Time to Reflect – 2

The most troubling times for me as the moderator of this site have been when I have felt that I had to kick people off the PLC because they were trying, I am sure without knowing it, to inflict a certain single position on the rest of us that threw our general discussions out of balance.

This has happened four times. I didn’t enjoy doing it, but I saw it as the only way to move the group forward in balance and harmony, as much as that is possible since we all have different predispositions to this work. Sometimes when one particular voice takes over an internet venue, bad things happen.

It is because there is no one way to do this work and there never will be. There are no experts. There is only us, and we are all different. Since we are all different, each of us will do CI differently, so why claim that there is any right way?

I see the goal of this community to make suggestions about teaching and support and learn from each other without proclaiming any one approach as the “right” one. Those who recently have been complaining on other internet sites that Tina and I are pushing non-targeted comprehensible input as the only way to do this work have it wrong.

In this way of “no right way”, people here can choose the things that work best for them, and then move forward into their buildings in the fall as the individuals they are, forging their own way in one of the hardest professions on the planet.

We must do this alone and that is just the way it is, but we must help each other do it alone.

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7 thoughts on “Time to Reflect – 2”

  1. One day, i hope to get a student teacher. I tried and no one was available since i taught French and heritage spanish speakers. Our district suggests co-teaching while we have a student teacher. This can result in many coaching opportunities as well as more CI. In the end however, we face it alone with the students.

    Which reminds of my schedule changes for next year.
    Spanish 2 for four sections and French 1 and 2 for two.

    The spanish 2 classes will include 7th graders who are heritage speakers who want remediation or students coming from bilingual schools and 8th grade students who come from Spanish 1 who were taught from the book. The last group may have a heritage speaker or two. The situation pisses me off but it is really an opportunity to spread the CI love and fix placement in our department. My coleague likes having heritage speakers “to help” others during activities. I should send mine over to him. Any other suggestions?

    1. Perhaps Robert can comment on his advice to outgoing students about becoming independent life-long learners of the language.

    2. Perhaps some of the Kim Potowski’s publications can give you some insight. She is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has done a lot of research about teaching Spanish to heritage speaker, who, by the way, can be at different level of proficiency. She is really good and passionate about heritage speakers.

      http://potowski.org/publications

  2. Heritage speakers read read read – and if ready can write – maybe in a dialectical notebook or something where there’s a written convo back n forth bet teacher and Ss or S to S.

  3. Sorry Steven. That’s bass-ackwards. While we may not have much TCI in Chicago Public Schools (nor much TLC lol), there is definitely a consensus that heritage kids have to be separated from the non-heritage. Teachers and admin here all know it. What gives with your colleague then? I bet your supportive admin wouldn’t agree with your colleague’s notion that the heritage kids can help the non-heritage. Your admin would be like, “What are the heritage kids learning then?”

    Sorry it sounds like you’ll have to wait another year to kid the right placement happen for your students. Then again, at my previous school, we’d do placement changes well into October.

    In my experience, if you have more than a handful of heritage speakers in a class of 30 students, it can start to be a real issue. More than 10 and you have a real classroom management issue.

    In the meantime, ditto on what Alisa says. Encourage the heritage students to read a multitude of books. Like, tell them you expect that they read at least 10 of those Spanish TPRS novels each semester. I’m learning some things about FVR by reading “The Book Whisperer” by Donalyn Miller. Ms. Miller tells her students that she expects 40 books read by the end of the year. That is the only pressure she places on them in regards to reading. Otherwise, it’s all love and warmth and ease. (My wife ordered this book a couple of months ago. She teaches literacy to SPED kids in k-2 grades. What would I do without her!?)

    The idea of giving whole group instruction to those heritage kids while you have the rest of the non-heritage class to think of, is unrealistic.

    1. Sean, by the way, a few days ago I sent a request to join the TCI Chicago FB group. Still waiting for answer. I would like to attend the next meeting.

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