An Odd Experience

I had an odd experience today. A teacher showed up from another school and wanted to see a story. So I chucked the reading class that I had planned and grabbed Vol. 1 of Anne’s book and opened it and did that story. It was good. At the end of class, the teacher said that she had been to other TPRS classes, but that mine was very different.

I have long suspected that most teaching who claim to do TPRS/CI don’t. Not really. They think they are doing it, but they aren’t. I’m not taking their inventory, and I may be the one misrepresenting the approach, but it is worth ruminating about here on the blog.

There is a specific way to do TPRS/CI and when people don’t do that, and then claim that they are, the misinformation gets spread around and traditional teachers’ skepticism is deepened. We really don’t need that.

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6 thoughts on “An Odd Experience”

  1. TPRS = telling a long, complicated story at the beginning of a chapter to introduce all the vocabulary the kids need to know

  2. I thought I was doing TPRS for a few years before I understood the concept of circling, personalization and comprehensibility. I followed Karen Rowan’s TPRS script book for our textbook Paso a Crapo. The results were better than the textbook but still not as great as what I have using CI. I suspect the same thing, Ben. A number of teachers think they are doing TPRS but it’s just telling a story at kids rather than with kids.

  3. Drew’s comment “at rather than with kids” struck me upside the head like a hammer. Because I only see my students once a week and the majority are really young (k-1) I’ve been working with scripts that were familiar books to them.
    This semester I asked them to jump in and write their own stories with some verb structures they knew making it more like the Matavia style script. They worked first as individuals and then together in groups led by older students (middle school)–Yes, that is the gap in my class. We now have 2 stories hammered out in translation. But, it was a structure I set about a lady going to the store. Personalization showed up in a birthday present for her son (hmm someone’s was that week).
    The one child who comes for about 20 minutes and did this as homework asked if he could something different. I said sure–but use those “words”. Which he did. But, it was a far different story. He loves numbers. He created this funny script about numbers bumping into each other to create new numbers. Its a riot. Was it out of bounds? A little, but I can teach the structures that are out there and we can have something great.
    So in honoring the writing of those who stayed in bounds, next week their stories. And then we will move to the new story Flippo gave us. It still builds on what they know, adds in new material, and is theirs not mine. And I see that is the key.
    Baby steps. I take baby steps each week as I progress towards owning TPRS as my personal teaching style.

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