Sujet de Thèse

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13 thoughts on “Sujet de Thèse”

  1. This thought just jumped out at me, but I would think it best if you could find a CI teacher who is looking for a one year temp job, and a traditional language dept school that is willing to act as an experiment site. They would need someone stepping down, to allow for the incoming CI teacher. Then, you use one year (0r more) of that CI teacher teaching in the same building as the traditional teacher(s). Oh wait, maybe the traditional teachers would try to sabotage the CI teacher’s situation a bit, to skew the results in their favor. Now that I re-read this, I will say that this is probably NOT a good way. Who am I kidding, this is not anything that I know about really.

    I don’t think I have anything to offer either, in terms of my own experiences at my school, since there is little record of anything nor was there a consistent teacher that preceded me. I hope you get some better and more valuable feedback from others.

    Maybe the whole experiment could take place OUTSIDE of schools, in some sort of temp charter school that can control factors in ways that we cannot in schools. Oh no, here I go again with likely poor ideas…

  2. When I discovered TPRS I had been teaching English as a Foreign Language for …. over 35 years. I investigated the idea out of pure curiosity (and my personal fascination with telling stories) and gradually became convinced that it was more effective than anything I had done before. And I considered myself a good teacher with a good track record. As I have come to know the TPRS community, one thing that has always surprised me is how many teachers have similar stories. They were experienced and considered excellent teachers, but once they switched they all say, “I’ll never go back.” I’ve always thought that there is where the research would be interesting. Of course, teachers who have switched can only give anecdotal information. But quite a few can also tell you how their enrollment figures shot up, how a part time job became full time and now they are hiring a second teacher. I’ve heard this so many times, it must be possible to document it.
    I think a study that followed teachers who are thinking about making the switch before and after could be interest.
    Ben points out that there are so many factors to take into account that it’s almost impossible to know why a student did or didn’t progress. And it’s almost as difficult to define what TPRS is because each teacher approaches it with their own personality. But it should be feasible to isolate a few key elements. How much explicit grammar instruction in the mother tongue are students being given? Does the teacher require output at an early stage? Today I read on a teacher’s blog “Even if students cannot understand what is being said, that is ok, as long they can talk about what they see.” What TPRS teacher would ever say that it’s okay if students cannot understand as long as they can talk?

    I once read a study that compared several different methods and came to the conclusion that they were all more or less effective, that the only element that really made a difference was whether or not the students believed they had a good teacher. So perhaps you would have to start by finding classes that have confidence in their teachers and then asking the teachers to consider using Tprs for the last half ot the year. It would be interesting to compare teachers’ and students’ impressions.

  3. “Even if students cannot understand what is being said, that is ok, as long they can talk about what they see.”

    Really? Wow, that takes the cake. Must be magic if the students cannot understand the language but they can speak it! Stunning. I guess this is the crazy house of mirrors version of CI!

  4. Rebekah Gambrell

    Why not have a CI/TPRS teacher teach one section with traditional methods and then have their other class with CI. Most CI teachers started out as traditional teachers so they know how that class would be. The only problem would be that the traditional class would be behind and you would be cheating them, but for study purposes it might be worth it.

  5. I’m one of those teachers who started out with the traditional method (textbook, workbook, video/audio series). I was very impressed with the initial results of TPRS and CI. The problems started to arise in the 3rd week of high school, when students started to be absent, pulled out of class (for various reasons), and constant interruptions over the PA system started (often 4-6 per class, every day).
    The kids who were absent started asking for worksheets (cringe) to catch up on what they had missed. 🙁 Anyone have any other way of reconciling the problem of absenteeism with TPRS?
    I would love to see a well controlled study of CI/TPRS vs Traditional grammar/vocabulary based teaching/learning.

    1. Hi, Shari: I thought that absentees myt benefit from the class storyand/ or some PQA being uploaded into the IM Translator. The kids who are absent a lot could listen to and read the class story.

      1. Yeah but then Shari has to organize all that. Some kid ditches and now she has extra work. Y’all are crazy when you try to remediate kids on absences. I say that if the absence is excused, the kid gets away with no work. If the absence is unexcused, it’s a zero in the book and have a nice day.

