Posted by: Michel Baker | February 28, 2018

La Maestra Loca, Annabelle Allen

While navigating February Carolina back roads flanked by vast rolling greens against a backdrop of leafless, winter branches, I was occasionally surprised by one single burst of bright, flowering Jessamine or Peach.  They are hints of the fact that old is out, new has come…the promise of youth and spring.

Our fearless leader of TPRS / CI Teachers in the Carolinas Mike Peto, along with Tony Williams of East Wake Academy, flew Annabelle Allen, a.k.a. “La Maestra Loca,” to present this past Saturday to 50 World Language teachers in Raleigh, and I drove to see her.  Two others of us from South Carolina, Laura Cenci of Beaufort and Alexandra Patrascu of Lexington, joined the group of mostly North Carolina and Virginia educators.

Annabelle debuted a beautiful a-frame dress with gray and rose “Day of the Dead” print, trademark crinoline and Converse sneakers.  Her beautiful smile radiated through a coiffed platinum wave and cheerful, silver glitter-eyes.  This energizing young woman invited us early via playful, joyful tones, and we knew that this would be no ordinary training.Annabelle made quite an entrance in a “loca” sort of way, hiding playfully behind mobile boards, blasting across to different parts of the room, before finally lighting front and center of us, congregated in a desk-less chevron, a la Fred Jones.

Annabelle has been trained by the best of the best, including Diana Noonan, Carol Gaab and Joe Dziedzic, among others, in the newest CI Methods, and she has never had to contend much with the old teaching methods of the 1900’s.

The old methods developed when we had finally become so “advanced” to be able to accurately dissect the three ways language is used, how language learning gets assessed and even the grammatical makeup of language itself.  The age old way of acquiring language via meaningful, comprehensible input had vanished for nearly a century, with most graduates lamenting, “I had two years of it in high school, and I can’t say a thing.”

As we return to the effective ways of old, Comprehensible Input Based Methods like those that Annabelle taught us, we see a resurgence of true language acquisition, against a dull background of methods that died out in the last century.  Annabelle is an integral part of this new movement, one that is gaining momentum and will never fade.

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