My apology

Here’s what I wrote to a listserv after making a rash statement and being called to task for it:

“Recently I wrote:
“Many old-school teachers claim that tprs doesn’t
achieve the level of knowledge of the target language they themselves seek
to impart, but they conveniently leave out the 90%+ fl students who leave
the classroom having learned nothing.”

The students do learn something. We argue over what they should be learning and the best way to get them there.”

I did not want to fan the flames of discontent. I realize that many fl teachers are in no way on board with getting students to use L2 in the classroom; they have been eloquent in describing the many demands on them. My focus as I was writing that was on the “old-school teachers” who are dubious about methods like tprs and insist that learners need to understand paradigms in order to use L2. My impetus was on what I see as the results: “the 90%+ fl students who leave
the classroom having learned nothing.”
That was poorly expressed, incl. the snide remark “conveniently leave out”. What I feel is SO important for our profession to look at is what our goals should be. Many fl teachers simply ignore ACTFL, Shrum & Glisan, Omaggio-Hadley, Stevick, Krashen, Nation, and a kajillion other thoughtful, academic, practical, funny, helpful sources. They just put their heads down and use the textbooks to guide them, and the textbooks are written to make money and satisfy almost everyone but the consumer – school boards, politicians, activists… and who is the consumer? The teacher? The student? The school? The parents? The “consumers” of our students i.e. the military, corporations, government service?

Anyway, a lot of what I’ve said on listservs over the last 15 years has had its fans and its detractors. Although fewer people will read my blog, at least I’ll know that anyone who goes to it is dealing directly with me rather than being offended b/c I question the goals of the classroom on a llstserv that has been described as a place to rant and get an idea for Monday morning..

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