Here is a bio from Kristin:
I wanted to send you my bio for the PLC, so here it is!
I’m Kristin Duncan, and I’m a new member of the PLC. I just returned to teaching in Canada after spending the last year in England, and I am so happy to be back! This year I am on a temporary contract until the end of the year teaching French at a school in Airdrie, Alberta (just outside Calgary, Alberta). I’m only teaching 1 French 20/30 split class (grade 11s and 12s) and 1 French 9/10 split class because the numbers of students choosing to study French is pretty low. I’m also teaching a French Immersion class (Social Studies 10) next semester, but those students are fluent in French so I won’t be using TPRS for that class. Right now I use TPRS 100% of the time in my second language classes, and I will never go back to the textbook method! This is only my second year of teaching full-time and I have used TPRS ever since my last teaching practicum.
I struggle with classroom management, especially with the older students (I think because I was too relaxed with them at the beginning of the year). Part of the problem with my upper level French class is that 4/18 students are past French Immersion students who are just plain bored, because they already speak the language. Their written skills are another story though, so they still have a lot to learn, but they don’t realize this and think they “know it all”. I wish they were not allowed to take the second language classes, but it is almost encouraged at my school so that they can have an “easy” course that gives them a good mark for when they are applying to universities.
Although I have been struggling this year, it is a breeze compared to teaching in England last year! England was not a fun place to teach, and the way language classes are set up is horrible. They do even more memorizing and less learning than I’ve seen in language classes in Canada, plus they “set” the students so that they are in different levels (1-6) according to their level of intelligence (as determined by the teachers). You can imagine how that makes the lower level students feel.
Since it’s been over a year since I last taught with TPRS (I was not allowed to in England and was substitute teaching for much of the time anyways), I have forgotten some things and am hoping this PLC will be a great resource and place of support for me. The other teachers at my school have never heard of TPRS (like most teachers in Canada) but the head of the language department and the administration are supportive of it and loved everything I discussed about it in my interview for the job. The language department head and I are even working together on a professional learning project on the use of novels in the L2 classroom (he teaches German), so that is great.
I was at NTPRS in St. Louis in 2011 and learned a lot there. I am hoping to attend this summer as well, and am looking forward to updates in this PLC to keep me going until then!