A Social Responsibility

Dr. Krashen has set before us an enormous challenge by his suggestion that we learn languages unconsciously. That is because learning in schools is typically about conscious, analytical, left brain deciphering of subject matter.
Thus, in languages, we have created books to help us present the language, but that very fact takes us, if Krashen is right, out of the one place in our brains, the unconscious mind, where language learning actually occurs.
Not only that, but the school vision of language learning as an academic (conscious, analytical) progress process conflicts directly with Krashen’s vision that language learning is essentially a social process. Academic progress process vs. social process. Hmm.
Yes. The set of expectations that we give a child in a book based classroom is exactly the opposite of the set of expectations that we give a child in a Krashen based/comprehensible input based classroom. 
In the former, the child is asked to show up in class as an academic being, with no real responsibility to the group except to do well on tests. In the latter, the child must show up in class as a social being, with a social responsibility to the group, doing their 50% to hold up the reciprocal nature of CI based instruction and make it work. 
In the former, the child is primarily a thinking being. In the latter, the child actually experiences feelings. There is nothing wrong with thinking in a school, it is what schools are for, but the problem is that we don’t learn languages by thinking, but rather by hearing them.
We must hear them for thousands of hours, in interesting and meaningful ways in a social setting that is essentially an unconsious process in which we focus on the meaning of the message and not the medium of the message, thus freeing up the unconscious mind to work its magic.
Now that I am asking my students to show up socially as human beings in my class, I am a much happier teacher. I don’t feel so alone or distant from my students. My students aren’t robots and either am I a robot.
There really is a difference between the academic and the social responsibility of students in schools when it comes to language learning. We teach in a field that is not simply academic, if the results are to be tangible.



26 thoughts on “A Social Responsibility”

  1. Help !
    This year is going great, I’m a total ‘Ben’ head b/c all of his ideas, combined with Blaine’s are awesome and effective, but one class is flat, shut down, no response, sits and stares at me for 53 min. every day. Every year, there’s a class like this. Any ideas?

  2. I have the same problem, and I’ve been blaming it on the time of day (after lunch, food coma) but I think it might be because I haven’t focused enough on them and their interests so far. I am slowly taking things back around using PQA in a Wink, and I’m hoping that by extending PQA with some of the students who seem to be influential in the class that I can turn the tide of non-participation.
    Anyone else in this boat?

  3. I’ve had quiet classes and sometimes they were very good. They would blow me away with quiz results, comprehension and retells. They were quiet, but they were focussed and listening. It was tough on me teaching and not getting a whole lot of feedback. Eventually you will find something that works for you and them. Maybe it’s slower, maybe more wait time, maybe stories that aren’t as crazy as other classes. Maybe more reading and discussions based on a text. Try yes/no either/or questions to get them answering together. When you find it, use it. Just remember that it’s all about input, not output and everybody with their hands up and laughing.
    On another note, I find myself getting a bit angry and frustrated in September. I’m getting frustrated with other French teachers. My son has been coming home with tons of verb sheets. My daughter, ditto, from another school. I know other teachers are doing the same thing everywhere. My kids aren’t enjoying their language classes very much. It’s lots of “acadimic work” and talking about the language and how it works, most of it done in English. I can’t bite my tongue much longer.

  4. If your flat class is Level 2 class or above (as mine is this year) and you have already done questionnaires with them previously, what has been working for me has been a combination of student-generated stories and/or having them draw pictures that illustrate a particular situation or structure.
    My combined group of level 3/4/5 students (who also got used to my non-TPRS ways earlier) really don’t like to give me feedback orally (outside of two or three of them), but everybody will do so in writing or drawing. Perhaps this is less-threatening for them. Perhaps it is because the focus in on multiple pictures or storylines, so that I can move past offerings that don’t generate any energy. Either way, it seems to be working enough to give me something personalized to work with.

