John Piazza

I got this from John:
Ben,
I was hoping we could develop and/or refine previous discussions about arming ourselves with a description of the underlying theory about comprehensible and even compelling input for our colleagues, administrators and parents. With Krashen and CI, I feel like I am much better able to describe what we’re NOT doing here than what we ARE doing, and I want to make the discussion a positive one from the start, no matter who I am talking to. So just as I have seen a “script” for a parent meeting on this blog, I would really like to develop a “script” for back to school night, or language dep’t. meetings, or any other encounter in which we may be required to justify what we do.
John
Response A: my thinking is that one of us – maybe Bryce – has this all ready to go in written form and we should hope that they post it here. It’s a great request. Personally, I always cite the new Colorado State Standards (December 2009). Since we are really the only teachers truly aligning with them (!) I find it quite easy to verbally and in a kind way show how my approach aligns with standards. Classjump.com is where I put my parent welcome letters and course descriptions. It’s not updated so if you go there look for CO/Denver/East HS and you are welcome to cut and paste away. John you are in a part of San Francisco and in a school that is light years different in parent clientele from my own, so you may need to get a little more into this than I have to. Danielle in Memphis is working on this as it pertains to the curriculum she has to submit to her admins and Diana sent her a link that discusses how what we do fits into some of the older model frameworks that many of us are still required to work under (kind of like asking Michael Phelps to wear a strait jacket when swimming). I hope to have that link soon and will post it here when I get it. Danielle said it was real helpful to her. She is one of these teachers who are young but who won’t back down to school stipulations based on ideas born in the last century. Anne Matava is going through this with a new admininstration team in her building as well. So whatever we get on this topic, for now, let’s just include it in the same category as the existing one called “Parent Conferences”.
Response B: I think that most parents only want to find out how their kid is doing, and most colleagues don’t want to “go there” with discussion about Krashen, unless they are ESL teachers. Many foreign language teachers have never heard of Krashen. (One Spanish teacher had never heard of ACTFL and in one meeting asked me if ACTFL was like the ACT test. I answered no to that.) I think response B is the best. There are very few people who get what we do, far less than we think. So my final answer on this is don’t “go there” unless asked, and if it with a group of parents, make a private meeting for those aggressive questions from the ones who explain their “fluency” to having memorized verb conjugations and whose daughter’s B is beyond the ken and you better change. The term “don’t go there unless you have to” is my final answer. I wish I could find that comment from Laurie Clarcq a week ago where she talks about how to talk about TPRS to others.

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