Report from the Field – Amy Marshall

Hey Ben –
I have been self-teaching myself TPRS with everything I can get my hands on and have basically seen an explosion in my Spanish students language abilities. It is very exciting! My school has asked me to work with the ELL kids to see if I have any luck with them. I am hoping to find a conference nearby that I can do soon to help me speed up my learning curve.
Thanks so much for the help!
Amy Marshall



4 thoughts on “Report from the Field – Amy Marshall”

  1. Hi Amy,
    Congratulations on your results with TPRS.
    With regard to the ELL, I expect that Eric will be piping up here soon. He teaches English every summer in Honduras, I believe.
    Here is a question: Do the students need basic communication (like our FL students)? Or do they need academic language?
    How big are your numbers?
    An important consideration is a frequency list so that you can monitor whether you are working within the bounds of the 100, 150, etc. most common words, to be combined with connecting words and words that are of high interest to the students.
    Those are some thoughts. I am sure others will chime in soon.

  2. Hi Amy,
    I too have just started with TPRS/CI. Although there are many resources, I think part of it has to do with experimenting and finding out what works for you.
    As far as ELL students, I would try and include as much engaging material as possible. If you have support from your admin, then I would go easy on the grammar and include as much CI as possible. Of course, you have to take care of your mental health and your job (making sure there is no backlash).
    Important to know if the level of English your students have. Do you have to work with more common everday language (BICS)? Or do you have to include more academic language? Good rules of thumbs are: Personalized and Compelling content.

    1. Hi Amy,
      I teach both ESL and French. I see a lot of overlap. The number one difference is in the type of programming: differentiation. Most ESL programs are pull-out (which causes grouping/scheduling problems). This often forces extreme disparities in proficiency levels (like image a native speaker with a student with zero language-in the same class). If even one of your kids has been in the US for more than a year or so, I would not use straight-up TPRS–they will already speak the BICS that TPRS teaches so well. It’s too easy for the majority of my kids.
      Unfortunately, there are only 45 minutes of my day that I am able to get all my newcomers together and use storytelling. I definitely agree with Steven: “Personalized and Compelling content” for all ELLs…but I would add differentiation. The way you circle (and talk in general) will be different, the shared texts you create will be different, etc. I highly recommend you by-pass a high school and observe in a K-5 or middle school ELL class. You’ll see most ESL teachers already use techniques that overlap tremendously with FL TCI.

      1. Sorry, that second sentence didn’t make a lot of sense: it’s the Robitussin talking. Basically, ESL requires a significant amount of differentiation; it feels more like tight-rope walking, and doesn’t always allow all students i+1. 100% of the time (some will need extra umph to modify up, some will need extra support to modify down).

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