Ann K has a question that might be best handled by the group:

Ben –

What would CI look like in a concept based curriculum? That is the direction my county wants to go with all subjects.  I am supposed to come to the curriculum meeting with a list of concepts I would like to teach at each level. Is acquiring a language concept based, though?

I have been searching for information online and am falling a bit flat.

Thank you!




13 thoughts on “Question”

  1. Red flags go off when reading this. It’s a game of “Gotcha” like Sean is having to play. Admins and curriculum people have the power to force fish to fly, as it were. What does that mean?

    It means that we who do CI, comfortably swimming around in the CI waters, safe and aligned w the research, are constantly being pulled out of the water and told to provide semi-fools (bc they don’t get how people acquire languages) with information that is essentially not something that we can provide them with and still stay true to the research and the standards.

    Ann I think also that if you search the word curriculum in the search bar on this page you will get some returns. I know I have had horrendous encounters with curriculum people who don’t get CI in my buildings over the years.

    That said, we again might get something that you can use on this question from the group. It seems to me that of course we work with concepts so we should be able to come up with something for you for that meeting. It’s just that the concepts that we work with are so big – the language that is in its entirety the curriculum – that the pea-brains can’t understand that and so ask us to break it into little pieces so that they can parse and label and therefore understand what really cannot be understood bc it is a royal and magical and untameable unconscious process that man’s mind could never understand.

  2. Ok i think i know what I’d do. But before taking time out of my strenuous raw vegan kale salad and herbal latte and juice shot and Korean Spa and hot yoga and walking regimen here in Venice CA with Elena, who says hi to Steven Ordiano and sends her love from across the Kim chi salad bowl, can you tell us more. I’m assuming this is a requirement to teach certain topics? Can you give an example? I only ask because i am too busy planning my next detox session to go off half-cocked and not give you anything useful.

      1. Boy i wish!!! E was just thinking of our California friend. We’re having a great time. I was at yoga and got a huge vision of this work. The spa was great. I’m going to get up early tomorrow and write in the Cycles book from a well-earned quiet focused brain space.

  3. If it’s more conceptual, then I would say that we teach communication in the target language on the spectrum of self –> society/culture including:

    self identity, values, beliefs, relationships (family, friends, pets, communities, nations, etc.), personal interests (such as activities, sports, art, music, film…), aspirations (such as future jobs/identities), eventually touching on topics found in AP themes, etc…

    Does anyone know of a good psychological theory/framework that could be used? It needs to be general enough that in encompasses the human condition… So simple, huh… 😉

    True communication is based on the human condition, which can’t truly be put into a bottle/checklist like a lot of these people seem to want.

  4. You might also try searching “essential questions” or “can do statements” to see previous threads on this topic.

    My experience has been to just use the jargon available (if you’ve ever had to write IB units, then you really know what I mean) and word-smith it. But most importantly, spend as little bit of your time and energy articulating these concepts because in the end, it is a big waste of time.

  5. I really want to get my curriculum done and looking nice because once we have a good looking curriculum for OWI and Invisibles we can cut and paste it wherever we go.

    But Sean is right….it’s a waste of time. Here’s what usually happens- In the beginning of the year you have a meeting with admin and maybe a training with an outsider where the ideas is communicated that “This year we need to get serious about curriculum” and where everyone thinks oh no, we actually have to write it now. Then, 2 months later when you get into Thanksgiving, Christmas, final exams, pep rallies, teachers being out all the time because they have to leave early for coaching, parent conferences, etc….everyone forgets about curriculum and is just putting out fires.

    Repeat the cycle for next school year….

    1. This is so true. And yet teachers still think that they have to produce all that stuff but really as you say with such exactness Greg – nobody is aware or holding anyone accountable. It’s just an accepted form of intimidation and as long as the teacher cowers at the right time, the admin will have what they want, dominance by implied threats, which never get acted on. I wish I knew this at the beginning of my career. Would have saved me a lot of stress.

  6. If you really need concepts I would teach novels, like ones with cultural stuff from TPRS Books or Fluency Matters. Then the objectives would be all non-language based, cultural understanding stuff, etc. That way you get something nice on the curriculum document.

    Then during instructional time just do what you want (OWI, Invisibles, etc) and use the novels as just an extra activity when you have 15-20 minutes here and there. I took almost the full semester to read Berto y sus buenas ideas becuase I did it just because my colleague is doing it.

  7. “Years ago” in a workshop in Maine, Laurie Clarcq talked about her departments’ curriculum being organized by Function. This might be helpful to you. She might have it posted, or might share with you. Unfortunately, I don’t have this in my files.

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