Question on Rude Kids

This is from Julia:
Ben,
First question after trying this for a week.
I have kids saying they already know this stuff. But I have many kids who are getting it deep down for the first time since taking it since kindergarten.
What do I do with the complainers? They don’t actually know it. They can do it on paper is all. They cannot speak Spanish without hesitation and they cannot speak it / write accurately.
Advice?

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11 thoughts on “Question on Rude Kids”

  1. I hope the group weighs in on this question heavily bc it happens to all of us.
    Really, when kids say that they already know it, my inner Sherlock Holmes senses that, as Julia says, they do not and that their protests are hiding something. What are they hiding?
    To me, it goes right to the essence of this new work. What we are doing with non-targeted CI is giving them absolutely nowhere to hide from the reciprocal and participatory nature of REAL language experience, which is relaxed conversation that is genuine. Isn’t that our goal in our work, to do that?
    So the memorizers – those are probably the ones complaining – when put in a situation of having to switch out of the mode that has allowed them to dominate classrooms via memorization bc they are good at memorization but they suck at participation and respect and listening (not their fault – schools don’t actually train human beings in human things, they train robots in robotic things), they fail as any robot trying to become human would fail, and so they put up a front that “they already know it”.
    Fascinating. Now what do we DO about it. I’m going on a bike ride in this wonderful 60 degrees and sunny February weather here in Colorado and think about it.
    I wouldn’t say this in a public venue, but let’s nail those rude little Fauntleroys. How to get them to realize they need to SHOW UP AS HUMAN BEINGS IN CLASS for us? How to do that? This group has solved harder questions than that together.

  2. Hm. Maybe administer a speaking test (unannounced) and writing test (also unannounced). You can frame these as “getting a baseline” for what they can do in spontaneous, unnanounced situations, which is after all the real world application.
    This is a neutral way to really see “what they know.” You have to be clear to frame it specifically that you want to see what has mapped into their brains (vs what they have opportunity to study and memorize).
    If I am not mistaken it is also a very legitimate source of data gathering and generally assessing to inform instruction, so it is in no way punitive and should not be perceived as such.
    ??? That is off the top of my head for now.

    1. That is a really good response jen. It makes perfect sense to test them on something they can’t prepare for by memorizing. So what if it pushes the envelope bc it is asking for speaking and writing output? The purpose is not to test but to make the little snots aware that they need to change. Now what exact form would this take? I think maybe we’re onto something here….

  3. I teach high school and I do something cheesy but it works well…my rule is “siempre positivo” (always positive). I tell them in the beginning of the year that attitudes are contagious, both negative and positive and we only have room for positivity in our class. If they complain or whine or say something negative, they have to say 3 nice things to counteract it. We stop class and get creative and help the whiner get positive. It gets to be almost a game…the kids call each other out and force them to say nice things about the class or each other. I get some boys that think they are way too cool, they may roll their eyes at times, but they are very careful after the first week of class or so to be positive, even if they have to fake it.

    1. Love the positive-inducing vibe you are promoting with that technique.
      Cheesy or not, the “fake it ’til you make it” (Or fake it ’til you BELIEVE it like we saw in that TED talk).
      Plus, maybe even beyond your class, in life, these students will gain an instinct/reflex to try to find the positives (which sometimes can take more effort) than going the easy, negative complaining route (we have enough of that in our social media).

    2. OH RYANN! SO AWESOME!
      I love the concrete “detox” idea of 3 things to counteract the negative. YES YES YES! For years I have had the “Se amable” sign in various configurations, and most kids began to chime in with that when someone was being negative.
      Then with particularly stubborn “debbie and david downers” I’d “translate” for them when they blurted anything negative. For example, “shut up steve, you’re so stupid” I would stop class and say “Wait, let me translate what he really meant to say…he said “Wow Steve I love your idea. Can we talk about it in the break?” After a few times doing this, the kids started to catch that, and say to each other “What he really meant was…” In actual fact they were making fun of me. But it lightened the vibe anyway, so it was awesome!
      But now, your formula takes that to the next level!!! I’m kicking that in tomorrow. Although so far I have not noticed any debbie downers in my new groups!!!
      Thank you 😀

      1. What I like most about Ryann’s plan is that it actively “outs” the behavior. Kids are expert at hiding their negativity just below the radar, but it poisons the room anyway. So now, with methods of teaching that engage the kids, we are finally empowered to use the positive energy thus created to finally finally finally confront their negativity openly. In that interest, I like Annoying Orange. There are four PLC articles on it here:
        https://benslavic.com/blog/?s=Annoying+Orange

  4. This attitude (the rudeness) is reinforced by the parents many times. One of our (CI) Spanish teachers who teaches upper level had an email from a parent asking (this is almost verbatim) “Is it even necessary for our son to take Spanish again next year? Will this help him to get into Ohio State? Please call me when you get a chance. Thanks, Mr. X”
    Can you believe that? How about asking OHIO STATE if you want to know if it will help him to get into Ohio State. Oh and…yeah this teacher will just drop everything she is doing during the school day to give the parent a call……

  5. This is like Mila’s question. Younger teachers are prey to providing services that are not even remotely connected to their job descriptions.
    We also don’t ask bus drivers to drive people from the bus stops to their homes, just to be nice. There is a reason for it, and it has a lot to do with the amount of money those bus drivers are earning, the availability of gas (in teachers physical and emotional energy), etc. For almost thirty years in this profession I people-pleased to a shameful level. I need to forgive myself. I wish someone had pounded into my head the truth – I don’t have to do work that is not in my job description. Nor does Mila, nor does this Ohio State person.
    By the way, the Ohio State request also made me feel like barfing. Double barf today. And all because people have learned that teachers are people who we can low-ball on salary and work load, and who can be manipulated if the person who wants the “favor” sees the slightest sign of weakness or need to please in the teacher.
    What’s next? $5/hour tutoring?

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