March of the Robots

I often wonder why so many teachers don’t want to “go there” with comprehensible input. One reason is that when we decide to use comprehensible input as the foundation of all our work in language education, we must then activate the social/emotional piece in our instruction. We can’t do CI without that piece.

But most language educators never experienced that when they were learning the language they teach. They saw language and language instruction as a machine, contrasting sharply with the idea that language is a reciprocal and participatory (read “human”) activity.

The robotic teachers of language, those who view language as a mere machine, are now giving way to teachers who bring more than mere analysis of language to their students. People count more in this new model. It’s a shift and a big one.

In the new model, language is seen for what it is – a device to knit people together in a social fabric. Language and community depend on each other. In the new model, the concept of the classroom as a community plays big.

Thus, in the foreign language classrooms of the 21st century we are moving away from relying on the intellect and dry, robotic classroom experiences toward intuitive, rich and human sharing, where joy can be found for the teacher and students willing to work for it. The robots are marching out.

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2 thoughts on “March of the Robots”

  1. I feel like my students at this time of year are either a) craving human contact because that’s what I’ve been giving them and they like it and want more or b) REALLY want me to stop trying so hard and just give them a worksheet. I admit, I’m giving some of my students worksheets to get me through two more weeks in our trimester! Mental health is too important. The non-robot students and I are still communicating. And I’m using L1 with robot students, which works a bit. By the end of February, some of my students have really shut down. Reflecting on how I can “start fresh” with them in the 3rd trimester of the year. Any ideas welcome…

  2. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Novels with teachers guide literacy extensions. Buy the voice reading of it and allow Ss to listen as they read- or tape yourself reading it and post chapters on your site.

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