Huge Question

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8 thoughts on “Huge Question”

  1. Jeff wrote:

    …I’ve been doing great with my fresh/sophs with a Matava Script and going wherever with it. I just tell them the story. I don’t circle or they check out. I repeat a few times but that’s it. I change my voice, I shout important things, I make them feel my excitement, but I can’t circle or even stop to ask more than a few questions until we are done….

    I will ask Tina to send this to Beniko. Both will be very happy to read this. Matava scripts are a very pure form of compelling non-targeted Story Listening. I am fully aware, because I first asked Anne to write her script books over ten years ago (because I saw her genius because it was saving me in my own classroom) and in asking I said, “But wait! TPRS uses targets! So can you put three in for each story at the top of the story?” And Anne said, “Sure, I’ll just pull three structures from the story!” And that’s what she did. Now we know and I want to make it real clear here that Anne Matava’s stories never were targeted to line up with some curriculum or thematic unit list and that she only put those three targets in there to align with TPRS, which was very formulaic at that time.

    If I may be permitted an editorial comment: When I first suggested no targets this year starting here in January, people didn’t like it. Now I am happy to come out of the closet on the targeted vs. non-targeted thing and say that the only 3 real pure ways to do NT that I am aware of so far are: (1) Story Listening (Beniko and Tina), (2) Invisibles (me and Tina) and Non-targeted story scripts (Matava and Jim Tripp).

    1. I think that there also is a strong 4th option. (4) MovieTalk as done with full-length films.

      Ashley Hastings’ original MovieTalk is not targeted, if you read his vision for it with that lens, and mainly with full-length movies, which provide the compelling story. It is quite different from the short video clips and targeting that is much more widely used now.

      That original version of MovieTalk requires some language level for the students; it was designed for students new to US universities who had studied English, so they knew words, but didn’t have listening comprehension or fluency. I find it works well with students like that (like the level 4 students when I came to this high school). It also works beautifully with those with more fluency, but limited vocabulary (like my students in years 2+ now).

      I’ve been doing this for years with upper levels. I’ve been trying to share my love for this approach for a few years. It also seems that those using El Internado (etc.) in Spanish do something very similar. However, I don’t think it’s appreciated as much as it could benefit students & teachers.

      Right now with the intermediate class (a strong group of Chinese year 2 sophomores) we’re using my favorite movie, “Lost on Journey” (sic) which is practically designed for MovieTalk. I will use Judy DuBois’ Very Narrow Listening in two scenes that are dialogue-heavy and significant to the overall meaning. The rest of the movie is so visual that it’s really easy to work with.

      I’m also using a Chinese TV show in 3 levels (year 3+ groups, all of them) and the students are loving it. A few new words & phrases come up in the midst of scenes and we clarify those. The AP group I have this year is able to understand a fair amount of the original dialogue, and we also pause and read some subtitles — which are only in Chinese — as we go. We talk about a lot more.

      I do add reading later, whether about the film/TV show and/or some other activity with class-created content including those words/phrases. So it’s maybe really emergent “targeting 2” when I incorporate reading to follow a day or two of MovieTalk.

  2. With the scripts I change the variables to things that I know are interesting to my students based off of our culture, or interest surveys or whatever. I don’t ask them for cute answers. I’m so cute already. Sometimes I’ll go for shock value using exaggerated bullying or something like that. Then we get to talk about how not to act. If my version falls flat with one class, I’ll take note and change that part for the next class.

    Asking for cute answers and circling get so old so fast for HS students. I’ve been working my way through it for 5 years now and this is what gets me the best class the most often.

    As always, read it the next day. That’s when you ask a hundred questions. Then make them read it to a partner the next day or to their parents. More CI, more reps. No circling. Add the story to your FVR library. More reps, no circling.

  3. What about Listen and Draw and “La personne spéciale”? Those are a couple of my favorites. I also second MovieTalk because it has images to help reinforce meaning. Plus, when you have great images it makes everything more interesting.

    I’m also wondering if Visual PQA could be tweaked a bit so it could be less about targeting. I’ve been experimenting with it some this year, and it really seems to get my students to really pay attention and have a chance to express themselves, particularly at the lower levels where the images and text make it easier for them to use the language.

    1. I agree and use all of these. Look and discuss, MT (okay never did well with special person). If you are pointing and pausing, and writing words on the board, and they are high frequency, they will be comprehensible. I totally recommend TPRing action verbs at the beginning of the year too. You don’t have to do it too long. I did like 60-70 verbs (2-3 a day). Now they know all of them very well. It makes you work of staying in bounds so easy without targeting.

  4. Ben said, ” Matava scripts are a very pure form of compelling non-targeted Story Listening…”

    Yes. For so long I have been doing it wrong. The scripts can be a form of NT or Targeted 1. I was using it as Targeted 1 and could never get it up in the air. When I am in my core and in the moment, the scripts have worked for me. I have not realized it until now. Also, asking for all those details just bores the kids to death sometimes. In some schools, the students have to do everything. They have presentations, projects, they collaborate etc… Well sometimes teachers can just fill in most of the details and get the movie in their heads going.

    1. Yep. It’s growing pains for us. Way less awkward now. Story Listening becoming the new thing made it clear. Fill in the details yourself. Fewer interruptions too makes it less stressful.

  5. Alisa, you are asking about NT. Go for it! On some days you may want to plan, so do that. I believe that if your mental health in intact both NT and Story Listening can help. Though they may seem like opposites, both provide rich input. Also, by making yourself comprehensible you are doing your job as a language parent.

    If you need to dump circling, do it. I am doing that as well with all my classes. Though I probably do it still in French 1.

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