  5. Ben, I’ve been thinking about how to explain this to a parent just today.
    I have a student who is disinterested and sometimes and uncooperative in class, and today when she shouted out in English to complain about the class, I decided it was time to set up a parent conference. In the parent’s e-mail response, she pointed to the fact that her daughter has an A in my class and seemed to be doing fine academically. I’m thinking about how to approach explaining that though her daughter has an A, she is missing out on lots of quality language acquisition because of a lack of engagement. She may be able to perform in the short term, but in the long term that language will not stick. Thankfully, my administration understands this and they are supportive.
    Maybe I need to start giving more participation grades and quick quizzes. But then so many of my kids are so engaged without the threat of those.

  6. Frank good catch on that sentence. I meant that we can’t consider our jobs as language teachers to be a purely academic job, like, say, a chemistry teacher. It’s just not like that. It’s social. It’s emotive. It’s unconscious. It’s reciprocal. It’s participatory. It’s songrific. It’s human. It’s not robotic. So the sentence now reads:
    We teach in a field that is not simply academic, if the results are to be tangible.
    (unnecessary comment: if the corporations succeed in their current takeover and destruction of democratic/public institutions in favor of corporately funded charter schools, etc., so that they can have the engineers and scientists and mathematicians they need to fill the slots in their corporations, and the heck with those who are poor, unfortunate, in need of help from society, then what we are doing in our Krashen based classes poses a kind of threat to the kind of teaching that Norm referred to with the worksheets and all that. It’s not just that language teachers who push worksheets over the social/emotive piece are boring, they are really doing a lot more ill than may be apparent on the surface. They are training kids to be robotic and mindless. We don’t do that. We in American public education who insist that our students show up in class as people, not as good little robots performing mindless tasks, are a threat to those corporations, and not just the textbook corporations. Good.)
    I agree with Norm on the questions about flat classes:
    “…it’s all about input, not output and everybody with their hands up and laughing…”.
    And what Nathan said about the student generated stories. Anything that the KIDS come up with, as a story script, in class during the CI, etc. – all of it – it must be about them. It’s just too huge a topic for this space, but rest assured that we are going to figure this one out together as we go along.
    Stephen, at my class website
    then click on any class, you will see some stuff you can use on a parent phone call. I had a parent open up that “Advice For Language Students” link on there and I asked the parent to go over it at home with their non-engaged kid. I asked them to read the welcome letter. I told mom that I would do the learning style inventory and probably find out that her child is a visual learner and then I praised her for doing so well (a B, in your case an A) in my auditory class. I also have the great good fortune of being able to give the parent my boss’ phone number and asking that they call Diana, who then, as coordinator of world language study, can explain how it is that in Denver Public Schools we are aligning with the new state standards and the national proficiency guidelines. It is great that we are all on board in this district that way – it’s a great feeling that I don’t take for granted. Anyway, just some thoughts, disorganized perhaps, but hey it’s been a long week, right? (I get to go to MAINE next week and see Skip and Anne and Alice and all of those great MAINERS!)

  7. Hey Ben!
    Thanks for all of the great advice! I’m currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Florida. I’m teaching lower-level Spanish classes, and I taught the last 2 years teaching in a high school in Indiana. One and a half of those 2 years I taught using TPRS. My students and I had so much fun and learned so much Spanish. However, I’ve been inundated with the “communicative approach” here at the university level. It seems that everyone is complaining about how their students aren’t staying on task and simply shifting back into L1. I keep thinking in my head “It’s because they’ve never really had much CI.” I’m trying to give my students a lot of CI, but we only meet 3 days/week for 50 min. Also, my syllabus is made for me, and there is not much room for deviation from it. I used to be able to make my own tests, and here I can not do this. Do you have any suggestions? Also, do you have any rebuttals to this “communicative approach”? I’ve mentioned stuff about TPRS/CI/P in my class (Romance Tchg Mthds class) that we’re required to take and no one really gets what I’m talking about. I appreciate your help and advice!!!!!