        Is that why you get all that extra money, to wipe the snot off the noses of lazy kids? Y’all need to be less professionally responsible. Why do all that extra work – so clueless and mean spirited politicians can threaten to take away your pension?

        Sorry about the tone, chill, but we know each other well enough that I can say that. I say we don’t give a thought to absent kids. There. I feel better.

        Dude, this has been an active day on the blog! Snow everywhere. Certainly here in South Jefferson County – they say 18″ by tonite.

        Come ski Colorado! Build our state retiree system!

  6. Thanks everyone for the responses so far! I really do appreciate it — I don’t have too much time to really respond fully to each one, as I’d like to, but any further ideas for potential research would be delightful. I am beginning to understand the challenge with CI vs. ci and how that would affect potential research.

    Beyond attempting to organize a comparison study between traditional vs. CI-based, I was also thinking of more observational studies revolving around how TPRS is expressed within CI-based classrooms? I.e. what themes reoccur? and what are students’ opinions as well as instructors’ opinions on a TPRS classroom?

    In understanding that language learning is an unconscious process and that students attending to the MEANING of the classroom language is of utmost importance, I could see developing a study around that right there: FL teachers perceptions of what true comprehensible input means. In the newest edition of Blaine’s book he mentions a number of studies that have been done on TPRS, but I don’t have it with me right now to take a gander at.

    Anyway, this is just me kind of thinking out loud. Please feel free to continue suggesting ideas! I think that this PLC is wonderfully passionate and I really believe in the ability of CI to get students to really acquire the language. And, as I read in another comment, change will have to happen at the grass-roots level and continue to grow through all possible avenues (which is why I think bringing the discussion of CI and TPRS into academia would be important). It would also be great to compile all of the brain-based research that supports teaching language in this way (I know there’s quite a bit!) as a nice resource.

    Okay, have to go make dinner. Thanks again for everything :).

    1. That interview is AMAZING. Such great feedback! And so positive. Made me really happy, all smiles :). I also solicited feedback from my freshman about the TPRS classroom via a google form and the results were promising. More things like that and more advocacy from STUDENTS is so important. For me, and this is reductionist in a way, but I’m providing my students with a service — teaching Spanish — and, even if they don’t really want to learn Spanish, it’s pretty clear that if they get excited about it, they want to learn how to express themselves. Communicate with others. And what’s great about CI and TPRS is that devoting my instructional time TO CI/TPRS, will move them very effectively towards those goals. I agree with you completely that at least the first two years of language study should be all CI.

      As far as talking about what true comprehensible input means, and honing in on the idea that the students have to focus on MEANING, it might be good to think about what focusing on meaning might look like in a student’s subconscious or how is focusing on the kind of meaning we attain with TPRS different then what occurs in little ci? (Now, as I understand it, we use the little ci to mean that students, though receiving input in some form, are not actively focusing on meaning, correct?).

      I love this discussion! I’m going to have to start commenting more in the PLC — I don’t get to have these kinds of discussions within my department and I think I’ve been craving them, haha. Thanks again for everything!

  7. The NYS assessments were good exams that were TPRS-friendly, in that they evaluated students’ ability to understand and produce language in a pretty fair way. Although the State is no longer producing the exams, an organization called FLACS is using a similar (teacher-created items) process to create exams at two levels (level one, level 3) in several languages. The exam measures the four skills: speaking, writing, reading and listening. As of now, the objectively graded areas of the exam are reading and listening. If you could disaggregate those scores, and get the results from the 200 or so school districts that are giving the exams, you could select some top-performing and middle-performing groups, ask teachers of those groups to self-identify teaching style (CI or whatever), then select teachers using different styles (according to what they think they are doing). Over the course of the following year, instruction in those classrooms could be examined (teachers self-reports, student questionnaires, performance quizzes, maybe classroom visits to monitor CI or submission of recorded classes on a regular basis) and analysed, then exam results at the end of that year could be correlated to teachers’ actual use of comprehensible target language in the classroom, no matter how they self-reported. Maybe it is convoluted, but it might identify in a measurable way the impact of different teaching styles. No matter how teachers self-report, the evaluator would have established an objective standard. The FLACS people might be interested in cooperating, they are interested in proving the validity of their exams.

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