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.