  8. Jake that was honest. How to respond to honesty? Hopefully with more of the same. Your questions are not idle inquiries. They cut right to the bone of what is happening in foreign language education in the U.S. these days. Even more, your questions necessarily involve universities, which, in general, have been skirting such questions for some time now – many years. The answers you seek will have to come from the group here. I am not qualified to address them. I can put my two cents in, but really, I am about trying to be better at CI/TPRS. I’m not even comfortable spelling rebuttal.
    Really, Susan Gross is the one most qualified to address this. I would suggest sending her an email at her site susangrosstprs.com. I know Laurie Clarcq is in Alaska right now, but when she gets back to New York maybe she could address this as well. Actually Susie is in Alaska and herself goes to New York this week, so give those two some time. Maybe Jody Noble in CA will address this. There are lots of very qualified people. My Denver Public Schools coordinator Diana Noonan should definitely weigh in on this. Robert Harrell also in CA could shine a big spotlight on every aspect of what you bring up. My prayer is that the readers of this blog will get you a good answer together over the next few weeks.

  9. They way I see it is that we are fighting against forces of standardization, which I think is truly evil in all aspects of life, not just education. We’ve trained many students to memorize and give back standardized bits of knowledge for standardized tests that some larger-than-local group decided SHOULD (a key word for many standardizers) belong to some body of knowledge deemed “basic.”
    Instruction based on Krashen CI-theory, such as TPRS, is personalized, and the information we want to hear from our students is the personal information about them that we want to learn–not how wrong they are according to someone else’s expectations or standards.
    When I studied at Madison, the methodology talk of the day was all about the communicative method, and I was trained to plan highly organized classes, with 5-7 activities and appropriate transitions, etc., with the goal of getting students to speak early and become proficient as fast as possible. Our textbooks (I follow the “Komm mit” series) are still designed according to these older standards/beliefs with WAY TOO FEW EXERCISES PROVIDING COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT before students are required to speak.
    We all know the look of fear/confusion on faces of humans who don’t know what to say. Now that we understand how humans learn language, we need to make sure we provide lots of varied, interesting (students’ perspective) input before squeezing output out.

  10. Hi Jake,
    Ben’s right…Susie and Laurie were both here!! Now that they have won some hearts, I guess that the best thing I can suggest is to get your methods instructors to go see Susie and Laurie. The two of them wooed our amazing language person here by suggesting that she go to NTPRS to present how to write a master’s plan so that you can write your master’s thesis on TPRS. She has shepherded three people through such a thesis, but Laurie and Susie were the ones to win over several of the academic types to “our” system.

  11. Hi, Jake,

    I’m trying to give my students a lot of CI, but we only meet 3 days/week for 50 min. Also, my syllabus is made for me, and there is not much room for deviation from it. I used to be able to make my own tests, and here I can not do this. Do you have any suggestions?

    I teach English at university in Japan. I teach both English majors (small, non-motivated classes; I get to choose the textbook and write the syllabus) and non-majors (large, non-motivated classes, where textbook is assigned and someone else writes the syllabus). Since discovering TPRS a year ago, I’ve been trying to use it in as many classes as possible (both majors and non-majors. You’ve opened a Pandora’s box here, and I’ll say more on my blog, but here’s my 2 cents:
    In Japan, at uni level, I’m dealing with false beginners, not complete beginners, and that requires an edited TPRS approach. False beginners or complete beginners, that makes a difference.
    At my first TPRS workshop (with Susie Gross), I asked her if she could say a little about teaching false beginners at university. She said, “45 minutes once a week? Forget it!” Actually, uni classes in Japan are usually 90 minutes, and most students take several different English classes, so it’s possible for them to get at least 3 hours of C.I. a week.

