A shill for Krashen

Today I had a great experience. I was talking to one of our teachers about
the outcomes on my Latin final and the problems I was having with the grade
fixation of the school. I was happy with the fact that even students who did
not do well on the test as a whole were clearly comprehending a story they
had never encountered before, which is the whole point of the course.

She related to me her own experience in studying German in h.s. in the 60s.
She went to Europe with a group of students, various ones being responsible
for the various languages of Europe. Her responsibility was for German and
she was able to function for the group after only 2 years of h.s. German,
whereas the other students were tongue-tied.

To what did she owe this proficiency? I waited with bated breath to hear.
Her German teacher was a little old nun, a native speaker of German. They
listened, spoke, read, and wrote German from the beginning and sang lots and
lots of German songs. Oh, yes, they studied grammar some, too, but…… and
this is what floored me, coming from someone who has no exposure to SLA
theory…… the grammar was “always taught in context”. IN CONTEXT!!! I
couldn’t believe her words.

We had discussed the way languages have usually been taught with little
success and this is what stimulated her story. I pointed out to her that
this nun was one of any number of fl teachers well before the CI movement
who naturally taught this way.

My students did well on the part of the test that presented them with a new
story and asked them to demonstrate comprehension. I also chatted today with
one of the students from my difficult class, my third years, and he offered
some insightful comments. Although I had to enter lesson plans for the
semester into the computer today, I also hand-delivered to my principal some
sample lesson plans as I write them out ON PAPER along with my class log. I
think for lesson plans on the computer I’ll just copy out what the CLC
Teacher’s Manual has.

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