Week 3, Day 5: Utopia Glimpses!

In TP feedback today I (re)highlighted the importance of pacing and timing to ‘protect’ final freer practice/productive stages from getting minimized or pushed out altogether. What a shame, right? Agreed? Indeed!

This has been a major problem through to TP 6-7ish…

Today both lessons prioritized practice & productive effectively so great extended student centered activities unfolded nicely over the final stage. In this atmosphere, they truly run the show, and the teacher is wise to monitor and engage, but also step back and disengage. Everyone can feel the shift in initiative and attention in the room. And what often emerges is…

…a glimpse of utopia!

I admitted that it might sound slightly grandiose, but I explained my reasoning:

Here we have men and women from East Asia, S. America, the Middle East, and elsewhere sharing private intimate info, cooperating intensively, and laughing and smiling to no end.

Where else do you see this? How joyful is it – watch these interactions: they are BRILLIANT in their pure humanity and ‘basic goodness’ (h/g Chogyam Trungpa)…it really makes you feel good, and optimistic, and positive about the possibilities embedded in thus thing we’re ‘selling’, a global language for inter-everything communication.

Sure, we’ve got great traditional and pedagogical/SLA reasons and rationales that describe the value of interaction and production etc.

But maybe my somewhat ‘grandiose’ image of this ‘glimpse of utopia’ will resonate with our trainees. And I wanted to show them a kind of unapologetic sincerity and idealism there; the kind of thing that helps drive people to stick with THIS for the long term, even when material succeed isn’t really in the picture.

But before everything else, the goal is very simple: give them a way – outlandish, sure! – to keep that viscerally in mind in order to ‘protect’ this key lesson stage from the (pinevitable) crunch as they balance and struggle their way through the lesson’s path….

…up the valley, through the clouds, to our secret classroom Shangri-La. 😉

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