John Krueger

John just joined our group and here introduces himself. I appreciate it and invite any other new members to follow his lead. This applies to long time members as well. How can we help each other if we don’t know each other?

Hi everyone. Glad to have found this community!  I am very impressed with what I have read on these pages and can tell that it will be an enormous, enriching resource. Looking forward to following the discussions and learning a lot in the months and years to come! And contributing too!

My name is John Krueger and I live in Louisville, Kentucky.  I’ve been at it in the teaching profession for over 20 years. In my first ten years, I first learned about TPRS and became more and more focused on it.  Early on, I was set on getting rid of my text books and making major changes. The learning experience improved for students year after year I’m happy to say and the program grew. This was all good but the success came at a cost. Since I was the only teacher of German in my building, I had to prepare all levels. For me this meant five preps per day, one for each level: Ger I, II, III, IV, and AP.  The stress levels took their toll. 

Ben: My immediate comment and I hope everyone in this group is aware from the past five years of articles of this one critical point: There are no preps for different levels with NTCI (we do not use the term TPRS anymore here – we use the Invisibles which are based on NTCI. Again, we don’t need to prepare our classes for NTCI classes. It is because of the Star Sequence.. Read about NTCI here:

Also search the term Star Sequence for information on that groundbreaking curriculum.

The Invisibles/One Word Images system – my new system based on NTCI – represents a heavily researched and painfully attained over years new curricular approach that soars on different CI wings. NTCI is based on TPRS but only in the same way a house is built on a foundation. And my point is this to address John’s point above – we can work from the same Invisibles clay and the ground-breaking Star Sequence curriculum and mould each prep level from the same clay so we have no planning, no prep and much more fun.

John: Looking back at this time, I realize now that I was developing a love hate relationship with TPRS.  Those moments when it worked in the classroom were wonderful I couldn’t deny that. However, the amount of energy that I needed to keep it all going was not sustainable.  

Ben: Why did I leave TPRS? For the same reason. When a way of teaching like TPRS is not based fully on the research, it becomes unsustainable.

I quit the high school gig due to some disagreements with administration and eventually got a job in an established remote-learning operation in the state. It was a welcome break in my career, for sure.  Things went pretty well there for many years. Just last year however I made a big decision to get back into the classroom. I took a job at a challenging middle school in the city. That’s redundant I realize: all middle schools are challenging! Well, I survived that year and now this upcoming school year – in a month from today!-  will take over a program at a local high school. The position will be tough as it is a high-risk school. But having had an excellent introductory CI workshop over the summer – taught by Andrew Olimpi –  – and in so doing, getting acquainted with this community, I feel confident about moving forward. 

I do have a question that I would like to hear feedback on if anyone out there would like to respond:  I am definitely excited and prepared to go all CI for my level I and focussing on moving SLOWLY at the beginning to establish the right tone. 

Ben: How to start the year has been addressed in my recent books. It’s especially well described in the two new Invisibles books.

JohnL I want to do the same for levels II and III as well, but wonder about the danger that such plans could backfire and be met with a strong current of resentment, as many in those levels may feel a strong attachment to their former teacher.

In addition, it may be best to go full monty CI only with the level I as it will be truly my own. With the other classes then I would go ahead and use a textbook as the teacher before me has done.  Thoughts? 

Ben: on this point see the discussion posted here a few days ago that was initiated by Diane:

Thanks again and look forward to working together!

John Krueger



9 thoughts on “John Krueger”

  1. If you have the freedom to, I would just go full-on Invisibles with all of your classes. If some reject it and break the classroom rules you go back to the textbook with them until they beg you to go back to CI.

    You may think that they are attached to their previous teacher, BUT they have not seen the Invisibles yet. With the exception of some very troubled students I’ve had (I teach the track in our school that has the at-risk kids) that have problems at home and are always getting in-school suspensions, the students LOVE the Invisibles.

    Dr. Karen Lichtman at NTPRS said that with regard to explicit teaching one one end of the spectrum we have grammar teaching and on the other end of the spectrum we have NTCI (no explicit teaching at all). She said TPRS is somewhere in between.

    It’s my position though that the Ben Slavic style TPRS as described in the TPRS in a Year! Book and The Big CI Book was actually NTCI without Ben knowing it. The Matava Scripts were also a precursor to the Invisibles because they are stories with an ending, not stories that go on for up to 3 class periods (this kind of think still is promoted at NTPRS).

    Also Ben (as far as I can remember) never advocated the current TPRS practice of “triangling” that Blaine is promoting. (Requiring student actors to respond to questions in complete sentences and looking for “breakdown” with regard to correct verb forms.)

    Funny that I was at IFLT 2016 but for some reason did not go to any of Ben’s sessions, if I did I probably would have found out about the Invisibles a bit earlier.

  2. Explicit Teaching———————————————-TPRS———————–NTCI
    (no explicit teaching)

    (She did this with her hands in the air)

  3. I really like this idea Greg. It is better than mine, which is simply to not allow second and upper level kids in on the game. That’s what I told Diane. But what you wrote here is best:

    if you have the freedom to, I would just go full-on Invisibles with all of your classes. If some reject it and break the classroom rules you go back to the textbook with them until they beg you to go back to CI. You may think that they are attached to their previous teacher, BUT they have not seen the Invisibles yet. With the exception of some very troubled students I’ve had (I teach the track in our school that has the at-risk kids) that have problems at home and are always getting in-school suspensions, the students LOVE the Invisibles….

  4. Today was the first day of school! I really appreciate these ideas, Greg and Ben. I’ve decided to see how it goes with the Invisibles in Level II for a week – focusing on training – and make a decision then. I’ll let you know what happens! -John

  5. I totally agree with Greg, here, John. Try Card Talk with your upper levels at the beginning of the year. As limiting as Card Talk is, in comparison to OWI and other strategies, it moves the students into another realm of learning. From the left to the right side of the brain. From analytical thought to creative. If after a week of Card Talk and maybe another week dabbling into a mini-story, you feel the need to go to the textbook, you can always have those first couple of weeks with the students to remember what it was like. Something to aspire to recreate and build upon.

    Perhaps you don’t have to say to the students that your way of teaching is in conflict with the previous teacher’s way. Perhaps you can avoid having any kind of conversation comparing you to the previous teacher. Believe me, I know how painful it can be to hear from kids things like, “I just loved [previous teacher’s name here]. She was great! This stuff is bogus.” I’ve changed schools enough to get those statements. Usually, though, students say that just to try to test your breaking point. To see if they can get you angry. Don’t fall into that trap. They will appreciate you even if they don’t show it.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Sean! Yes, I have decided to continue on this upcoming week with more Card Talk and trying to train students to get in the right place for CI. I will have to apply more strictness in my behavior expectations and let them see that there are consequences when they do not comply. Over half the class are seniors and it is hard to get them to refrain from the socializing that they may be used to from the previous year.

  6. John you are not alone. The general zeitgeist of inattention in schools, esp. w seniors, shows how far afield we have come from doing the right thing, since they are children and need firm guidance. Even if they are in big bodies, they are still children.

    We need more adults in classrooms and what is happening is that we are getting more and more young kids in the classroom only acting like teachers, while the few adults left keep retiring, or just leaving the field.

    That leaves you and the few other adults remaining who must insist on proper decorum from their students.

    My suggestion is to not teach seniors, who have become swine, using the Invisibles. That really is throwing pearls before swine.

    P.S. Please also share this on the FB page, which provides more direct discussion on the Invisibles.

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