Reflections of a University Student

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8 thoughts on “Reflections of a University Student”

  1. This was a great learning experience for me. The preparation for a university presentation helped me to get my thoughts together, interaction with the students and professors sharpened my thinking , and the discussions with university student observers in my classroom helped me to understand what they were missing.
    I encourage everyone to do similar presentations. We have to get the word out. It is do-able. Professors know that change is afoot and they want to prepare their students.

    1. Grant Boulanger

      I’m doing such a presentation tonight! I hope it’s OK but I’m going to distribute AshLee’s journal entry (crediting your blog, of course). SO powerful!

      1. All right! Go for it Grant! Good luck on the presentation. And of course it is cool to use AshLee’s journal and observation, she gave me permission to put them on my blog which is a public forum.
        If it helps, there is a copy of my notes on TPRS on my site. It is in the Free Stuff section under Workshop Downloads. I made that available to the university students as well when I did my presentations.
        Let us know how it goes. I am still working on answering their questions and I will blog on it soon. I hope you can add to that and/or share how it goes. Break a leg!

  2. I feel so glad that AshLee got to see you and learn about this at the beginning of her career. I feel bad when new teachers have no training in CI or language acquisition theory. Did you reach out to the universities or did someone contact you?

  3. I reached out. A professor from CSU gave an in-service presentation for our district last year and I stayed after to talk about best practice, ACTFL guidelines, and acquisition vs. learning with her. We communicated over email and I suppose I piqued her curiosity about TPRS. I think that it helped that I established some credibility by knowing what I was talking about.
    For the other university, I had a student from the school observing and I asked her if she had ever had anyone present about TPRS in her methods classes (presuming that the answer would be no). I then asked for the professor’s email and began contacting her about a possible presentation.
    We can’t be passive about this stuff. We need to be proactive and make some things happen. I used to think that it was SOOOOO obvious that everyone would just catch on, but no longer. We need to spell it out and we need to show them.

  4. It’s not obvious to most. My guess is that 1 of 200 teachers has heard about it, 1 of 2,000 have tried it, and 1 of 20,000 use it daily. Just a guess and probably way off. The head of our high school’s ELA department is extremely standoffish with Krashen. There is no linking at all with WL (100 teachers) and ELA (2,000 teachers) in our district. I was at one of those cross departmental trainings today and this department chair said that she forces one of her kids who just arrived from Mexico to speak to her in English against his strong protestations. Then she wondered out loud why he causes her problems in class. He doesn’t like her. She doesn’t like Krashen. I see a connection. Bring a can of Whoop Ass and open it up on your presentation Grant. And remember what we said about mojination and observors –

  5. Grant Boulanger

    The presentation went well. There were only about 10 people – all post-bacs. One male, all the others female. Mostly Spanish teachers-to-be and two French. A few with ESL/Spanish dual licensure.
    I demoed Circling with Balls in German for about 20 minutes, letting the ‘focus structures’ come up naturally. Then, talked about how I came to TCI/TPRS. I used some of Bryce’s outline from this post (
    The burning question for them, as they are entering student teaching soon, is how to do this if the cooperating teacher isn’t TPRS-friendly. I had to bite my lip with the instructor (who invited me) suggested they take some vocab from the chapter, match it with the grammar point being taught and make a story. I did recommend that they just identify the skills used in TPRS that they are drawn to and practice them in the class without calling it tprs. Circling is just circling and any increase in CI driven by engaging conversation is good for acquisition. Same with activities like the One Word Image. No need to call that TPRS – just do the activity. So, we’ll see.
    Their instructor has bought Ben’s two books so I know they have access to those skills that Ben has outlined so well.
    Many expressed interest in coming to observe. If they do, I’ll also recommend that they observe my colleagues that are teaching with CI in my district as well, as it’s always good to get a feel for what CI looks like in different classrooms (pre-empting the “I don’t have the energy, personality, fill-in-the-blank for this” argument).
    I had 90 minutes and it was not enough time. It’s so hard to narrow it down. If given another chance, I would focus in more on the hot topics that AshLee identifies that resonate so much with her and others.
    I did include the 90% document, my adaptation of Robert’s Interpersonal rubric, my adaptation of Ben’s rules, etc. Thanks again to all of you in this community! I’m creeping closer to being ready to start giving back/paying forward for all the support you’ve provided me.

  6. Sounds like it went well, Grant. I can’t wait to hear more as you think about it and get some feedback from the students in the coming days and weeks.
    I think we may be turning a corner here, with this group anyway. We need to take it to them. We need to state our case. We need to persuade. Enough passivity. I have been waiting around thinking that people would come to my way of thinking, but that is not working.
    A lot is a stake with this issue of Learning vs. Acquisition/Grammar vs. CI. I used to think it was more a friendly cooperation. I am always a bit slow with this kind of stuff, but now I see it as a definite competition–not adversarial or acrimonious, but a competition nonetheless.

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