Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

“Let it Go”…and see them fly!

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MP900227656It didn’t start out to be this way. I was happy with my classes, the units and how they were “all ready to go” for the year. And then…#langchat did it to me again. If it wasn’t Amy Lenord challenging me right up front to reconsider my ‘vocabulary’, Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell daring me to drop the textbook, Laura Sexton continually showing me how I could innovate, or Catherine Ousselin and her amazing technology tools, it was some other member of the #langchat PLN leading me to being a better teacher.

It all came together for me today during my afternoon long block with Yr2. Oh what a class – 30 students in Grade 10 – 21 of them young men – all very vocal and keen to interact. We were into the song of the week activity doing a wordcloud of the lyrics and I saw it – a concept I usually don’t approach until Yr 4 (interrogatives) and this song was full of them! Some students had found the meaning for “someone” and “something” and it was an easy extension to the other some~ words in the song. And then I asked it – “So what if  the singer was looking to “somehow” find her way back to her lost love –  how might she say it?” And 1/2 the class – yelled it out. Correctly. No big explanation from me on ‘how to construct it’, no over-coaching. Just a concept that made perfect sense to them. Why? Because it was key to understanding the song they were enjoying and because it was a natural extension of what we were already doing. It was language in context…not a context for the language.

Letting go of the list and letting my students into the learning has produced more communicative students – and more meaningful interaction in my class.

This year I learned to let go of  deciding what I think they need to know and started to collaborate with them on what they want to be able to express. It’s a phrase that has become, courtesy of the movie “Frozen” way over-used these days. But it’s true – let it go – and see your students fly.

Thanks (again) #langchat!



One Comment

  1. Colleen, I love that our PLN has the power to grow each and every one of us in ways like this! It’s wonderful. I think my favorite part of this post is your reference to “overcoaching.” I just love that word. Isn’t that exactly what we used to do all the time? We taught our students content as if they were linguists, so their brains were so stuffed with information the doorway between their brains and their mouths was barricaded!

    So glad we are on this journey together!

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