Two big roadblocks to success in our CI classrooms are:
- There are severe time limits. So much time is needed to show real gains – far more time than we have.
- We teach students who for the most part can only think in terms of what is on a test.
I won’t even mention administrators and colleagues in that list.
So (and this was the point of a thread a few months ago but one we need to keep in mind), it is best to avoid thinking about what how we can teach kids a language as fast as possible, and focus rather on what is best for our mental health in our classrooms.
How to keep our mental health? By not being the center of attention all the time. Those teachers who want to do CI all the time – because they know it is the best thing to do for their kids – are asking for trouble for many more reasons than those mentioned above.
I know the research spurs us on to want to do greater and greater amounts of CI in class, but if we are to keep from burning out we need to give the kids time to “do” things. When kids “do” things they think they are learning.
Free writes come to mind, as well as dictees. Things where they write or draw. Also I have been using Bob Patrick’s OWATS idea to great effect lately with upper level kids. OWATS is badass.