  12. Bernie and I have a very similar stance here, but I will express it slightly differently.
    There are some areas in which I appreciate standardization. I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about whether a particular lightbulb will fit my socket; I’m glad that when I go to Europe I don’t have to change trains every few miles because the track gauge is different; I’m glad that I don’t have to have several different kinds of electrical plugs or deal with different voltages, amps, watts, etc. In other words, the standardization of things can make our life simpler. On the other hand, even there it represents a loss: when was the last time you were able to buy a wonderful beefsteak tomato in your local grocery store?
    People ought not to be standardized, nor should their thinking. We are talking about the ultimate brainwashing here. In “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” (addendum to the Screwtape Letters), the middle-management demon says (paraphrasing) that they are working toward the day that everyone is “standardized”. He uses the picture of a field of wheat. The triumph of hell is when the other stalks of wheat cut down the one that dares to raise its head above them, to be “superior” in any way, shape or form. Unfortunately, I think we are pretty much there in our society’s approach. Borrowing from another author, I refuse to surrender to Camazotz.
    To speak a bit more directly to Jake’s queries: I have found it extremely useful to get people to think about foundational matters. One of the most basic questions to ask is “Why are you teaching a language” in the sense of what are you trying to accomplish, what is the purpose? Is it to “train the mind”? Then by all means, teach via grammar translation. Is it to read? Then by all means, get out those authentic texts. Is it to communicate in the language?
    If that last one is our goal, things begin to be a bit more complex, because the way to accomplish that goal has not been clear to most people. Most of the time people say that they want to teach people to communicate. Now the question becomes, “What is the best method to accomplish that purpose within the context (physical, social and temporal) of our teaching?” The answer to that is found by knowing two things: how the brain works and how we acquire language. ALM was based on behaviorist psychology: gi/go (garbage in/garbage out), hence the endless pattern drills. We know that the brain doesn’t work that way – the ins and outs I’ll leave for a later discussion. The various “total immersion” methods are based on the idea that we learn a second language exactly like we learned our first language. We know that this isn’t the case.
    That leaves us pretty much with the communicative approach and comprehension-based methods (TPR/TPRS/CI). Now the question has to be: what gives me the biggest bang for my buck? What lets me accomplish the most acquisition in the shortest amount of time – I do have, after all, an extremely limited amount of time. The communicative approach will work under the right circumstance. (Truth be told, all of the methods will work under the right circumstances – I learned to read Hebrew, Greek, Armaic and Latin through grammar-translation; I learned to speak Spanish through ALM.) Some of the problems I see with the communicative approach include:
    -it takes too long when there is no targeted use of the first language; I don’t have that kind of time (There are some who maintain this is merely my failure to use other resources properly – so be it, I work within my limitations)
    -it raises the affective filter too high too soon (Deer-in-the-headlights looks give that away)
    -it asks for output too early (Do I believe output has a role in language acquisition? You bet. Asking for it too soon, though – and this is what the communicative approach does -, slows acquisition and frustrates the student.
    Sometimes I will ask people, “How do you learn a foreign language?” Most of the time I get the answer, “By speaking it.” Then I say, “Ok, please start speaking Ugaritic.” Of course they say they can’t, so I reply, “But you just said you learn a language by speaking it, so just start speaking.” That will eventually get us to the understanding that the single most important element in language acquisition is comprehensible input.
    Greater understanding of how the brain works will benefit our application of comprehensible input. Music aids memory, so sing and chant. Memory is often place specific, so get people to move. There is such a thing as muscle memory, so use TPR and gestures. The brain “chunks” information to free up processing power, so chunk the language. Emotion aids memory, so get students to feel (preferably positive emotions). Meaningful repetition aids memory, so get as many reps with circling, etc. as you can. Personal involvement/attachment aids memory, so get students to buy in – or talk about things they are already interested in. The list goes on. People are more willing to accept things from someone they view positively and have a relationship with, so build rapport. Whether you view it as acquisition vs learning or moving into long-term memory from short-term memory, the aids are the same.
    Some examples of things I am talking about:
    -for both German and Spanish, I have used songs a couple of ways to help me learn. (This was done consciously before I ever knew about the brain research or SLA, I guess some of this was just natural to me.) On the one hand, I have used the coupling of melody and lyrics to remember. On the other hand, I have used those remembered phrases as building blocks or pieces to put together to communicate. I even use them sometimes to remember grammar, e.g. el/la or der/die/das/den/dem/des.
    -When I was taking Spanish in school I went around speaking it, not because I was forced to but because I was ready to. I talked to one of my Mexican friends in Spanish; I inflicted it on my brother who was taking French; I read Spanish signs out loud. I did all of that because I was ready to, not because I was being pushed.
    -I remember some very specific events in my life because of the emotion involved (not always positive, unfortunately). I can tell you who, what, when, where and even the very words that were used in some cases. That, to me, is a powerful indication of the role of emotion in memory.
    -I have worked with horses (I know, students are not horses, but some of the same principles apply) and know the importance of 1) repetition and 2) place in the learning process
    -I, like so many others, have had the experience of walking into a room and forgetting why I came, then returning to the place I had the idea and suddenly remembering what it was I wanted. Place is important.
    -Memory experts teach people to exaggerate and make things bizarre because they know this helps memory. I will never forget that the Greek word for “I see” is ????? (blepo). My Greek teacher had an Afro, and I imagined him with a set of Elton John glasses as another Marx Brother (Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Gummo and Blepo).
    -After many years I remember both the “Hebrew Chant” for the prefixes of the imperfect and the “Greek Chant” for the endings of the aorist – attestation for the efficacy of chanting. (BTW, I’m cementing the proper pronunciation of a German city in my students’ brains. We follow the German soccer league, and I am getting supporters to chant: Mainz ist eins. In German it rhymes, so they are getting the correct pronunciation of those letter combinations.)
    In another digression, I just wanted to mention that we had some good fun in my classes today. A colleague sent me a link to “Das Fliegerlied” (The flyer song). Students were up making motions like an airplane, showing that they were strong like a tiger, indicating they were tall like a giraffe, jumping, swimming and shaking hands – because today is such a nice day. It’s a great Monday song to shake out the cobwebs and get students engaged. One of the APs came by and filmed a little bit of period 6 – it’s going into the video for Back to School Night on Wednesday.
    Once again I’ve rambled far too long – gotta get to bed so I can get up in time to have some more fun tomorrow. Hope this helps.

