Mark Knowles on WL Education

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8 thoughts on “Mark Knowles on WL Education”

  1. Leigh Anne Munoz

    Hi, Mark! I am the knitting lady from California that sat next to you a bit in Linda Li’s Chinese class at iFLT last year in San Diego, the one who took up French just to be able to continue with TPRS.

    I have lots of students in Special Ed and other marginalized groups. I’d love to help in any way I can. 🙂

    You can email me at :

  2. Count me in as well Mark! I’ve been teaching with TPRS/CI for 15 years and have worked as a trainer/presenter/coach for 10. I have stories not only from my personal experience but from teachers I have worked with as well…many of them. Then again, you might have enough just from this group alone to keep you busy for a long, long time!!

    with love,

  3. I don’t know where to share this…but just yesterday I heard a fantastic story about a former student. My barometer student from 2 years ago. Her mom cuts my hair, and I was in yesterday hearing about everything M is doing. I had her for French 1 and 2. This year she was in French 3 and struggled mightily (eclectic teacher…lots of verb charts and such, output, games, etc) and I think almost failed. She left our school and went to the local public school for the rest of the year.

    Anyway, she has a summer job at this mountain biking / BMX park. She got the front dest job. They picked her because she is very organized, quick on the computer, and “speaks French!!!” Yes! There are lots of folks from Canada who go up there and she is able (and most importantly willing / confident enough) to communicate with them. I am so proud of her! I know that the teachers who had her this year see her as “incapable” on some level. BUT she can listen to and understand real live people, ask them to slow down or whatever, and engage in real life in French! I know for a fact that there are kids who were in her group who could spell everything correctly who would never dare to do what she is doing right now! So blessed to be doing this work 🙂

  4. Robert Harrell

    Mark, count me in also. I’ve been using TPRS/TCI for about 10 years but moved into it slowly during the first three to four years.

    I shared this with a couple of people at NTPRS but want to share it here as well. On Tuesday of the conference I got an e-mail from one of my students who graduated in June. Her experience in German class was not the best: she was unable to take German her sophomore year because of other requirements; when she returned to German 2, it was with my infamous fifth-period class. As a result, that year was decidedly less than the best that I could have given her. Nonetheless, she continued into German 3, one of only two people from that class to do so. She was, as you might well imagine, a little self-conscious in a class with level four and AP students, but she was my barometer for the class. Anyway, in her e-mail this student reported that she had gone to Germany this summer and stayed with a German friend’s family. The parents speak no English, but she was able to communicate effectively with them and was amazed that she was able to understand basically everything and “communicate efficiently” (her words). In addition, she is entering the University of California Davis and had to take a German placement test. Students who have take three years of high school German are expected to place into Davis’s German 3 class. My student happily reported that she placed an entire class level higher. Again, this was after an experience in my less-than-the best class.

    I also once had a Teacher’s Assistant (a student who simply needed an elective class for credits). He was in and out of the classroom running errands or sitting at a desk doing various projects and tasks. One day he was in the room for the full period working on a project that he finished just as we were ready to take the end-of-class quiz. On impulse, I asked him to take the quiz with the class. He aced it and was so proud that he asked to put it on the wall behind the desk where he usually worked. BTW, he had failed Spanish (and – I learned later – was considered a “discipline problem”, although I never had any trouble with him at all). His experience was just one of the ones that convinced me of the power of CI.

  5. Mark, I’d be happy to provide my experiences too. I’ve been teaching with TPRS/CI for 6 years in a very small rural school in SE Minnesota. Let me know if I can help. or

    I had a great time talking with Richard at NTPRS about my experiences and thoughts on teaching with TPRS. He is working on a thesis to define what TCI is, in the words of those doing it. I think that’s what it is anyways. It helps for me to try to articulate those beliefs I hold about how we teach…

  6. This is all fantastic, and I thank you all up front for your willingness to share your experiences and stories. Jen’s story reminds me of Margaret Mead’s observation that while in Samoa, Mead’s fellow anthropologists always knew how to conjugate their verbs correctly while she did not, but she was the one who always knew whose pig had died and whose child was ill. Savignon used that quote at the beginning of one the chapters of her 1982 book.

  7. Count me in, too. I have been teaching for 5 years (career changer), the last three of which with TPRS. This fall, I will be teaching a AP German for the first time. So, this will be an interesting experience/experiment since I am determined to continue with CI (these kids have only had one year of TPRS in 9th grade). So, if you still need help in any way, you can reach me at Brigitte dot Kahn at verizon dot net.
    Best of luck!

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