Response….. just Response

I read a post, typical of many, in which a teacher declares that her students don’t care about doing anything well.

Something tells me that if we were to investigate this teacher’s students, we would find quite a few kids who do like to do some things well; they just don’t like to do fl well. But I find myself frustrated by the way statements like these, made totally from the perspective of a classroom teacher who isn’t getting what he wants from students, go unchallenged. Everyone just nods their head and gloomily proclaims, “Kids these days.”

Anyone who challenges this view of students or even raises a question is attacked for not upholding standards. After all, the argument goes, we know how we were in school – hard-working, diligent, ambitious, thoughtful, responsible – so aren’t we in a position to judge? Of course, we are. And anyone who then dare question this perception is obviously some namby-pamby liberal who wants to turn the asylum over to the inmates, drop all standards….. after all, have you listened to the language lately, seen the way they dress, listened to the music they incessantly tune in to? Obviously our society has seen a dramatic down-turn and so to even question (or to even split an infinitive) is to go over to the side of the barbarians.

This same poster goes on to say they [yes, they] have never seen anyone who has learned L2 without some classroom instruction. I know some people…. me, for one. Again, what I see in this statement is a view of language learning completely enshrouded in a classroom teacher’s world. All learning worthy of the name takes place in a classroom at the command of a teacher and lack of interest in what the teacher wants is indicative of a lack of interest in life itself.

I really do not know how to bring any of this into question, at least on these Lists. The anger and vituperation directed at anyone who questions views such as these is overwhelming and takes the focus entirely off the statements themselves. I am ready to join my friends who wonder why I bother to argue with people who make statements like these. And certainly the people who make them don’t want to argue about them – they just assume they will be accepted without question.

Very, very frustrating.

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