You may have never heard of System D. I hadn’t until last week. Foreignpolicy.com ran a story on October 28 about System D that reminds me of those of us that are improvising our way to Comprehensible Input-based instruction in the midst of the dominant textbook-ruled culture in the foreign language teaching world. Here is how Foreign Policy describes System D:
“System D is a slang phrase pirated from French-speaking Africa and the Caribbean. The French have a word that they often use to describe particularly effective and motivated people. They call them débrouillards. To say a man is a débrouillard is to tell people how resourceful and ingenious he is. The former French colonies have sculpted this word to their own social and economic reality. They say that inventive, self-starting, entrepreneurial merchants who are doing business on their own, without registering or being regulated by the bureaucracy and, for the most part, without paying taxes, are part of “l’economie de la débrouillardise.” Or, sweetened for street use, “Systeme D.”
The System D economy is the economy of resourcefulness, ingenuity and improvisation. It used to be small, but now makes up 50% of all workers in the developing world. System D is where the the action is, and where the jobs are, in developing countries. It is one of the few drivers of the global economy in recent years.
Apparently a number of well-known chefs have appropriated the term to describe the art and challenge of improvising a gourmet meal made from whatever is on hand in the kitchen.
What a perfect picture of what we are trying to do in our classes! That is our goal each day in a TPRS class. We are aiming at creating gourmet TL meals with what we have on hand. We take the raw material of student experiences, interests and abilities and combine them into tasty meals of Comprehensible Input to nourish our students’ acquisition.
System D economy is growing and becoming a major aspect of the economies of Africa and the Caribbean and even developed economies. And in a similar way, Comprehensible Input-based teaching, led by TPRS, is growing.
Stay the course, my friends.