Report from the Field

I just got back from a workshop in Peotone IL which is just south of Chicago and the teachers there were fantastic. We had a good time, got good work done, and it is exciting to think that with Shaun and Alisa and that strong group north of Peotone (David Sceggel is also in that area and there is also a group of three in Minooka, IL who rock the house) that that area now has the potential to greatly expand storytelling in the Chicagoland area.

By the way, there is a Spanish opening there in Peotone so if you are interested contact Luisa at lsuarez@peotoneschools.org.

I want to share about 50 new things I learned in TN and Agen and in Illinois and will do so as time allows – it’s like exploding firecrackers right now in this work. And all the firecrackers are big and beautiful and loud and involve images. There is one thing about getting together with colleagues and working together and that is that new ideas seem to happen every ten minutes. I will do my best to share the new ideas as soon as I can.

Already looking forward to iFLT in Denver next year, and, of course, Agen, where Judy and Kirsten and Iris and Martin and others are creating something strong and new for Europe. The fact that Stephen Krashen and Beniko Mason were both there last week is, I am certain, not being lost on the European language intelligentsia. It’s like the old dam cannot contain all the new and fresh and bubbly CI water over there right now.

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6 thoughts on “Report from the Field”

  1. I am sitting in a cafe in France with my mom and we are working on writing a novel. Mom always encouraged me to be a writer and now we are working on a project together. Mom is fascinated by our work and she said that she was shamed in her French class back in 1968 into thinking that she had to say French expressions perfectly or she would be wrong. She just said her first utterances in French – Bonjour, her first word spoken in French since high school, and très bizarre, which was actually a unique utterance she made up herself based on input from me- and these w3re the first things she has had the courage to say in French since high school, and I am so proud of her.

    She is healing from the teaching she got back then and it is only reinforcing my commitment to our work – showing kids that their natural intelligence cannot, cannot be wrong in acquiring languages as it is our natural human birthright given to us by the miracle of evolution.

    One thing I have noticed here in France is the absolute need of Europeans to communicate in many languages. Europe needs this work. Europeans need CI.

    It was such an honor and so exciting to be in Europe spreading this work. Ben you did a fantastic job in Agen. The dam is indeed spilling over and there is so much to share back in the New World from the Old. When I get back, I am looking forward to catching up with you all.

    1. How wonderful is that? Working with your mother on writing a novel and hearing her have the courage to speak French again. Have you shown her Kathrin Shechtman’s article? (I know you have it because you linked to it in another thread. )

      I just finished a week exploring Cathar Country, and I’m glad I made the investment. What I have learned has changed some elements in the story, including geography. It’s so important to have acquaintance knowledge of the place. Tomorrow I head for Toulouse, then Lyon to visit a friend.

      The Agen workshop was once again amazing. I’m looking forward to coming back next year and giving a presentation on writing a novel. Anyone want to work with me on it?

      1. I do! I just gave me husband “Brandon Brown will einen Hund” and he’s starting to read his first German book. I just finished my first Spanish one. I think we should work on some Comics/ Graphic Novels…

  2. Europe needs this indeed. As I just rode my bike to my daughter’s daycare this morning to drop her off, I looked at the “Freak Flag” stickers I put on it yesterday (comment husband: how many of these do you have? me: not enough) and my first thought was “I’m looking forward to a day when it’s not so blatantly obvious whose bike this is.”

    After I went to school yesterday to hand in my PD proposal for ETPRS, I was excited to see that my administration was catching my excitement and was very interested in how I can get other people on board. Admin: “This doesn’t just seem important for language teachers to experience, every teacher should experience it.”
    It’s a slow process at my school, but there is process. I have given two workshops, Judy came to give another. Everyone is signed up for textivate now, many of my colleagues have started marking “the golden words” (everything that’s right instead of wrong), one has started MovieTalk and everyone came back with really positive feedback, excited that the kids woke up and showed passion in class.

    My colleague, who is getting a PhD in “Inclusion” has said this about the student jobs in particular: “This is differentiation at it’s best.” We’re working on a lesson for her student teachers.

    Thank you for letting me work with you in Agen. I have so many new things I want to try and I’m excited for things to come. This is the first chapter of a new story for me. 🙂

    1. Kathrin, I love reading your voice so full of hope and enthusiasm for this work. How exciting that your admin is that excited about what you learned. I have often pondered the implications of using comprehension-based and student-centered ways in other subjects like English Language Arts and Social Studies, and I have always wanted to make any subject area I taught more responsive, personalized, and oriented towards language acquisition and lots of input through reading and hearing examples of academic language. I would love to hear more about what that conversation sounded like. And I feel that this is a new chapter for me as well. Just the simple act, for me, of watching how people use their bodies in teaching is a huge new frontier to work on.

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