Ben’s System Of Starting The Year With Comprehensible Input
TPRS trainings used to focus on stories right out of the gate. People would attend a workshop and then try to start teaching in the fall using stories in their beginning level classes. It rarely worked. It was too much, too fast. Way too much, and way too fast.
It is the premise of this book that it is best to wait to start using stories with beginning students until the late fall or early winter, not before, using alternatives, the stepping stone strategies offered in this book, to start our year.
These stepping stones to stories are easier to learn than stories. In addition to preparing the teacher in the art of using comprehensible input, they also show the teacher how to set up:
- a strong and vibrant classroom management program.
- a personalized classroom
- an assessment program that works and saves time.
The caution to new teachers is that, without the classroom management, personalization and assessment pieces in place first, it is much more difficult to make comprehension based instruction work. In fact, it is nearly impossible.
Why is starting out a school year with stories a most difficult thing to pull off in foreign language classrooms? What opposes their use in secondary school classrooms in the United States? Here are some reasons:
- The entire system of storytelling is very hard to learn and most people give up on it within months of trying it.
- The vast majority of students don’t know how to interact with their teachers in class and must be trained.
- The data gathering and grading pieces required in schools are in conflict with the soul of comprehension based instruction. Students, parents and especially administrators who don’t understand storytelling can ruin careers.
- TPRS as a pedagogical term conveys an image of classroom chaos to huge amounts of teachers, due to something we might call “TPRS Confusion Syndrome”.
- Training is insufficient. It is folly to ask a teacher to attend a summer training in the area of comprehension based instruction and then go in and make the bucking bronco of comprehension based teaching work in their classroom in the fall.
Training wheels, what are really “stepping stones to stories”, are available here. The teacher who wants instruction in personalization is advised to read PQA in a Wink! Read TPRS in a Year! for training in actual story creation.
The purpose of this book is to help you get your year cranked up with good classroom discipline and personalization before you worry about stories later. You’ll be a lot better with stories having studied and practiced the ideas in this book first. This is the right place to start.
In Stepping Stones to Stories, you will discover how to:
- Start your school year with simplified strategies that work.
- Choose and implement the strategies that work best for you.
- Teach using comprehensible input without using stories if you don’t want to.
- Bring students into your classroom process without forcing them.
- Teach for authentic language acquisition.
- Align with 21st century standards and research.
- Manage your classroom in ways that really work.
- Establish an assessment program that works and saves time.
- Learn skills like Staying in Bounds to make sure that each student understands.
- Make comprehensible input the foundation of your success.
- Establish trust in your classroom.
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