle on it too).
I think you’d get some great suggestions from Ben’s blog community. I totally get your need to dissociate from the HS program.
Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could