We Have the Research

A teacher contacted me awhile back. She had been attacked about using CI from a team leader. I told her to get some research from Eric Herman.

Eric shared this:

…I’m dealing with the same ignorance in my district. Your idea to keep it about research sounds logical, but these people are not logical. They quickly get emotional. In my recent experience I found that mentioning research that contradicts her practice escalated emotions.


In the future I’ll just say: “I have the research I base my approach upon.” Say similarly when you offer research. I included once that I wanted them to share research citations for anything they refuted and apparently they feel that their experience and degrees mean they don’t need to know the research. Crazy….

So the teacher loaded up with research from this site and went into the meeting Friday, where she expected to be confronted. Here is her report on that meeting:

…Well, that was painless! I came armed with all my info you kindly sent me, and she handed us a handout on Krashen’s Silent and Receptive Stage in SLA along with a link to a TED talk that completely supports CI that was given by our county director to share with us. She did my work for me. She wouldn’t discuss the items in terms of instruction, but she couldn’t say anything negative or argue about my methods with me either. The director has observed me twice and all of the administrators have been in numerous times. They have asked her and the other Spanish teacher to come observe, but that has not happened….

Now what do we learn here? Well, it’s something Eric has been saying for some time. We have the research. We just need to present it in a calm way to naysayers. And not get upset when confronted. I don’t think many of us know the facts. The facts are that we have the research and so grammar based textbook teachers are now going to be put in a very bad situation whenever they confront CI.

We’re the only ones with any research! Note most carefully again – people who use textbooks do not have research. There is none that supports what has been done in foreign language classrooms for the past hundred years. The entire thing was driven by corporate interest and a heavy layer of ignorance, and we bought it.

Krashen put a hole in that boat, and Blaine made a new boat that actually floated in classrooms. Credit them. Now it’s not about one dimensional memorization, but three dimensional reciprocal and participatory human interaction. It’s not about drudgery but joy.

The meek response from the attacking teacher in that building last Friday reveals to us that no matter who is attacking us, if they are attacking what we do, as Eric never gets tired of saying, they better watch their position because they have nothing to base their attacks on.

To repeat what Eric said above:

…I wanted them to share research citations for anything they refuted….

So make them. Tell them to cite research when attacking what you do with CI in your classroom. They won’t be able to do that because there is no research that refutes Krashen and the others, and there is no research supporting what they do.

I like this story. It expresses movement. We are making progress in confronting long held patterns of ignorance in language education.

I would like to repeat the point Eric makes above about how we are the only ones with the research. I want new and vulnerable teachers to know that. It’s an axe fight and we are the only ones with axes. So do we need to even fight? I for one don’t like the idea of bloodying up my colleagues just because they don’t have an axe. Just know, if you are new to CI, that you cannot lose. When I say that they don’t have the research, I mean that THEY DON’T HAVE A THING. THERE IS NO RESEARCH THAT SUPPORTS THE USE OF THE TEXTBOOK AND WORKSHEETS. If you find some, let me know. But you won’t, so don’t waste your time.

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2 thoughts on “We Have the Research”

  1. Sometimes the opportunities come unexpectedly, and we need to be ready to seize them appropriately. Today following our department collaboration, two of the Spanish teachers were talking, and one of them was complaining about students not knowing the difference between preterit and imperfect, no matter how much she worked with them. Instead of talking about Comprehensible Input, I just offered the suggestion/asked the question, “So if what you are doing isn’t working, do you think you should continue doing it?” Later she came to me and asked about how I assess. First I showed her the Interpersonal Communication Rubric. Then I showed her a six-panel storyboard that my level one students had just done for a chapter in “Arme Anna” as practice (This is the Essential Sentences with pictures idea.) and explained how it worked. She was very interested – obviously not yet ready to adopt TPRS/TCI but at least more open than she has been in the past.

  2. I found out yesterday in a meeting with my department chair and Principal that years of talking about research is a joke to them. They don’t actually read it. If or when they do read it they do not fully grasp it. Krashen himself shared this today on the morelist…it was great.
    What I found to be the jackpot moneyball slam dunk was to stick to the talking point of ACTFLs 90% TL usage. This is ALL we need to stick to with narrow-minded thinkers. Mentioning research or TPRS or SLA gurus falls on deaf hears and comes off the wrong way in my experience. The discussion turn to the criticisms of research and the TPRS cult just wanting to make money and the like.
    Let’s talk about ACTFL and 90% TL and see who has better teaching and learning results!
    “If you want to criticize me, look at my results, not my methods. If you want to know how I got those results, ask me about my methods,” Mike Peto

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