In case it wasn’t obvious on Twitter and all over the internet, we had a FABULOUS time learning and playing at our Organic World Language Foundations workshop! Everyone left energized, hopeful, and ready to take the next step.
I know a lot of my language heroes who have put tons of time, energy, and love into the strategies they have developed will turn their heads at the thought of another program or “gimmick” that “teaches” language. Let me give you some reasons why OWL is absolutely NOT that, and why you need to at least give OWL a try.
- Organic World Language is just that. It’s exactly that: completely 100% organic. You take the principals (100% research-based, standards-based, and grounded in the tremendous work done by ACTFL) and you apply them in your own personalized way. There are no materials to buy, there is no set pattern, there’s nothing that your students will grow tired of or roll their eyes at– and if they do, you just change it! That brings me to the next reason…
- OWL is really, truly 100% student centered. No more sage on the stage, center-of-attention, teacher-as-the-focus “instruction”. You know all of those strategies that you’re always researching, trying, then trying to perfect? And you know how much time you spend trying to keep your thumb on your students, trying to force them to obey and “JUST SPEAK THE TARGET LANGUAGE FOR GOODNESS SAKES!”? I mean, c’mon, don’t they know what’s good for them? That struggle is over with OWL. With OWL, your class will only BE students interacting with each other in the target language. Well, that mixed with reading and writing (and then discussing!) in the target language. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? That’s why you REALLY have to experience this!!!
- Every “gimmick” has research that it spouts as it’s basis for being the number one way to teach a language. But who combines crucial neuroscience, research on social and emotional learning, the whole child, standards-based learning, research on play and brain development, 21st Century skills, proficiency-based learning, AND national standards along with ALL (and by “all,” I mean not just from one leading researcher) of the leading second language acquisition research? Those of us who love to learn and grow and try to do the best for our students, we KNOW about these things, but if you’re like me, it’s nearly impossible to reconcile it all. Am I right?! OWL has done the work for you. I’m not saying that I won’t still try things and fail, I’m just saying that I am seeing the WHOLE picture now. All of the puzzle pieces are coming together, and it’s really exciting!
- Last, but not least, If you love and swear by the ACTFL OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) just like I do, you will love OWL. I think back to my full OPI training that I received last summer. I remember on the last day, we discussed the “Implications and Applications” of the OPI. It was great! The trainer even handed out a guide that showed what a typical lesson would look like. Exactly like the OPI, the lesson should have a warm-up, a serious of probes and level checks (in the form of questioning), and then a wind-down. Great! I’m already to teach my students in a way that will really be proficiency-based! Right? Wrong. The next time I sat down to lesson plan and looked at my cool little OPI lesson plan sheet, I drew a blank. “How in the…?” I don’t know, maybe it’s my stupidity or lack of creativity, but I just couldn’t see it in my head. Guess what. Not anymore! OWL give the whole picture of what that questioning process looks like with the probes and the level checks (I’m using ACTFL OPI language, not OWL’s terminology, just FYI), and IT’S THE KIDS CREATING THE LANGUAGE! Ahhhh, it’s brilliant. It’s refreshing. It’s rigorous. It’s a relief! It’s exhilarating. It’s AUTHENTIC. It’s transformative!
PS. HUGE thanks to our trainer and the founder of OWL: the FABULOUS, (Daring) Darcy Rogers 🙂 We can’t thank you enough for putting Arkansas on the right path!