(Originally posted 3/20/12)
On the moretprs listserv,
Bob Patrick wrote: I don’t put a lot of time into it, but I always do it in Latin. I teach Latin teachers how to do these things in Latin, too, because they are the things that we all do every day, and they provide one of the easiest ways to do CI and multiple repetitions. So, while it should take up as little time as possible, don’t miss the opportunity to do it in L2.
I agree that the classroom organization doesn’t help the students learn Spanish but, I believe an unorganized class does detract from the learning.
With a solid system in place, I’m free to focus on the language and now how I want to handle bathroom passes.
And this is exactly what happens…once CI becomes a way of thinking, we start to view everything in the classroom through CI lenses. Then our focus can shift to how to align even the smallest details.
We want the systems to align with our instruction and our relationships.
That is truly Backward Design. As Sara said, a solid system is golden.
Teaching without one is a great deal of unnecessary work. It doesn’t matter exactly what our system is.
Next question: What should a system do?
1. A system should make relationships strong and confusion minimal so that classroom time can be maximized for acquisition. (or in other words, what Sara said above)
2. A system can prove opportunities for interaction in the TL that lead to acquisition. (or in other words read Bob’s statement above)
It doesn’t matter if you pass papers left to right or front to back as long as 1. and 2. above are happening. It doesn’t matter if you have kids carry a toilet seat to the bathroom or only sign out 3 times a marking period if it isn’t interfering with 1. and 2. (tee hee unintended pun that I couldn’t bring myself to delete)
Above all, it helps us to look at the systems that we have in place in order to see if they align with our Rules. If what we expect/demand of our students is outside of the Rules, then we will be seen as hypocrites. We may never be able to control whether or not our students respect us. That is a choice that they will make. We can, however, control whether or not our actions and words are honorable and making changes when necessary.
What can happen is that we get caught up in Rules and Systems (amongst other things) and forget that we are about Acquisition. You’ve heard the expression “Weighing the baby doesn’t make him grow.” Neither does buying him bigger clothes. It just makes him look nice when he fits into them. Sometimes our teacher-obsession with How To Set Up and Run
A Classroom does just that: make the teacher look good because the behavior is under control. That is nice, good and necessary, but not the end goal. I hope that that makes sense.
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