  13. Okay one more thing that I just have to share. This summer when I was in Auxerre, France, I was finally able to use one of those ALM phrases (after how many years?): Ou est la gare? (Sorry about diacriticals.) I needed to catch a train and had made a wrong turn. Otherwise I spent my time asking locals about things that the ALM books never thought necessary: when was the church built? what kind of stone did you use for the castle foundation? can I get the cheapest fizzy water you have? If the behaviorist premise of ALM were true, I should never have been able to formulate those questions, because I had never been given the pattern, but I not only asked the questions (mangling French along the way), but I got what I wanted: 1188, sandstone because it’s harder than limestone, they all cost the same.

  14. I find this extremely powerful, all of it, Robert, but especially this:
    “…greater understanding of how the brain works will benefit our application of comprehensible input. Music aids memory, so sing and chant. Memory is often place specific, so get people to move. There is such a thing as muscle memory, so use TPR and gestures. The brain “chunks” information to free up processing power, so chunk the language. Emotion aids memory, so get students to feel (preferably positive emotions). Meaningful repetition aids memory, so get as many reps with circling, etc. as you can. Personal involvement/attachment aids memory, so get students to buy in – or talk about things they are already interested in. The list goes on. People are more willing to accept things from someone they view positively and have a relationship with, so build rapport. Whether you view it as acquisition vs learning or moving into long-term memory from short-term memory, the aids are the same…”. (ital. mine)
    Like you said, use comprehensible input. And, if we read the above carefully, it becomes apparent to us that the above listing describes processes that are essentially unconscious in nature.

  15. If the behaviorist premise of ALM were true, I should never have been able to formulate those questions, because I had never been given the pattern

    Robert, are you saying that ALM doesn’t work, or that ALM works but its (behaviourist) premises are false?

