Episode 23: Cultivating a Culture of Risk Taking - Part 2Oct 11, 2022
Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity and guidance in centering joy and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most, our students, I'm your host, Annabelle, most people call me maestra loca, and I'm an educator just like you, and inspiring teachers is what I do. Hello, and welcome to episode 23 of teaching la vida loca. This is the second part of a three-part series on building a culture of risk taking in the target language. I'm cracking up because I've tried to start this episode four times, and I keep on getting tongue tied right at the beginning. And what's hysterical is I'm a person who literally does not edit my podcast, because I don't have time. So, if I make an error in the middle, you've heard me just keep on going, like, got to keep rolling. But the fact that I made such terrible mistakes in the first few seconds, four times in a row, I was like, what's going on? Why can I not communicate?
So, on that note, welcome to the second part, which is all about not correcting the errors that you hear? You heard it, you heard it, you heard me say it, stop correcting your students, when they make errors. It doesn't change anything; it doesn't help their acquisition. In fact, when you're correcting them, they don't even know exactly what you're correcting. Because, again, if they knew there was a better way, they would have said it that way. So error correction just brings it from the subconscious idea of I am acquiring language, and I am acquiring grammar in context to the conscious level, which is oh, wait, hold on. I said that wrong.
There's a right way, what's the right way? Wait, now I have to remember that rule. And they're far less likely to try and take that risk again the next time. So, I'm going to give you an example. I think first I think that's the easiest way to do it. And this is what I did in the Dallas workshop recently. If I'm talking about how I have a dog in Spanish class, and I say, let's say tengo un perro and I have a student raise their hand and say, Yo tenne un perro and I have all my other students doing the silent communicators that I talked about in the first episode of the series. If I go over to that student, high five them and say que fantastico, wow, nosotros tenemos un perro. We have we have dogs muy bien excelente.
Talking About Yourself
Remember, when you're talking about yourself, you want to say Yo tengo because we ended in an O, that sounds really positive. My tone was positive. I just told you I gave them a high five. It's still absolutely not something I should do. Because all I'm doing is saying Great job. But and we know that anything that comes before the but in a sentence doesn't count. It means cool, thanks for trying, you could have done better. And if that student who probably was, was the really confident like blurt it anyways and they're going to keep blurting throughout the year. It probably didn't damage their confidence too much. It certainly caused them pause to pause and think Oh, dang, okay, I did it wrong. possibly hurt their feelings a little bit, but they'll get over it fast. Their neighbor who we talked about last episode, who is timid, shy, already intensely nervous about having to speak in front of the class, is they hear that person just got high fived but then immediately corrected for speaking. And that person probably doesn't even know also what they did wrong. They're immediately saying, Okay, well, I won't be trying that in the near future. That's embarrassing. I don't want to be embarrassed before the class and told I did something wrong. It's, it's damaging. I would argue that not only does it not create any real progress with their output, but I would argue that it's damaging for your classroom community and your environment that you're trying to build, which is one of risk taking.
They Will Use Correct Words
Because I tell you what, me correcting my son right now will make no difference in his communicating. He doesn't stop talking, he talks all day every day. But I know the errors that he's making are only going to go away with more input. More of him hearing me speak, his dad's, because sisters speak, his teachers speak, his friends speak. And eventually he's going to start using the correct words the correct pronouns, the correct, whatever parts of speech that's going to come, but only with more input, I need to continue flooding him with input.
Whew, okay, that's it. Really short episode. But really important. Stop correcting your students. Just focus on the praise from episode one. Praise, praise, praise. Continue talking about yourself. I know that something else that we talked about last week is that like, you know, if you're frustrated that your students in Spanish too are still saying Yo, tiene y, yo, yo, le gusta, you need to take a second to pause and reflect? Have you been speaking very much about yourself, because you need to be completely self-centered, you have to be so self-centered all the time, and speak about yourself all the time? Otherwise, how else are they getting that input? How else are they hearing that first person singular, right? Really, really important. Also, another way you can sneak it in is anytime you're doing a write and discuss, or they are reading a text insert dialog. So, a character has to speak about themselves. They need to see, read and hear, right? That first person if we are expecting them to output it, that's so important. So, I really want you to think about that as you go into this next week. Or I guess we're already in this week. So, as you continue in this week, really consider like, am I correcting my students? How can I rein that in and just focus on the praise, because the error correction will happen itself, it will happen by itself with more, input, them hearing more of you, and then reading more texts in the target language. I hope this helps. I'm really excited about this series, and I can't wait for part three coming next week. Which is really ties it all together in building that, that culture of risk taking when you're not error correcting, you're building community and in turn continuing to build that culture where students feel brave enough to take those risks and speak in the target language in your classroom. I hope this is helpful, and I will talk to you next week. Until then I'll be teaching la vida loca and I'm sure you will be to. Take care!
Hey, teacher, guess what? I have a joke for you. What's a math teacher's favorite dessert? Pie. Have a great day. Thanks for listening.
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