This post appeared a few years ago here:
There used to be, years ago, an expression that was going around the moretprs list: “Circle of Die!” Now I see that it should be “Circle and Die!”
How things have changed! Now some of us are finding that if we circle or favor repetitions over real communication, it happens at the expense of the level of interest in the classroom. This is a significant statement historically in our work together.
Not everyone will agree, of course, and that is for the best because it is only by vigorously testing everything in our classrooms that we grow and help our profession move down the road toward better and better language classes for our students.
In speaking with Udo last weekend, all of this became even more clear. Udo said:
…we were laughing quite a lot during that story [his students put him in the trash can] and I completely forgot about circling. The whole thing just felt good. Afterwards I thought I hadn’t done such a good job because of the missing circling and no new vocabulary. But after reading your comments I will feel free to use a little circling or don’t do it at all….
Many of us are becoming disenchanted – that is to say we are no longer enchanted by – circling and getting lots and lots and even more repetitions in our CI classrooms. We are starting to see that if what we are talking about with our students is interesting, then we don’t need to circle.
If that were to happen, then we could develop ways of teaching that are more individual to our own teaching styles, and give up the idea that there is a “one size fits all” product that we can purchase in the summer workshops and then go and install in our classrooms.
I have been waiting for this time for many years. I have been waiting for something real in this work. I am happy now to be disillusioned and disenchanted, and to be in an unlearning process about what TPRS tells me I need to do.
I like this shift into using my intuition more than my intellect if I am to really reach my students in the real way in class. It is hard to unlearn things like circling and targeting. We can do it. The new era in language education demands it. What era? It is the one that puts the kids and their interests first, and not the need of the teacher to get more reps.