High Frequency Structures Input Needed – Elementary TPRS

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6 thoughts on “High Frequency Structures Input Needed – Elementary TPRS”

  1. I think that this is hard to define because the natural order of acquisition is different for each person. Students will acquire at different rates and it is something that is hard to measure or define. We just have to keep providing CI based on the frequently used structures and know that they will get it. I would just decide which structures to use and give them as much CI as I can through out the year. I have seen this in action and I have struggled with patience, but it is amazing what they know by May if I just let each student acquire in their own natural order. Sometimes I feel like we try to fit each student into what we expect them to know at the end, when really the student will only get what is meaningful to them. We feel like they failed because they didn’t meet our expectations, but maybe the class was very meaningful to them– it just looked different than what we thought. They acquired the language in a different way. That is why language is so interesting. Just my thoughts…

  2. I’m so glad people are talking to each other so they don’t have to re-create the wheel! ESU 16 in Nebraska got a grant to create an elementary curriculum that they are required to make public as part of the conditions of the grant. They have a curriculum for each level, have created stories for each grade level and then recorded them and made them available on-line as podcasts. They started with high frequency words and then tailored their lists with the help of Susan Gross, Leslie Davison and myself over the course of 4 years. Jan Coone is the name of the district supervisor who is administering the grant and intimately involved in its implementation and her email address is jcoone@me.com She can give you the web site with the work they’ve done so far. While you’re at it, ask her how she writes such amazing grant applications.

  3. Thomas what you said makes me realize that, with input based methods, the message is the medium and yes, it is different with each person. Therefore to do a scope and sequence with language learners is pointless. Students will acquire at different rates, as you said, echoing Krashen of course.
    And this hits the bulls eye squarely in terms of the Achievement Gap. I have one student whose eyes glaze over at the first hint of grammar. He would be toast in a conventional classroom. The minute we go into L2, however, he shows a fine sense of appreciation of every auditory input detail. He loves decoding the language. He is going to be a fine AP French student. In the old way, he would have quit after one year.
    I have other students who are are gifted at neither the auditory part nor the mechanical part. Some of them will go to the upper levels because I will invite them to because they want to. Teachers used to say that those kids don’t have the smarts for the higher levels, but now with the new standards here in Colorado, which are basically the ACTFL proficiency guidelines, a kid who wants to learn can just sit in my classroom for four years of CI and enjoy it. That kid will NEVER be insulted with the “you don’t have what it takes” line. In fact, I would strenuously argue that the person in that equation who “doesn’t have it” is the teacher, not the student.

  4. Thanks to everyone! Thomas, I hear what you’re saying, and I think you stated the key word here, that we now “use” the structures, as opposed to “teaching” them. From what I have seen so far, that is where the language has been coming to life with students. No more teaching for learning, but for rather using. Karen, thank you for the information, I had not heard of this and will definitely look into it!

  5. Michel,
    I felt TPRS “click in” for me when I realized that exact thing. PQA was always a horrible challenge for me. Then one day I realized that it wasn’t about the structures, it was about the students. Instead of asking myself, ” How can I use these structures to make questions?”, I started asking myself, “How can I get to know my students better using these structures?” That one perspective shift put me in the right groove!!!

  6. That makes me think of how really worthless it is to intellectualize the language. Language is not a thing to be learned but to be experienced. It is not an intellectual, cognitive thing. It is something more ethereal, something different. It is some kind of invisible link between hearts. It is hard to teach it for “learning”, because then the activity in the classroom locates in the mind. I really like the way the input based community constantly reminds us that we will succeed when we teach for acquisition (heart/body/mind) and not for learning (mind only), as per VanPatten, Krashen, etc.
    And, of course, the proof is in the pudding. Kids taught using input based methods sign up for the class the next year. Moreover, in classrooms that teach for acquisition (input first, output later), kids whose bent it is to learn only mentally are served and happy in their learning. They may prefer a cognitive, analytical worksheet approach, but they nonetheless can succeed in a TPRS type of environment. On the other hand, kids whose bent it is to learn in the heart/body/mind TPRS way, but find themselves in a cognitive, analytical worksheet environment are not served and they quit. Let me say that again: kids who want worksheets, because they like to learn that way, nevertheless succeed in TPRS classrooms, but kids who want to learn by only listening to the language first, and whose nature is to eschew the worksheet approach, quit.

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