When children come to us to learn the languages that we teach them, they come to us in trust.
But we do not always honor that trust. We do that unintentionally of course – but the result is the same. Why is this?
It is because of the way we think about curriculum. We think that testing and the textbook are more important than the children. We don’t bother to learn how to properly align our instruction with the research. Some of us still teach our language like they did 50 years ago.
Teachers in other subjects align their instruction with the standards and latest research in their fields, but in language teaching the great majority of us don’t. We teach in the same way that we as students were taught when we were in school.
That means that we were good at grammar and memorization verb forms, etc. But it’s all changed up on us now. The change has put many language teachers in a very tight spot. They are seeing that they need to quickly retool before the rising tide of comprehensible input language instruction washes them out of the field.
It’s not our fault. But even if we can’t be faulted for our ignorance, our profession must change and we must change. The pressure is on to stop giving useless assignments and heavy testing and instruction that shames most of the children while honoring only the few.
It’s time now for real reform. It’s time to get our profession out of the doldrums. Of course, the textbook monopolies don’t want that, but it’s going to happen anyway. In many districts across the country, it already has.
It’s time to stop destroying the confidence of children in their ability to become life-long language learners.