Teaching in a Natural Way

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2 thoughts on “Teaching in a Natural Way”

  1. A bunch of things in this post resonated with me, but focusing especially on this idea: “So in TPRS I want to help create activities that will allow the teachers to bond with their kids, in a natural and highly personal way. ”

    In Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido’s session yesterday (at NTPRS) they made the point that your curriculum = your students. That only by really listening to your students (and truly hearing them) can you create a classroom atmosphere that not only reaches them, but also engages them. This is important because as soon as a student shuts down or turns off, they aren’t paying as close attention (or any attention at all), which I would think would lower their rate of acquisition.

    Now, in many ways I think storytelling is a very natural thing to do — we tell stories ALL THE TIME. The news, current events, history, poetry, literature, all of it is really stories, so I can see that being a useful thing in the classroom to do, though I think our move away from purely storytelling (a la Blaine’s story structure) is a good thing. Doing those types of stories all the time would, probably, be just as unnatural as doing those contrived dialogues (though more appropriate for language acquisition, of course). I’m really becoming more and more convinced that we need to expand our definition of what a story is (i.e. use video, news, commercials, literature, twitter, etc) and have that be another way that we relate to our students (by focusing on things of interest to them, while also trying to expand their worldview in some way). Comprehensible Input + Personalization is really the key and there are many ways to realize that in the FL classroom. I think that’s really my focus and will be my focus in this upcoming school year. (Haha maybe that’s all vague, but it’s 7:30 AM and I’m just starting the day!)

  2. One of the workshops that I attended encouraged us to make our students our curriculum…. To know them SO well that we are constantly conforming our CI to their interest. I don’t know how difficult it will be….

    For example this morning I learned that the “biggest baby in the history of Spain” was born… I wonder if showing this headline (to upper levels is what I am imagining) would lead to some compelling CI? Who was the smallest baby in this class? Who was the largest baby? How much did “you weigh? I could tell how much I weighed? (keeping it in bounds of course…) Is that what you mean by “natural?”

    I wonder if we might help each other by brainstorming such “natural” flows of CI? I know that if I am very aware and in tune with my students I will discover ways that I can match CI to the REAL interests of my students….

    I recently read “Brandon Brown Wants a Dog” and I know that any student with a dog will relate and be interested in this story…. This would be for level 1…

    Thanks Ben for priming us to think about how to be “natural” with our students.

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