I got this email from a teacher who supports a procedural point that Susie Gross has been making for years and that is worth keeping in our minds as we start the year:
There were times last year when PQA was working very well with the kids, everyone was having fun and there was a lot of CI but I always had the story in the back of my mind. After reading PQA in a Wink! this summer I now I get that if the PQA is working, keep going! Continue on! This is my third year with TPRS. It is coming along slowly, but I know that this method has real value for the students and for me.
I would like to add here that a general misconception about TPRS is that it’s all about the story – it’s not. It’s about the CI that the kids hear (I think I made this point in another blog this past week, and it is worth repeating).
CI is the thing. Yes, stories are great for interesting and personalized CI, but PQA (much easier to do than it sounds) and reading are two other major ways to set the CI table in our classes. Yes, readings grow out of personalized stories and lack the personalized element if they don’t, but still, if you are just starting out the year, you may want to go ahead and drop the big load of wood that you are carrying (in the form of the belief that you “have to learn how to do stories” this year) and just relax with some PQA (see the resources/workshops link of this site for some suggestions about PQA).
PQA is a great way to progress into stories in terms of TPRS pedagogy anyway. And, besides, the biggest gains are achieved via reading (Krashen). The only thing is how to make them personalized. As we start the year now, if we are nervous about stories, we could just focus mainly on the P in PQA and maybe even stretch out some of this month and next with readings based on the PQA you create with the kids. Then, when stories start coming in naturally later maybe in September or even October, they will be a lot easier to do. It is an idea that might work.