We are all just panning for gold. We are searching for nuggets lying amidst the skills of TPRS and the daily practice of teaching. We seek flashes of gold, something, the right idea, the right technique, the right way to personalize, that will make us better teachers.
In my opinion, however, focusing in this way only on skills is merely a portion of the game. Such nuggets are no doubt important to find and utilize, but success does not hinge on finding only them. The teacher must also focus as much as possible on being her real authentic self in the classroom.
The method allows, encourages this tranformation away from being someone whom one is not in the classroom. A really personalized classroom requires real personalities to interact in authentic ways as information is exchanged, even if the information is bizarre and make believe. That is called play, and it is not something that occurs between robots.
What kind of things are needed for the teacher to have a chance to become more real in her classroom?
1. The classroom itself must function without clutter. Superfluous objects like books, backpacks, too many posters, and things like that affect the quality of communication in the classroom more than one may realize. Attempting to teach a TPRS class in clutter is like driving a Mercedes through a junk yard.
2. The students must function with clear eyes, squared shoulders, and no slouching. This goes for every student without exception. When students perceive that the teacher is willing to not be listened to, they will not listen. What, then, is the point of learning any of the TPRS skills, if this is not done?
3. The teacher must not try to function as a clown or as a cheerleader. The teacher who clowns around a lot thinking that the method can work in that setting, or the one who loves traditional grammar instruction and tries to bend and push that into their work with comprehensible input, etc. end up bending the method so out of shape that it can’t work. Why paint a Mercedes in circus colors or drag a load of bricks around behind it, as in:
The method does not function well under skewed conditions. Better to not claim to do TPRS at all rather than slant and skew it into a distorted form like those seen in funhouse mirrors. Your classroom is not a funhouse, but a place of learning.
Go willingly through the necessary internal and emotional changes to become yourself in your classroom.
Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could