What Language Acquisition Can Become

Think of these words:

warm, reciprocal, participatory, fun, human, uplifting, flowing

Now think of their opposites:

cold, solitary, alone, boring, robotic, depressing, locked up

Which set of words do you like better? Which set better describes the way you would like to teach a language?

If you chose the second set, you are describing what language acquisition has become over the past 100 years, ever since people starting “teaching” languages in classrooms, and now – wait for it – online, more and more, in spite of our wishes for it not to change.

If you chose the first set, you are describing what language acquisition can become, if only we could in our profession adhere to the research and let go of the textbook (including the new TPRS/CI textbooks that only make teachers feel inept or threatened as CI teachers in the classroom – read Greg’s post from a few days ago on that.)

The first set of words can become our guiding ideals in our work, even online, if only we could let go of the textbook and the belief that the new CI “experts” out there right now know what they’re talking about. Or maybe, inshallah, the textbook and the new CI experts could let go of us, as they now use social media to spread all kinds of untruths and misinformation about what real language teaching is in their pursuit of the almighty dollar.

If you chose the second set, you shouldn’t be in language teaching, of course. You are one of those who, no blame and bless your heart, have MADE OUR PROFESSION that way, who have slowly pulled our instruction further and further with each passing year away from the research.

Get out of our profession now, because there is finally movement to really embrace and apply the research in real ways. There is FINALLY movement to make our profession align with the first set of words above.

Get out now, because textbook and money-driven language teachers will soon be washed out by the COVID tsunami, in ways you can’t imagine. Wait for it. You won’t have to wait too long.



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