  16. Once again I’ve rambled far too long

    Robert, please ramble as long as you want, any time you want. This was `+*=)!( – A!, pardonnez-moi my francais.
    Speaking of Sarah ‘n’ Dipity, when I read this:
    -it raises the affective filter too high too soon (Deer-in-the-headlights looks give that away) I remembered the look on some of my students’ faces recently. Aha! That’s what was happening – I’d inadvertently raised the ugly affective filter.

  17. Marc, I am saying that the behaviorist premises are false and ALM works as well as it does for reasons other than the premises. But because ALM is based on flawed principles, it doesn’t work as well as comprehension-based teaching, which is based on more valid principles. (I won’t say that all of the premises and principles of CBI/CI/TPRS are the best – continuing research may show us flaws in the approach, and we all know that change continues – but they are the most solid of the premises for instruction that I know.)

  18. WOW!!!! Thank you all for commenting! I am so happy to hear from all of you! It’s been a lonely few years for me in that both years that I taught high school Spanish, I was the only FL teacher who used TPRS in the district. Now, I am the only person who has even heard of it hear at the university level (that I know of), and thus, whenever I want to discuss it, no one understands what I’m saying. Thus, it’s very encouraging to know there are more of us TPRS’ers out there!!! I really enjoy what you all had to say. As I said, the situation that I am in is nowhere near ideal because I teach an accelerated 1st-year Spanish course at the University of Florida, and we meet 3x per week and for only 50 minutes at a time.
    All of your comments and ideas were so incredibly helpful and encouraging, but with the way that this class is set up (cruising through 35-50 pages in 150 min.) I find it difficult to utilize anything other than CI. At least with CI, I can try to synthesize the vocabulary and grammar concepts into a PQA/story situation. I know you do this Ben (and probably Robert) is you chant. I used to do things like that when I taught high school. We would chant certain words, and they always found it fun. I guess I could still do that with my college students, but I just don’t always think of it because we are so pressed for time always.
    Ben, thanks for the recommendation to Susie. I will email when I have a free moment. Also, I appreciate very much your honesty. Thanks again to everyone that commented, and I appreciate so very much your input. I hope to be as wonderful of a teacher as all of you one day (I’m only 26)!

  19. For me, Jake, and I can’t speak for the others, it’s not about being wonderful or anything like that. It’s about professional survival and integrity. I used English in South Carolina secondary schools for almost as long as you’ve been alive and I hated it. I was wasting my time, and the kids’ time, (only a small percent learned anything and I’m not even sure about that), and I kicked the dog when I got home. Now, that’s all behind me. I do this blog from pure passion that young super talents like you don’t have to go through decades of bullshit teaching. You don’t even know yet but you will. All that energy that you have that I feel in your words above will come to laughing life someday when you get this stuff down. You won’t have to suppress your joy of teaching. You can laugh and sing and chant and stay in L2 all the time! Sorry about the bitchy edge here. It’s Monday. Now, just now, my fourth period just did an Anne Matava story about a kid going behind the building to smoke a “big cigarette” and getting caught by a big, frightening popo (local slang for police). We were in French the whole time. The structures were:
    “went outside”
    “the neighbors saw it”
    “didn’t catch him”
    I said each one at least forty times. The kids, an urban group of 35 kids, got what I said. Had I spoken English during that time, they wouldn’t have learned any French – maybe some mechanical shit that won’t help them get around in France, but no actual French. So, Jake, do you get it? This is not about trying to tell other teachers to change against their will. It’s about making young teachers like you aware that there are options to doing a shitty job using primarily English in the classroom.

