Jen sent this:
Ok, so I just had the kids do a bit of reflection today. Two out of ten students in a level 2 French class actually requested some “book learning.” I don’t have their responses handy or I’d quote them, but I’ll paraphrase below. My question is how do I respond to these requests. When I do feedback like this, I usually respond to each person in an individual conference so that we can talk face to face. I just have never had a specific request to use the textbook. I sure as hell am NOT going to use a textbook, but maybe they can if they want to at home?
Here is pretty much what they said:
1) I feel like we’ve been doing/reading the same kinds of stories. We don’t know very many words. We use the same words over and over. We need to do some more “book learning” for awhile to learn some new vocabulary and then we can go back to the “non-book learning.”
This is from a 4% er high achieving pusher. She is a quick processor on paper (reading) but not out loud. I noticed a big improvement in her listening skills from last year to this year, in that last year she had that deer in the headlights look if you asked her a question and she couldn’t read something off a paper. Now she’s confident and can respond to any question I ask. With nothing on the desk! I can see her point with regards to the reading, so my instinct is to guide her toward more complex/challenging reading for her free reading time. I know that the in-class PQA and stories is EXACTLY what she (and everyone else) needs, so I’m not willing to budge on that. I know I need to slow down even more, so that I can add in those little complexities to engage the faster processors (but she really is not one of the faster ones out loud, only on paper, so she may have a slightly warped perspective on the whole thing). I have another girl (who is a delight and not cranky and uptight like this one 😉 who is a freaking natural polyglot…so I am already aware that I can begin to engage her on another level. Kids are funny. This polyglot girl (who is also in my level 4 Spanish, so we go back to back first en francais and then as we walk upstairs speaking French we switch into Frespanyol, and then walk into the Spanish room speaking Spanish FUNNNN!!!!)… would never think of complaining; instead she’s more likely to try to write a poem or learn a song and sing it out loud. Love love love her energy!
My response: what I would do with that child’s request is say no. That’s it. I wouldn’t waste my time. That knocks the ball back into her court. So she goes and tells mom or dad (probably mom) that you said no and then mom or dad has to make a decision – do they take this to the principal or not? That is what you want. Now you can go in to that meeting (I have had a few good ones and they were so much fun, no fear at all!) and smilingly explain the shift to the three modes and 90% use, and to act shocked when you say to mom, “Oh, I’m sorry! I thought you were aware of the changes that have happened in the past ten years! We certainly need to do a better job of getting the word out about what the national parent organization, ACTFL, has done in terms of (name of school’s) use of the book.” And then smile at your principal and playfully suggest that next year before school starts she give your department some time to plan how they can do a better job of communicating the remarkable new things that have happened in WL education so that parents who are so strongly engaged in their kids’ educations can know how we at (name of school) are keeping up with them and aren’t they happening fast!