Should we mix TPRS/CI instruction with textbook instruction? Nathaniel Hardt discusses why it is unwise to do so:
1. Kid-centered TPRS/CI is of interest to kids. Textbooks are not. When required by my school to use a textbook, I decided that I would try to use readings from the textbook. Then I read it. It was boring. I was bored so I knew the kids would be bored. I closed the book.
2. There is an inverse relationship between eyelids and textbooks. The wider we open our textbooks the tighter we close our eyes.
3. There is a new phone app called World Lens which is a point and translate app. This makes obsolete just about anything except face to face interaction.
4. The textbook chops up language into parts; TPRS/CI treats language as a whole. TPRS/CI is like leading students up a staircase to fluency; the textbook is like carrying the kids up a few steps and then giving a test. Since you can’t go anywhere from there, you go back down and go up another “staircase.”
5. Using textbook listening exercises does nothing for student listening skills because the textbook writers take a whole class of listening time and expect the kids to be able to understand based on memorizing vocabulary and grammar. There is no sense of the enormous amount of time/work necessary to sensitize the student’s brain and ear to spoken language.
6. Focusing on textbook grammar leads to a lot of English in the class. Using a lot of English in the FL class is like talking baseball in the history class; it is off task.
7. Focusing on grammar divides students into cans and cannots. This requires homogeneous grouping. Language and TPRS/CI unite the class. Grammar has a way of marginalizing the majority.
8. A lot of work goes into modifying textbooks for any approach. Why pay all of that money if it is not going to reduce your workload? And why pay all that money in the first place?
9. We used to say that at least the textbook is a good resource. With the internet resources online a textbook is at best an obsolete, overpriced resource.
10. Presenting material in thematic units or in pacing guides destroys the confidence of students and is boring. They can’t remember all the words in the lists. Rather, we would do much better to introduce expressions of time, etc. in very small doses, sprinkling them lightly into our instruction throughout the year, rather than confining them to one chapter in a book, to be forgotten after the test.