Language of the Trees – 7

Amanda Baumann is our elementary French instructor here at the American Embassy School and very much aware of group dynamics in a classroom. She is the one who told me about David Kohl’s work The Open Classroom, a revolutionary book that describes everything I am trying to do in my TPRS classroom written way back in 1970, back when Krashen was just getting started.

Anyway, Amanda was observing my class one day in winter (isn’t it nice to say that winter is over?) and she said after a good class, “You can’t capture this stuff on video.” I felt good to hear that, but at the same time it made me reflect that our attempts to get good work done here via videotape – one of the original purposes of this blog – may not work as well as we want because of what she pointed out.

That said, I have lots of videotape from my year here in India and will try from time to post some of it in spite of the limitations of the medium. If it’s all we have, it’s all we have. Below is a posting that I recently published here but made private for awhile. I think I will go look at it again, with this new awareness from Zach in my mind about how what I am really trying to do in my TPRS classes is build that web of connectedness that we talk about in the grove of trees on a moonlit night in summer.

I don’t know if one can see it in the videos, but I can see that in my entire career as a teacher, and I can see this for the first time now, I have been trying to figure out ways to get their eyes off of me and more on each other, but in the language and with respect withe me functioning merely a facilitator of a growing verbal skill set on their part with each class.

That’s all this stuff is for me now, building communication in the TL, and my definition of communication is awareness of each other. Whether I succeed in doing that or not in these videos, I don’t know. I teach pretty much just like Zach, and the things I see in his classroom I see in my classroom. I am not expert, I have a long way to go in this work, but maybe with this new “language of the trees”/”grove of trees” leitmotif here on the blog, I can find my way to a deeper view of what communication is – since it is the biggest national standard in WL, I should do that as a professional responsibilty – communication as awareness.

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2 thoughts on “Language of the Trees – 7”

  1. I got excited when I saw another “Language of Trees” post but I actually verbalized a YEEEAAAAHHHH! When I saw Kandy the Korn.

  2. In the first minutes of the first clip, Ben’s ability to turn “au-dessus” into a chance to clarify and empower students to make choices is remarkable. Using mistakes as learning opportunities is the pinnacle of formative assessment.

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