Response to Erwan

author’s note: Erwan in Martinique had great success in PQA last week. It was a homerun moment. But his observing tutor suggested that there was not “much output”. Here is my response:

Erwan! Formidable! I am so happy that you and your students visited Whacky Town! And the details were so perfect – the class collective mind made that little pink fella Lacoste. And the toilet! Yes, they are predictable… Like my kid who plays the accordion while fishing in toilets. This is indeed great news! Your tutor was looking for more output. Why?

Don’t you think that the kids deserve to hear the language in a meaningful context for a while before having to produce something? Isn’t forced output going to raise that affective filter to a point where what you had today is suddenly gone because kids are feeling self-conscious and fearful of being laughed at, as they do in so many of their other classes, more concerned, in fact, about “getting it wrong” than actually speaking the language? Doesn’t language emerge naturally, as per Krashen’s supremely important research, for those who will hear it? Don’t you think your kids want that feeling in the room that little Lacoste brought in today and the toilet and all that, or do you want them to get on the defensive again, and experience the most destructive element in teaching, the sense on the part of the kids that they could be wrong? Sorry about the ranting, but I get that way when I see teachers trying to force language out of kids.

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