This response to Julio Maestas from me in January of 2016 points the way toward this new focus on using the Forum for collaboration. I am finding that the Forum is a more user-friendly way to interact for a true back-and-forth of collegial sharing.
Julio was new to the blog at that time and had some questions on getting his department and district to transition to TPRS.
Here is my edited reply:
In my view, and the goal of all training of newer people, is to make them fully aware that the heart of TPRS lies in spontaneity and personalized non-targeted discussion, which is a scary place to be when you are new. New people must not be made to think that TPRS is a fixed or scripted method. They must make the leap beyond that.
We can only reach teachers who are willing to change on a deep level. I have proof – Susan Gross is the best presenter in the world on TPRS, and I asked her over ten years ago how many people actually change after one of her workshops, if she could venture a guess on that. She said something astounding, that only 1 in 100 attendees to her workshops actually TRY TPRS, and that only 1 in 100 of those who try it end up doing it.
What I am afraid of is that TPRS is now moving into a place where people think, naturally and innocently, that the process can be written down. So many people are writing it down, including me. (At least my newest book is based on the idea of liberating ourselves from targets and planning.) The idea that when TPRS becomes a “method” is the day it starts to die is something to keep in mind always.
I love it that you understand that and so won’t put too much pressure on yourself to share with others by working too hard at sharing what most of them will reject, given what Susan told me. Right? You will notice that our group here is made up largely of teachers who get what I say above. That is why I privately think that they are the very best teachers in the nation, by far – because they deeply get how people actually acquire languages, something most language teachers just don’t get.
I would add that I want to be more active here on the Forum and help with new people more. I ignore the Forum far too much. This morning I decided to visit here and I am glad I did. I think that we can turn this Forum into a true New Teachers Forum and ONLY focus on the most simple things (which are not simple at all to beginners!) and thank you for being a part of that initiative.
Now all I have to do is get myself reading over here. I think I can, I think I can…
Late May, 2016 Update:
I thought I could…it only took half a year. Better late than never! See you over there.