Through Us He Plays His Music

The work with non-targeted instruction (NTCI) that we are doing right now has brought immediate and positive change to many of our careers.

We finally have a real and authentic part to play in what is going on now in foreign language education. Why authentic? Because I can say that NTCI is based fully in the research, unlike anything I’ve personally ever done before, namely traditional and TPRS.

Blaine originally had TPRS fully aimed directly at the research, but over the years the target shifted and bent his vision away from the research to what made money and what traditional teachers could handle. No blame. It’s what happened. But TPRS is more unwieldy than NTCI.

I do not feel a need to prove that NTCI is better, right, or first. We need to serve with love. We need to state our truth and know that God is getting the message out in His own way and in His own time.

Why would God care about how kids learn language? Well, it is a small slice of His Plan, we are sure, as we all do our best to play our part, whatever part He wants us to play.

We feel that our work and especially our focus on non-targeted language instruction is contributing to human liberation and community in the darkest of places – schools – because we are promoting a work that relies more on intuition. Why?

It is because language is intuitive and not formulaic and so we feel that we should teach it that way. What is intuition but trusting in a generous universe put here for our betterment?

People don’t want to trust so much. They prefer everything cut and dried and planned and predictable. For those who want that, of course we don’t object. But for those who don’t want it, we want to offer something else, something that is connected to what language in its core function really is. – connected to coeur/corazón – the root of which is connected to courage.

I think it takes more courage to follow an intuitive, trust based way of teaching than it takes to follow a way of teaching based solely in qualities of mind.

If we are to succeed in finding our intuition in this work, we must then trust that our classes will turn out all right without much or any planning, and without targets, because those things limit human expressiveness and dampen the fun, as I see it.

I therefore see this work as a calling. It is higher than us, more than us, far more complex than we could ever bring into form as a lesson plan. Egos are becoming a distraction now in this work. Our success never originates from us, not from our egos, but from God.

Plus, who has the time to plan nowadays? So many of our lives are in a state of imbalance and disarray as never before, and only part of it is due to the fact that we are being led by fools.

Through us as His instruments God plays His music. If we feel that His music is more beautiful and more effective with a non-targeted approach, then we will teach that way, because we want to come into greater harmony with our hearts than with our minds and with His will than with our own. Otherwise, it’s just boring, the work of robots.

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2 thoughts on “Through Us He Plays His Music”

  1. I pray that I will be an instrument in God’s hands that others around me will hear a beautiful melody as I begin this new way of teaching English to mostly adults in a foreign country. Thank you for this post.

  2. Mel thank you for finding this post. It is from a year and a half ago and so I updated it. I had completely forgotten writing it so thanks for digging it out of the archives!

    Let me say why I like your prayer. It is because I think that in general teachers want to bring beautiful music/language (languages are very beautiful forms of music, in my opinion) to their students. But in the process many of us, in the making of the music/teaching of the language often forget that teaching is really devoid of any beauty/artfulness when it is caught up in mind.

    Beautiful teaching cannot come from mind. Mind cannot even produce beauty, as I see it. It is a computer and can only compute. The fanciest thing it can produce are rules like how in the past tense when the helping verb is avoir the past participle agrees in gender and number with any preceding direct object pronouns, including relative pronoun objects.

    For the first 24 years of my career as a traditional AP teacher, I taught to the few and generally mostly the rich, and definitely to the mind, and to impress. My teaching felt artful at the time but was not. I tricked my self. Je me suis trompé.

    So your prayer reminds us that when we trust, when we keep things out of our mind, when we base our instruction on images and not on word lists, things will go well as per ANATS. I have always felt that we must be out of our minds to be language teachers.

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