PQA Question

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6 thoughts on “PQA Question”

  1. You know, Ben, I really need to work on my PQA skills ’cause I am very prone to going off on tangents. Sometimes I don’t get enough repetitions of my target phrases in because of that. But then, at the same time, the tangents only usually last as long as student interest lasts, and as long as the language is comprehensible. So I think it’s okay. I find that sometimes students seem to feel less pressure when “shooting the breeze” in class stead of doing a story.
    It’s funny, but I feel like I’m just suggesting what you always say, and that’s “why not just talk to the kids?” I like it. And I think the kids do too.

  2. “I find that sometimes students seem to feel less pressure when “shooting the breeze” in class instead of doing a story.”
    It takes years to learn this, Stephen, and you have learned it in your first year. It is what my book PQA in a Wink! is all about. Yesterday, Bryce was visiting, and we had only 35 min. classes, and so the PQA lasted the entire period. No stories formed from the kick ass Matava script I was using (I really need to ask her to post it here – about feeling like a dork and what do people usually do in that situation). I needed reassurance and Bryce said no, just relax and hang out in the PQA.
    The thing is, Stephen, try to stay on the target expressions only during the PQA. Accept only things that they already know. I know that is a serious departure from what I have said on this blog the past two years, but it is the way Blaine designed it and Diana made it clear to me about four weeks ago and it is the right way to do CI.
    For example, at one point I asked a kid what should one do when one feels like a dork, and “eating pizza” – something they already knew – had come up in the class, and so one student suggested that one should eat pizza when one feels like a dork and it totally worked. Had I asked for two words of English, or even had them write it down in their composisition books and hold them up so that I could see the English but not hear it (my latest bad idea), that moment would have been given over to the establishing of new meaning and a skewed focus on vocabulary instead of grammar (correctly spoken language). So, as Susan Gross taught us, we learn during PQA to focus on grammar not vocabulary (we “shelter” vocabulary and not grammar). That allows us to keep the target language alive and flowing, sans interruption of any sort so that the deeper and majestically complex unconscious process that is the turbine of the mind acquiring, not learning, a language – which is the greatest strength of all of input based instruction – can take place, as per Krashen. These jokers who don’t get Krashen will one day wake up and realize what he is really saying and they will be embarrassed that it took them that long to get it, but, at least they got it. I make no apologies for the last sentence. It is, after all, my blog, and I should feel free to say what I want on it. We all should. Even if it patently disagrees with what others think. That way we can can keep the C in America.

  3. Ben, I don’t think your “writing ideas on paper” idea is a bad idea at all. It has been working really well for me in my middle school classes. It allows me to make a personal contact with each of my students (almost all of them write ideas, and the ideas are written small, so I walk around the room to look at them and make some kind of commentary – “good idea,” “maybe,” “it’s obvious,” “why do you say that?” “What!?”); It also buys me some time to sort through the ideas in my head – the good,the bad, the easily cognate-able – before I return to the front of the classroom and begin circling their ideas. Plus, it builds some excitement as the students are waiting to hear if their ideas get offered and hope to hear something exciting that their classmates came up with. At the very least, your idea of writing ideas on paper will be a stepping stone for me to get to only using the Spanish they know.

  4. “…it allows me to make a personal contact with each of my students …”.
    True dat.
    “…writing ideas on paper will be a stepping stone for me to get to only using the Spanish they know…”.
    True dat again.

  5. Ben, I’m still working on “TPRS in a Year” and haven’t quite made it to PQA in a Wink. I’m planning on spending some good time in that one this summer. Even so, I know that I need to focus a bit more when I PQA. They’ve got to have those repetitions. So much to learn…

  6. When you take a structure and circle it with the class, getting reps, while at the same time, of course, personalizing, there is a certain safety in just not going wide with new vocabulary. Stay home. The kids appreciate all the reps. They must be told in English at the beginning of the year about how they need to hear it hundreds of time, so get that buy in from them beforehand. We do PQA with a sense of “isn’t it fun to learn all this new stuff about ourselves” but you have those screws down focusing on the single structure you are circling, keeping it from getting wide, saying the structure you are PQAing in almost every single statement or question. What seems redundant to you they need. I could even see doing PQA for 35 minutes and then releasing into the story, doing that – or at least the first paragraph in the script – in fifteen minutes. A short story is not a bad thing. I wonder what others think about that.

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