Rethinking World Language Education

As we are quickly approaching the end of another school year, I have been doing some serious reflecting on my practices over the last nine (wow) years.

Basically, when I was hired to teach world languages about 10 years ago, my department was implementing the TPRS methodology of Blain Ray. This was incredibly interesting and was a lot of work over the past 6-8 years. Now, we are using the Realidades textbook series.

So, here are the problems that I can see at this point:
1) All student in Michigan are required to take 2 years of the same world language in order to graduate.
2) We have a lot of variety now when it comes to student learning, interests, background, etc.
3) I find it difficult to differentiate with a textbook that many students perceive to be deadly boring- they can learn vocabulary like there is no tomorrow but can they actually COMMUNICATE- not so sure on that piece.
4) We can’t scrap a program that we just put in place and are still writing curriculum for as we speak.

What is a teacher to do (especially one who has flirted with TPRS/CI and can see its benefits and disadvantages)?
1) READ, READ, and READ some more blogs by the talented teachers out there like Carol Gaab, Kristy Placido, Crystal Barragan, and many others.
2) Formulate some plans this summer to help blend the two together.
3) Also kick around the idea of Standards-Based Grading and Proficiency Assessments.

My question to the readers is, “Do you currently use Realidades and CI-Style Methods together? If so, how did you start the blend?”

I am not a new TPRS person and my personality is well-suited to it. Moreover, I love being able to shake things up and show kids the interesting parts of language learning.

Not finished yet with this post but this is a start. Help me if you can!!


Evernote, what?

This past week (4/23/13) I had the opportunity to present some information about Evernote to the Lapeer East HS staff. I feel that it went pretty well and was positively received by my colleagues.

This is the beginning of an “Evernote Experiment” for me that I plan to continue over the remainder of this year and next year. Converting all of my teaching materials into Evernote files is definitely going to take a massive amount of work. However, I am excited at the prospect of being able to share teaching materials with my students, their parents, and of course my colleagues and administrators.

I was inspired by Nicholas Provenzano’s Evernote presentation and I hope to gain more insight from his work as I continue over the next year.