My wife asked me to locate a medical incident in my diary in the year 2010. In the process of looking for it I noticed a lot of comments on my teaching – I was teaching Latin I, II, III and IV in 2010. One paragraph was very telling. I wrote that the students that day had complained that the activity we were doing was too easy. “But,” I remonstrated, “the questions are all in Latin.” “Yeah,” they said, “but we just have to answer then by reading the story and the story is so easy to read.” My reply: “Could you have read that in September (it was March)?” “No, but it’s so easy to read.” “But that’s why you’re here, to learn to read Latin and you apparently have.” “Oh”, was their response.
What they were looking for was what they had been taught to look for: pain and boredom; without that, there is no learning. They were right in that, there was no learning going on, just acquisition.
Isn’t that what we battle when we use CI, the expectation that everything has to be hard and impenetrable and the idea of actually understanding a language is totally beside the point. I have in front of me a newspaper with an article about my old school, about a student who graduated from there and who said, “It really taught you time management.” With 2 hours of homework a night per class, you certainly did……. except in my easy class.
Oh, another entry of mine complained about how the math teacher who proctored my final exams separated the students indicating a total lack of trust. I griped me b/c I would have let kids sit where they were comfortable and I would have monitored them instead of sitting at a computer. I noted in that entry that the kids were saying, “They [the teachers] don’t like us.” From what I heard in the teachers’ lounge, I think they were right.