  20. Ben, I completely understand what you mean. For the first year that I taught I did 1 semester of teaching from the book, conjugating verbs and the like. My students always said that they loved me but hated Spanish. That’s why I started researching and networking, and I met Robyn Valdizón (she says she’s met you) from Indiana. She pitched the whole TPRS idea to me, and literally the next day I had 3 structures on the board and I dove right in. I mean, it was probably atrocious, but like Susan says, “Bad TPRS is better than no TPRS!” As time went on though I realized that this was what I had been lacking. I am an animated person, and it was difficult to be animated about filling in charts. I finally found something with which I could identify. I could finally be myself with my students, and it all went uphill from there.
    So, I completely understand what you mean about professional survival. As far as integrity, I couldn’t agree more. As I said, I was the only person in my district (the 2nd largest in Indiana) that taught TPRS. I am not trying to sound like a hero or anything. Furthermore, I had teacher friends at the other high schools who would be so surprised that I wasn’t teaching the grammar. “How do they get the grammar?” they would say. I just couldn’t go back to that though. I couldn’t live with myself if I went back to the old way (their way). While TPRS may not be perfect, and one can find flaws if they look hard enough, I can say with much confidence that it is the best way to teach FLs. Thus, by pure integrity I could not live with myself if I taught their way. I had to do what was best for the students and for myself, and once you find that, it should never be compromised.
    So, I certainly understand what you mean completely. I would be such a bitter teacher today if I was still teaching grammar. I’ve kept some of my high school students’ writings, and I show them to colleagues sometimes. When I tell them that they were written by freshmen or sophomores they would always be so surprised that they were able to write that well. As I said earlier, I’m still very much a TPRS beginner. I haven’t had very much training (other than your and Susan’s DVDs), so I know I have a long way to go. But it is such a testament to the effectiveness of TPRS.
    Oh, and no need to apologize. Mondays are the worst.

  21. The kids get the grammar. Grammar is properly spoken language. The idea that grammar is a written mechanical deconstruction of what really is a fluid, living sound system is preposterous. Only when the kids can understand the grammar with their ears, can they then go into two dimensional study of it on paper. Not the opposite. What city in Indiana?

  22. I was teaching in my hometown of Fort Wayne, IN. I was actually laid off last year due to severe budget cuts. Luckily I had already been accepted for the Masters’ program here in FL. As far as FL instruction, we’re (as a district) still overwhelmingly grammar oriented. When I was doing my undergrad there I had to do 120 hours of observation. I was able to observe every high school Spanish teacher in my district and even a few French teachers as well. They all taught the same way, essentially. This didn’t bother me at the time, however. In fact, I liked it because I didn’t know any better. During my 2 years working in the district, I turned 2 French teachers (1 at my school and the other at a different school) on to TPRS, and they are now using it. I also hosted/attended a TPRS workshop at my school where Robyn Valdizón presented. I really wanted to get our district up-to-date. I couldn’t sit idly by and watch all of these students suffer through their FL classes because of what I knew.

  23. Just a couple of comments here…I’ve already put my ten minutes in reading this wonderful thread but have to share this on getting people in on the secret:
    “Anita,” a local French teacher, had a daughter who was enjoying “Debbie’s” Spanish class. They were learning numbers, colors, and having fun drawing pictures. Debbie left more of the same with a sub and went off for a four-day workshop. When Debbie came back, Anita’s child complained bitterly. “We can’t speak English anymore.” On the second day, she said, “It’s boring.” On the third day, she said her teacher was crazy. On the fourth day, the she told Anita she wanted to tell her a story. She pulled out the stuffed animals and put on a little play. She took her mother’s open mouth for boredom and said, “I’ll go type it up for you.” She typed a story of 250 words in Spanish and brought it out for her mom to read.
    Turns out that Debbie went to see Blaine. Can you guess that Anita is hooked on TPRS now?

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Jeffrey Sachs was asked what the difference between people in Norway and in the U.S. was. He responded that people in Norway are happy and

CI and the Research (cont.)

Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could

Research Question

I got a question: “Hi Ben, I am preparing some documents that support CI teaching to show my administrators. I looked through the blog and

We Have the Research

A teacher contacted me awhile back. She had been attacked about using CI from a team leader. I told her to get some research from



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