Report from the Field – Robert Harrell

Here is a report from le Chevalier de L’Ouest:

Hi Ben,

My brother was recently hired to teach French 2 at a local university. He receives students from a variety of programs and hands them off to a very grammar-oriented teacher. However, after listening to me for years as I talked about the way I teach, he attended a workshop by Katya Paukova in August, and TPRS makes a lot of sense to him, so he is doing as much of it as he can. They started classes this week, and my brother sent me the e-mail below.


I now have my first anecdote as a TPRS teacher. In today’s class I messed up the ending time and ran over by 10 minutes because I thought I was supposed to keep going until 11:30 instead of 11:20. So there I was with my power point going over the high frequency words in our review of chapter 1 from last term. Almost half the class has been out of French for two years or more. One guy has been out for four years. And I even have the husband of one student whom I was able to talk into joining us yesterday. He is a linguistics minor, and they have been married for 3 weeks. I thought he would be able to catch up, and they would benefit from the common subject and time together. So we are reviewing “habiter”, “travailler”, “s’appeler”, “aller bien” and so on telling stories and asking questions.

At 11:29 I looked at the clock again and realized that I had gone overtime by 10 minutes. So I confessed immediately and apologized to the class. They all said, “We didn’t even notice. We were having fun.” And that must have been true, because not one of them was fidgeting or picking up books to tell me to stop. I did enjoy that compliment. I’m still working this thing out, so it could be better, but days 1 and 2 have been good. Now I have the weekend off to try to get ahead a bit.



6 thoughts on “Report from the Field – Robert Harrell”

  1. A linguistics minor, huh? I hope he doesn’t get disappointed with not having as much grammar instruction.

    Watch out, Herrells squared might just tear the house down (on traditional teaching) altogether!

  2. Sabrina Sebban_Janczak

    Wow Robert, another great testimony and ditto what everyone ahead of me said.
    No wonder he fell to the right side. Katya is just so wonderful!

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