Use Of English

Bryce asked Blaine the following question:
Blaine –
There is a thread on benslavic.com (blog) about staying in English and comprehensible input right now. I started it off with a quote that I have heard you use from the novel Speak by Laurie Anderson.  The blog is titled “The 90% -99% Jump”.
People are really struggling with English creeping in to the TPRS class.  It is up to 70% or more in some teachers’ classes.  I would be interested in your opinion on this.
Bryce
Blaine answered:
It is not TPRS unless you are asking questions in the target language and getting a response.  Although we do encourage using short explanations and translations that is a very minor part of class.  The purpose of English is the make the questions comprehensible. 
I taught a class today.  It was at the end of a 90 minute class.  I said something in English near the end of the class and a student said, “I didn’t know he spoke English.” 
I had spoken English before but the kid didn’t remember it because I spoke so much Spanish.  This again was a level one class and they weren’t a TPRS class.
Blaine
Bryce responded:
Blaine,
I totally agree, but the explanations and miscellaneous words in English keep creeping in.  This happens a lot and it is something that even experienced teachers need to be reminded of frequently.  I saw it in myself and I wanted it to stop.  I had a student in each class count the words in English I used in each hour long class.  The average was like 20 words.  Some teachers have said they didn’t think they could do that.
Bryce
So, no resolution here, but an interesting exchange nonetheless.

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2 thoughts on “Use Of English”

  1. Is it just me, or do others tend to speak much more English on reading days? Most of the English, during those days, comes in the form of instructions on how to read/translate the text at that moment (I try to switch it up), or as short grammar explanations. The act of translating into English makes me lose my discipline to speak in L2 the rest of the time, unless we are spinning the reading.

  2. We need the English because we are translating. The creation of an uninterruped flow of L1 as we read the L2 chorally creates a FLOW not unlike what happens when we are in L2 in a story.
    It is the interruption of same by my show off grammar personality, the guy who is in love with the pluperfect subjunctive, who can go unnecessarily into a too long grammar explanation and think it is helping them, BUT IS NOT, that I am working on. It’s the interruptions of the reading that I must stop.

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