David's Point #4 – Teaching Within Parameters

I teach in situations where I must apply TPRS within the parameters I am given (or else I find another job). I truly admire the main intent of the blog which is mostly for teachers on the secondary level who pretty much have free reign to totally implement TPRS as they see fit.
[Ed. note – au contraire, I don’t think such beasts exist in large numbers. Teachers who are free to use the method are generally alone and there are few. That is why there is so much kvetching and bitching and commiserating on this blog.
Some of us go through the equivalent of ten years of teaching (in terms of emotional drain) in just one year. What we experience is no happy thing, for most of us, and for every member of this site I would wager that there is – at least – one story that is a hair raiser, one that kept the teacher up at night, one that made them want to immediately quit the profession. That is why I accord so much respect to the people who read this blog – they are heroes in a very real sense because they stick to their beliefs in hostile environments. We actually need to talk about the dark secret of this work that nobody seems to be able to talk about – how hard it is to make it work in a hostile environment, how much we hurt because of it, in particular because of kids who don’t deserve to be in the room.]
David again: The main thing I am talking about is having to use textbooks. I teach college Spanish classes at the college level and I always begin my courses with a little speech of what I believe to be my main job as a foreign language teacher and that is to deliver comprehensible input in the most interesting and engaging way possible. I present Krashen’s model for language acquisition. I then explain that we also have a textbook and that I must work within certain parameters. Otherwise, I would soon be replaced. I explain that one half of nearly every class will be devoted to storytelling or some sort of PQA. Often at the end of the class I will say, “OK, did the first half of the class (the storytelling) have a different feel to it compared to the textbook activities during the second half.” The students nearly always say, “We like the stories better”. Sometimes I quickly put up the sketch of Krashen’s model for language acquisition and say, “OK, during the first of the class we were here (and point to Comprehensible Input) and during the second half we were over here (pointing to the Monitor)”.
[ed. note: so are you OK with that format, David?]



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