A teacher wrote and expressed fear that with Story Listening we might go from too much transparency (TPRS) to confusing the kids (SL).
My position is that any confusion that the kids might experience in a Story Listening classroom would be a result not of methodology but of lack of individual eye contact in a classroom setting amidst good will and humor where, in an ideal world, the child doesn’t have to “perform” or “suggest cute answers” or be “graded”, but rather can be given the dignity of just listening, free from judgement, just enjoying.
Small children listening to bed time stories experience no feeling of being judged by a loving parent sitting with them as they journey into sleep. It is the opposite. They only feel loved in those precious moments. All they have to do is listen. And, remarkably, they acquire the language. Without being judged.
When, like loving parents, we teach to the eyes in the proper way, while bestowing upon our students the freedom to only listen, we bestow upon them dignity. They experience no fear of being judged about how they are listening to the story and we will then never get into points of confusion with our students.
The closest we ever got to our students enjoying the freedom to listen was Kindergarten Day but then alignment with a curriculum took over and TPRS became too hard and we forgot Kindergarten Day, dismissing it as a frill when it should have been one of the focal points of our instruction.
In freedom to listen love can become a factor in the instruction.
There is no right way to do SL. In the bedtime story analogy, our students in our classrooms benefit from our illustrations. All moms are different, because they tell their kids bedtime stories with different qualities of voice and emotion each night, but they still love their kids.
So I am saying that if we embrace Story Listening, we embrace a fine vehicle for love to enter into our instruction. Educators are now finding out that in a loving, non-judgmental classroom, students thrive. They don’t have to understand every word. That’s not how language acquisition works.