I had a post-observation conference today with one of the administrators who observes my 6th grade Chinese classes.
It was pretty ordinary, really, and the comments he had were pretty much like those brought up by others who have observed the classes.
The thing that really caught my attention, though, was the way he *got it*. He said specifically that it was obvious that there was something different about this language class. Like the other observers, he noted that the kids were speaking an enormous amount of language compared to the time they had been in the class. But what I really appreciated was how he said specifically that he understood that this methodology was completely different from the way language is usually taught, and that I should look over his suggestions to see if he was coming at them too much from a traditional perspective.
I agreed with most of what he said, but I really, really appreciated him realizing that I’m doing something DIFFERENT, radically different, and that the usual cut-and-paste, fill-in-the-blanks approach to evaluating it maybe doesn’t work either. That there would not necessarily be “closure” after a 30 minute lesson, and the kids would not necessarily have “mastered” certain things by the end of the period. I talked to him about how language acquisition in TPRS is ongoing and overlapping, and how the kids are responsible for the cumulative mass of what has been acquired throughout the year, and — get this — he offered to change his recommendations based on those ideas.
Thank you, thank you, Mr. Shall-Remain-Nameless. You made my day.