Nah, this is not another post about extensive reading. Nor is it much of a rant or an attack on Dr. Krashen or his theories. There is actually not a whole lot about ELT here, so I will understand if you come back for the next post.
I just wanted to share two things (the other one will be in volume II) that I have been thinking about for a long time. It all started when Dr. Krashen came to South Korea for the 2011 KOTESOL International Conference. This is one on of the blog posts that has been on my mind since the moment I started this blog a year ago. I have been thinking about posting about these stories for a while but this post from Marisa Constantinides coupled with a bit of free time was just the push I needed.
[This perhaps slow to load link from KOTESOL's TEC magazine has a piece by Dr. Krashen on compelling input which is related to the above blog post.
I have also recently discovered Dr. Krashen's site which offers a great deal of resources]
Without any further ado/links, here comes Volume I of my “Real-life stories that involve Stephen Krashen“ series.
(It is always a challenge to describe “you had to be there” type moments but I am feeling particularly brave).
It was the 2011 KOTESOL International Conference and some of us were milling around in a courtyard enjoying the autumn air. It was before the opening plenary, maybe about 10 minutes before. I knew I’d be missing Stephen Krashen’s plenary because of some other pre-determined duties. I’d heard it would be online (the plenary itself is linked below) so I wasn’t all that worried. I’d already had my quick brush with Dr. Krashen earlier that morning as I
actually literally brushed up against him in the presenters’ registration line. He seemed like a nice and courteous chap as I eavesdropped on his conversations waiting in line. Anyway, so there I was in the courtyard relaxing, knowing that I didn’t need to race or fight for a chair to see the plenary. I had just introduced two educators/friends assuming they’d have a lot in common and a lot to talk about. I think my guess was right because they seemed to get along from the start. Meanwhile, I was chatting with another friend. This friend is someone I consider a deep and free thinker and someone not likely to be swayed by expectations or opinions from others. He has been described (possibly by himself) as a Jewish-looking Mel Gibson, which is neither here nor there. He is about my age and is working on his PHD dissertation. He is a committed professional who is devoted to professional development. As we were chatting a colleague of his raced past us. She said, “Aren’t you going to see Dr. Krashen?” in a tone that sounded to me half accusatory and half swooning as though she was talking about seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. He answered back in a sort of sing-songey but direct “No” that struck me as hilarious. I could barely keep my laughter in. I had to look away from my friend but I had a huge smile that I couldn’t contain.
(I do realize explaining why something is funny is probably just as bad as describing “you had to be there” moments but I will bravely continue)
Why was this so funny to me? Part of it was the relationship between my friend and his colleague. She is very experienced in the field and had been teaching at a prestigious university for quite a long time. I had met her previously and she struck me as the type of person that can only see one way. Her way. In the moment where my friend said he wasn’t going to see Krashen I imagined that this was something that just wouldn’t compute. I don’t think she imagined a world where someone would willingly miss out on the chance to hear Dr. Krashen speak. It was just split-second, nothing-really-happened-at-all moment but for me it was huge. Was it an example of a generation gap? A values gap? Some kind of gap? I really don’t know. I also don’t know why my friend chose not to see Krashen. Maybe my friend was just hungry. Maybe he doesn’t like plenaries. Maybe he feels he has read enough from Krashen. Maybe he was meeting someone at that time.
That’s it. Kind of a non-story that still makes me giggle when I think about it.
Interestingly, I met my friend last week and we talked about this story but I didn’t ask him about his choice.
Perhaps I should.
Here is the talk we missed:
(More on this next time…after I finally watch it. )
(Your homework is to watch it too. See you next time.)
[You can skip to Dr. Krashen @ 3:10 in the video]