I wanted to share with you how two fellow Spanish teachers of mine have greatly improved the level of interest in TPRS / CI thanks to their collaboration with members of this blog.
First there is the case of a teacher named Elizabeth Oxandale who formerly taught in my district and then went to Colorado to study for an advanced degree and then taught last year in the Denver Public Schools. She says that she worked with Diane Noonan and knows you and others from DPS. She says that she was hired by the principal of the school she taught at BECAUSE she was not a TPRS teacher and thanks to all of you in DPS she has been converted to being an energetic fighter for what is good and true and holy (TPRS /CI). I was totally blown away when I saw her last week and she shared her experience with DPS last year. I now think that at some point I had heard something mentioned on your blog about a teacher named Liz from Kansas but never made the connection.
My second big surprise was from a Spanish teacher named Delia Perez in my district who is from Chicago. While she was in Chicago this summer she had some friends who worked at one of the Chicago Public Schools and asked them if she could observe some of their foreign language classrooms. (KCK schools finish at the end of May and Chicago schools go thru much of the month of June.) She specifically asked to see if there were any TPRS teachers because she had heard me talk about it so much. She went to see Sabrina’s class and was totally mesmerized by what she observed in Sabrina’s class. At the start of our first meeting of foreign language teachers of our district last week she began her little report of what she did this summer by apologizing to the group for having heard me talk so much about TPRS but not really getting it. She is hungry to know more about TPRS. Also, at NTPRS, Sabrina had told me of Delia observing her class.
And then at our meeting of language teachers I told Delia that Sabrina was going to teach in the district (DPS) that Elizabeth (Liz) just came from. So many connections.
Also, my principal is going to pay to send the foreign language teachers of my high school (Wyandotte High) to a Blaine Ray Workshop that Donna Tatum will give here Oct. 18 – 19.
As for my Spanish classes that I teach I am having the best start ever in terms of being a comprehensible input classroom. I have more fully developed the whole thing about giving students jobs. A huge obstacle in my classroom (actually the entire school district) is the fact that they send huge numbers of native speakers to beginning level classes. (And yes we do have native speaker Spanish classes on top of that.) This is an absolutely intolerable situation but one that we have been unable to change. I manage to get by by making the class entertaining for the native speakers and also give them things to do to help the class. I also encourage them to read on their own if they want to and have available a large number of books in Spanish. I think most members of the blog would simply say that this is a situation which should be rejected. I must try harder to change it. However, I am grateful for the fact that my principal loves what I do and understands the importance of comprehensible input.
This year I teach only Spanish at the high school instead of Spanish and ESL as I did last year. ESL is truly a pathetic lot. I attended an ESL conference (MIDTESOL) in Ames, Iowa last October. It was a conference that was driven by college instructors who are truly clueless as to what to do with teaching a beginning language learner. And they pretty much admit to it.
The keynote speaker was a guy who has published many books and tells everyone of the importance of learning new vocabulary by making lists of words.
I also continue to teach Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese at Johnson County Community College here on the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro area. I have not contributed much to the blog this past year but I devour a large amount of what appears on it.
Also, I want to mention that I appreciated meeting a whole number of members of the blog at NTPRS in Dallas. We missed you.