Agen 2

Martin continues:

We were heartily welcomed in the rooms of the Centre Culturel d’Agen on Tuesday morning, received our handouts and the schedule for the week. We dived into it and had a Dutch lesson (the first out of three) with Alike, one of the presenters. It didn’t seem very difficult to us three Germans, as the Dutch is pretty close to some German dialects, but much harder to all the others.

After that Lynnette told us briefly about the Philosophy and History of CI teaching and The Three Steps. After lunch that most of us took in an excellent restaurant just around the corner, language classes started.

On this and most of the following days we hard the chance to observe different persons teaching students recruited from the region. Three nice Dutch ladies were excited to do French with Alike or Lynnette, and a group of students of different ages wanted English lessons with Judy and – on one morning – with Marie-Pierre, one of the participants.

All teachers insisted on getting to know their students first, and building rapport. As nobody knew the group beforehand, all teachers had to adapt their program to the people present. It was interesting to see the students relaxing more and more.

Each day there was the opportunity to exchange observations with Teri in a small group, following these questions:

1. What is the most important thing you observed that you are taking away from the teaching?
2. What is something you would like to practice this week?
3. What questions do you have?

Afterwards some person would get up and practice a specific skill to get coached, following the rules Teri was using at NTPRS. For observing teachers, she gave us a very detailed list of questions from which to choose, concerning the skills of personalization, question techniques, pacing, comprehension checks, teaching techniques, use of the native language, grammar instruction, acting, reading techniques, creating classroom community, and output.

\We also split up several times to get coached by one of the four presenters. From the beginning of the workshop, we had the great advantage of being a small group of 19 people that did not change, thus being able to build community and trust, lose our fears and open up progressively. Personally, I was reassured of what I am trying to do in my classes, and I got a lot of help and structure to be able to go further down the road.

Thank you to Alike for teaching us some Dutch, introducing us to Multiple Intelligences and sharing her big collection of materials with us. Thank you to Lynnette for showing us in four lessons how to choose, plan, use and vary the structures a certain group of students needed. Thank you to Teri, for being the rock in the waters and leading us always back to the three essentials of our work: Keep the language comprehensible, interesting and repetitive. Thank you to Judy for sharing with us her experience and her way of teaching and all the work she had to organize this workshop.

Thank you to the four of you for coaching us, for your loving care, your open-mindedness, your energy and your heart-warming personal involvement. And a big thank you to Lori, Alexandra, Aïcha, Bruno, Rachel, David, Petra, Marie-Pierre, Lillian, Ignacio, Jacqueline, Victoria, Glenda, Françoise and Daniel for being there.

It feels so good to have new friends!

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2 thoughts on “Agen 2”

  1. This is my colleague David’s comment he made on the moreTPRS list (he isn’t on this blog yet):

    It was just a week ago that I was sitting in Agen, in the south west of France at my very first TPRS workshop and the very first ETPRS event ever! If you haven’t already guessed: the ‘E’ is for European.

    Today was my first day back teaching and I have to say I had a great time implementing and experimenting. I had been teaching myself for the last 2 years or so, and although I had the support of a fellow colleague, Martin Anders, I still was unsure. The week gave me the reassurance and confidence to keep evolving my TPRS skills and today I felt a quality that I have so longed for slowely creeping in. The satisfaction was uplifting. The pupils today were extremely responsive, we laughed a lot and I only had one class of 14 year olds who were, quite simply, just being normal (it was still trying though).

    If it hadn’t been for Teri, Wiechart that is, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing. I decided to make the time, thanks Teri. To Lynnette “the saint” George, Alike Last and of course Judith Dubois, I owe a huge thanks for letting me sit in and “steal” all those wonderfull ideas and techniques aaaaand ask all those questions. The fable of “the grasshopper and the spider” will be told every year from now on. Judith, we haaaaaave to do it again next year.

    The week itself was perfectly paced. We started at the civil hour of 9am, which for european schools etc is highly unusual and late and the long lunch break gave us time to digest both physically and metaphorically/metaqphysically!

    A big thanks again to all involved!

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