Hippo in the Room


So, every year we play this game.

Evaluators from Well-Known Organization (face to face): Wow, what a great program! Everyone is enjoying it! They know so much Chinese! Look how they can read 130 characters in two weeks of class! You put out a daily newspaper at their reading level! Gosh, TPRS and that Other Method work So Well Together! What a great thing!

Written Report from Well-Known Organization: Great program. Just — well, could you just change a few little things about the TPRS? I mean, just don’t use English, and make sure to put a specific goal up on the board for each day’s class, and make them output more, and…

The Other Method teacher put it really, really well: We like pandas. We like hippos. But this is like saying, we like both of them, but why don’t hippos have fur?

I really wish the Well-Known Organization would wake up to the fact that hippos can walk quite well without having fur, and in fact, they swim better without it. Stop trying to force us to knit sweaters for our hippos just to make what is happening and succeeding here match your too-narrow checklist. You are supposed to be discovering Best Practices. Given that this program shows hard data indicating significant growth, why can’t you accept that it might just be because there is a Hippo in the room — and not try to disguise it as a Panda all the time?

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Powered by WordPress