Structure and Organization

The real argument here is over the meaning of the word “structure”. I have tons of structure in my classroom but because I don’t have my students sitting in rows with their heads bent over workbooks, I’m told I don’t use a lot of structure. Yet when my students intently follow what I’m saying in L2 and show they understand and respond in L2, it’s “wow, that’s great. How do you do that?” “Structure”, I say.

How much more structure can you have than being able to bring a group of Am teenagers to take a fl seriously, learn how to understand it and produce it, all within the boundaries of the typical classroom? That’s a lot of structure.

It’s like organization. Most people mistake neatness for organization and clutter for lack of it. They do not understand what being organized really is. If you think I am a goofy, loopy guy who is just too disorganized and iconoclastic to get serious about being organized, think what it took to write 3820 posts since 1995, while teaching 3 languages, putting my wife and myself into an excellent financial position so we can take in our children and their families with no sweat (well, a little when I step on a toy), read tons on SLA while studying several other languages, serve on the AZLA board, attend ACTFL yearly, participate in the affairs of the African-American community and keep up with the literature on that, and so on. I’m busy but I’m cluttered (drives my wife nuts). There’s no connection, I guess, since I know very neat people who are as busy as I am. But just b/c I don’t put my students in rows or teach paradigms doesn’t mean I’m disorganized.
It’s also like the “correct English” issue: just b/c I don’t sniff at those terrible barbarians who misuse ’hopefully’ doesn’t mean I cannot write well or that I use sloppy language.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *