Short Demo Idea

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8 thoughts on “Short Demo Idea”

  1. Tamula here is one possible idea:

    How much time to you have for your presentation? If it were under 30 minutes, I personally would start out with praise for this Chair who recognized the flaw in presenting too many structures and explain to the group that you noticed the same thing, thus honoring the Chair for even being open to this method.

    Then I would say how misunderstood this kind of instruction is, and then go on to say that it is simple and is based on one fundamental idea: that the deeper brain, if left to its own devices, can organize and thus acquire language perfectly well and that you have found since starting this way that all you have to do is speak and have your students read in a way that is interesting and comprehensible to them and it all happens as if by magic (but it’s not magic.)

    You could point out that, far from teaching only three or four structures per week, you are allowing the conscious mind the ease of focusing only on those three or four structures, so that the brain is not overwhelmed.

    You could explain that all the other words you are uttering in the TL are being taken in without the person even knowing it, but that when they go to sleep that night, the person’s deep and rich and complex language acquisition device (Chomsky) will organize everything, parsing in what it wants to accept into the growing language system and rejecting stuff it can’t handle/doesn’t want in the system at that time. So that it will all happen naturally. You can explain that that is, in your opinion, why

    …vocabulary they had taught in class couldn’t be recognized by the students on a recording of native speakers….

    The kids’ minds were overwhelmed, flooded with information. The conscious mind that they used to try to learn that vocabulary was not up to the job, insufficient for the rigor involved. You could explain how, even though a kid might look as if they are just sitting in your classroom, if you look in their eyes when you are speaking (the eyes are part of the brain) you can see real rigor.

    So then, you could give an example of that. You could take one structure and just circle the hell out of it with your group, just getting as many reps as you can. And then you can play a recording (that you made in advance for your demo in a language the Chair doesn’t understand) in which the target structure that you circled so much appears a number of times and then you could thereby demonstrate how this method works, bc ostensibly she would be able to pick out the structures only.

    You could make the point that the “little words” in between the structures are the ones that go into the sleep parsing process and that they are easily acquired because they occur so often in the context of normal speach and so would be all be arranged by the deeper mind. Just an idea there of what you might do.

  2. And Tamula you obviously have drawn some attention, not by arguing for the method, but by drawing happy kids into your instruction. These colleagues see it, see their own failings, and, if they have any sense of honesty in themselves, they resist the urge to attack you.

    They actually want to sit down and try to figure out what you are doing. This Chair is to be respected and appreciated for her reaction to both her own and your work. It is a very mature reaction, and, I would suggest, somewhat atypical.

    I would suggest that your own hard work at this in the short time you have been doing it, your bearing, and the way you carry yourself in the classroom, have paved the way for this collaboration with them.

    I sense, from what you write here on the blog, a great sense of openness to things and these colleagues are simply accepting your unspoken invitation to learn and grow and get a little bit of what you have for themselves.

    This is how the change will occur. There aren’t enough Susan Grosses and Blaine Rays in the world to make this change happen – it will be done by us, the foot soldiers trying to get up Krashen Mountain, stumbling on rocks and falling on our arses in our classrooms, and crying some and laughing some.

    Gradually, as you are doing, we will turn the focus of language class design to the focusing on the meaning and not the words. So you are to be congratulated. The incredible opportunity you have is because of you.

    O.K. now I’ll start my weekend.

  3. thank you, Ben. Very well said. I’ll be stealing big chunks for my own presentation this week to a group of primary teachers in France who want to know more about TPRS.

  4. I’ll share my experience just in case it’s helpful. I have presented Susie’s cat story in French and in Russian to a variety of audiences, from parents to TEFL trainees to, most recently the whole school faculty. It can be done with any combination of pictures, props, and TPR and has always made a big impact. Michele W. will confirm how that simple little story gave the FL teachers of Alaska pause for thought. If you can schedule 20 minutes of your presentation for a demo, I would thoroughly recommend it.

  5. I have learnt a tiny bit of Hindi mostly for the purpose of showing the other teachers how it felt to be taught with CI. That worked like a charm. I also told them about the things I was dissatisfied on a very personal level in my previous, regular English classes. My colleagues were very enthusiastic and many came into my class to watch me teach and are waiting for further information/training.

  6. Thank you everyone for your help. Ben, thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I hope I can live up to them! Our presentation just got scheduled for the next dept meeting in November. Interestingly, our other Spanish teacher told me yesterday that she used to use TPRS with her elementary school kids in her previous job. It was an earlier form . . . The one with the picture stories with wolves.

  7. …she used to use TPRS….

    For every language teacher in the U.S. who is trying to be true to an honest vision of TPRS, there are one hundred who falsely make this claim.

    They are wrong and have caused irreperable damage to the term. It will never recover. We need a new term.

    I don’t like TCI even though I was in the room and the discussion when Meredith Richmond made it up in June of 2009. That morning we had been waiting for Diana to show up (she was getting bagels) and were trying consciously to come up with a new term to describe what we do in Denver Public Schools because we knew that the term TPRS had no meaning anymore – it had become a liability in the general national view of most language teachers, except to be identified with one person who had personal aims of his own for the term.

    I just don’t like the term TCI. Here’s a new one that I suggest, but it can only be used by wingnuts like me who believe in the concept it expresses and who teach in that way – Non-Targeted Comprehensible Input – yeah, Krashen’s term, as per the recent thread on this topic here. How about it, fellow wingnuts?

    Should we form our own splinter group from the general TPRS one – since it means nothing and does nothing except to piss people off – for those of us who could care less how many non-targeted structures we do in a story? Would anybody like to join the new NTCI group? I like the term – it reminds me of NPR for some reason. Maybe we could get Big Bird to join. If he’s not dead.

    Actually I’m serious about this. I detest being seen as a TPRS teacher, not because of Blaine and his great work, but because of what it has become. I really want to be free of that term in my work and I think that NTCI is a good term to describe what I do. In fact, I think I’ll just start using that term. I’ve always been an army of one. Fuck it.

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