Report from the Field – Craig West

From Craig:

I’ve been in two days of PD learning about how to ¨teach¨ Spanish. It’s not really teaching Spanish though is it? It’s really about how to present information from the book. It requires absolutely no creativity from me and none from any students. All of the time has been about implementing exercises to teach specific grammar features. Lots and lots of grammar talk. Not one single word has been spoken of building relationships, making meaningful connections, student interest, language acquisition, or encouraging human interaction. We are being given a textbook on the computer. Come into class, sit in front of a screen, and learn about noun verb agreement. How can anyone be excited about this? I really don´t get it.



10 thoughts on “Report from the Field – Craig West”

  1. My thoughts exactly Ben…. I was going to ask if there was any mention at all of ACTFL’s recommendation that 90% of all instruction consist of CI – and what that means?

    Just a reminder of how much work we still have to do!

    Sorry Craig….:(

  2. I’m confident that Craig’s surfboard will skim over the wave of stench and ride the new CI wave with style all the way into the California beaches, attracting great admiration and applause from all the people still on the beach.

  3. Yeah California is crazy. I had to go to 4 saturdays last year on how to force output from students via drill like “communicative” activities and online flashcard games and songs. Hodge-podge. At least the PD program will not continue next year. Time to build the CI network in the Central Valley!


    Van Patten’s remarks at iFLT 2016 are partially reflected in this article. Language acquisition is subconscious and not easily reduced to comprehensible definitions. Should be required reading for anyone who is in charge of a language department – especially some admin who don’t have a clue. In our last meeting in June, our PLC was wrestling with developing our personal elevator pitches – a way to talk to parents and admin about the nature of language acquisition! It includes neither grammar rules nor worksheets.

    1. Chill, I’m very interested in any developments on the elevator pitch. I’m working on that myself, but inevitably it turns into a rant. Lance had a good one-page document that I was adapting for my admin. I will have to get on this!

      1. Jen, VanPatten stressed the importance of principles. You may also get some inspiration from Robert Harrell’s blog . He discusses the goals of his instruction.

  5. Thank you everyone I appreciate the solidarity!!

    I have had some really interesting conversations with district reps about instruction trying to establish good relationships and interest in changing the way languages are taught. Most of those conversations begin with me asking: Did you take a language in school? How did that go for you?

    1. Craig,
      I hope you’ll be in Elsinore. I’d love to share with you how the CI Revolution is playing out in Corona-Norco.

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