Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Black Widows, Wasps, Krashen's Monitor Model, and Why CLAD?/Why not Everyone?

This is what my summer has come down to.
Well, this afternoon I poked my head outside the sweltering (104 today) home and heard a buzzing. Low and behold, wasps have decided to make a home in the roof overhang. In fact, they decided to make many little honeycomb style homes. Let me get one thing straight, I paid out a huge chunk of money for this home. If they wasps don't pay up they get moved out. NO FREE RIDES! So I called my father, who owns a pest control business, and asked him about the best way to nail the wasps. Apparently, the Raid Wasp and Hornet spray is excellent. So off to Home Depot to get the spray, along with a seeder and lawn fertilizer/weed killer, because I can't get the damn crabgrass out of my lawn! So I hit the 12-15 little wasp homes with the raid and it worked like a charm. Wasps dead on contact, honeycomb is vacant. Tomorrow I'll nail down the nests.
Then I walked into the garage to find a huge Black Widow hanging out in the garage door. More raid and a dead spider.
Ahhhh, isn't home ownership great? If you have any other ideas on how to nail wasps or black widows, let me know.

That leaves the worst part of the day; making an essay about Krashen's Monitor Model of Language Acquisition. Now, I know Darren from Right on the Left Coast is probably getting a kick out this, but my god it is painful to write. Here is a ballpark summary of the model:

There are five main points to KrashenÂ’s Creative Construction Theory, also known as the Monitor Model, of SLA. The first point is acquisition versus learning. Krashen makes the argument that information, in this case language, that is acquired is better retained and understood than that which is learned. Language is acquired through use and often time means more than principles that are learned in the traditional sense.
The second point in KrashenÂ’s theory is the monitor hypothesis. Krashen believes that given the right conditions, learners monitor themselves. This hypothesis focuses on the learnersÂ’ use of the correct form when speaking. Proper grammatical forms tend to be learned rather than acquired.
The third component of KrashenÂ’s theory is input, what he calls comprehensible input. This is information that the learner is exposed to that he can understand. The input must be expressed in terms that are understandable to the learner. There must be enough input for the learner and it must consist of various grammatical forms and structures as well as a variety of vocabulary.
Natural Order is the forth part of Krashen’s theory. The idea is that grammatical structures are learned in a certain order within the learner and that you can’t rush the process. A sort of “internal syllabus” is at work. For example, the learner generally learns negation before questions formation, he learns the progressive –ing tense before other verbs tenses, etc. These structures build on each other. It is important to know these things as a teacher when designing instruction because you can’t teach concepts out of order.
The last part of KrashenÂ’s theory pertains to the Affective Filter within the learner. The learner needs to be relaxed, in a positive, nurturing environment for learning to take place. If the learner is uncomfortable, apprehensive or anxious, his affective filter goes up and input stops entering his schema. A teacher needs to make sure that they foster a nurturing, positive and supportive environment for his studentsÂ’ emotional needs to be met and the affective filter to be down.

I don't know about you, but this is simply good teaching that is given a name and needless research support to show that it works. The learners needs a "positive, nurturing environment"? Hey, no kidding? I need to pay two grand and get a piece of paper to tell me something that I already have been doing for five years? But that isn't the most frustrating part of the program. CLAD is focused on English Language Learners, meaning students that use English as a second language. When I told the instuctor of one of my classes that I felt this wasn't preparing teachers to teach to all students that need help with English, I was told that ELL'ers (English Language Learners) need "good teaching plus". When I asked about the 50% of white kids that were in my Intro classes that read at a 3rd-7th grade reading level, the response I got was "those students already have a foundation and support system that migrant students don't have".
Oh really?
Either the instructor is assuming white families are more supportive than Latino families (which is insane, since the whole county is impoverished), or that the high school has more support for white students. Let's see, for poor white students counselors
-Resource teachers
-Classroom teachers
Latino poor latino students we have the above, plus:


Don't tell me the support stuctures are not there. Don't tell me that socially disadvantaged white kids have an advantage simply becuase they are white. And finally, don't tell me that it is more important for one student to know better English than another because it is politically correct. For the record, 80% of my teaching credential classes had to do with teaching subject matter to students that don't know English and theories of language acquisition. You want to know how much time was actually spent on learning how to get all students to read? None. So how about we spend less time on multiculturalism and more time on instructing teachers on how to teach students to read while making their classes a safe and professional environment.
And while your at it, figure out how to kill the damn spiders and wasps!!!
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