Tina on T1 and T2

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



25 thoughts on “Tina on T1 and T2”

  1. What is good is that we are having this discussion. We are not saying there is one way to do it. T1 works for some, T2 works for some, and NT works for some. We can blend them if we want – our classroom are ours alone. We can do whatever we want. Nobody is saying there is only one way to do it. This is currently misunderstood by many right now.

    1. I know that we do not all have to do NT work, but I am grateful that I found it through you. You changed my world back in late winter 2016. Back in February and March and April 2016, when you started sharing the key you developed to unlock NT work, with the Invisibles, and I tried it, it just felt big. Like what I had been looking for. And then I realized that years ago (and Mike Peto also talked about this at the workshop last August) you had gotten my imagination all fired up about the Realm back on the old blog, in 08 or 09 or so. Now people are starting to take note of the discussion that you started at that time.

      Because back in ’13 YOU PAID ATTENTION to this article by Krashen.
      This article contains a lot to unpack. You have actually been rifling through this box for a while now. Even before this article, you were intuitively feeling that the Realm could fire our imaginations and free us from the burden of pre-planned targets. At that time, you were pretty much still really into circling, and that is something that you have changed too. (And based on that talk in the dining-room in Agen, I have changed on that as well. Circling is dangerously close to skills-building, it is what made Krashen say in June that TPRS can veer very close at times to the Audio-Lingual Method, and why Beniko still asserts that targets lead to skills-building)

      I think that the discussion you have always wanted to have is starting to happen, slowly. People seem upset with you, for changing your mind. I applaud you, Ben, I applaud you for always changing, always growing, always innovating. I am so excited to see where this new vein takes us, those who are interested in following it. Even iFLT now has a “non-TPRS” track and says quite boldly in their materials: Participants in the CI track will “learn how to facilitate SLA through a variety of CI-based strategies, including scaffolded questioning, TPR, TPR sequences, story sequences, various reading activities, videos, and more.” They say in their description of the Beginning TPRS track that “Due to the steep learning curve and time required to hone TPRS skills” the particiapnts will need all week. They also say that the CI (non-TPRS) track is for “teachers who have had no previous experience or training in CI-based strategies OR who may have had previous TPRS® training but who have not successfully implemented the TPRS approach in the classroom”. Kinda puts the lie to the oft-repeated idea that new people need to do TPRS first before branching out.

      Then I remembered that the Realm was also in TPRS in a Year! so I dug this out. It was the Realm that opened my eyes to the deep truth that CI can be delivered in all kinds of creative and fun ways that have not yet been tapped. Steve Krashen made that point this past October in his keynote at COFLT. He said that we could do cooking, martial arts (which Wade Blevins will do in Cherokee out here in June at the Cascadia conference and I picture Steve beaming as he sees that dream come true and learns some Tai Chi in Cherokee), stories, origami…whatever is compelling to the kids.

      There are some big changes happening in the CI realm these days, I think we need a town crier to announce it. Ben your little classroom in India truly has lit a fire, and it is spreading.

      Skill #47: The Realm (Excerpts)

      Teenagers have a natural interest in things medieval. In some of my classes, we create a European realm from the fourteenth or fifteenth century as the setting for our stories all year. This involves the development of kings and queens, dukes and duchesses, court jesters, soldiers, pigs, and myriad other characters, all taken from the group of students you are teaching.

      In this imaginary land, you will see TPRS and the imagination of the children really taking flight. The students’ desire to understand the target language becomes intense because they really want to know what happens. Since they are the same person or animal, or in one case a tree, all year long, they are easier to fit into stories.

      The linking together of the students’ humorous names and identities in this imaginary realm inspires each student to take ownership in the class. As the teacher, my job in the Realm is to facilitate communication by speaking French in a clear and understandable way, a sort of town crier.

      Once we have learned some structures and established a problem around a certain character, I announce in my town crier voice:

      Now, anybody who is familiar with TPRS knows that a sentence like that in a first year class can require up to half an hour or more of circling to be completely understood by the class. What a great problem for a teacher to have! Why?

      First, the sentence contains a number of district performance indicators about time, weather, calendar, and numbers! Announced as they are in this way, they actually capture the students’ interest.

      More importantly, the kids cannot want to know what is up in the Realm today, so when they hear something about a king and kurly fries (a local favorite), they are all eyes and ears! Many of them spend a lot of energy trying to figure out ways that their own character can appear in the story, but I just allow the story to unfold by itself.

      The kids who usually don’t get involved in stories will do all they can to look like they know what is going on when we are in the Realm, since the interest of the class as a whole is so high.

      Once your medieval realm is up and running, just have fun with it. You have worked hard to get to this point and now you can just enjoy the students’ cute ideas. Hatching plots becomes a favorite lunchroom discussion topic for many students, and there is general frivolity in the Realm.

      1. This is from the article referenced above:

        “TPRS and the unteachable/untaught grammar problem and the denial of i+1 problem:

        As noted above, no grammatically based method can hope to teach all the rules language users need. TPRS, however, has the advantage of including a great deal of comprehensible input, input that certainly contains more grammar than just the targeted structures. It is quite possible that teachers include some aspects of grammar in the input that are not in the
        curriculum. The insistence, however, on total translatability (e.g. Ray and Seeley, 2008) makes this unlikely.”

        This is why Krashen sees that most TPRS teachers do T1 and the best of the best do T2. They want translatability. Focusing on the words, the language chunks, that slows down the train to NTville.

        The thing is, if we would all shift our thinking away from teaching words, WE COULD ALL EASILY DELIVER COMPREHENSIBLE T2 or EVEN NT INPUT. If we made a mental shift, we could easily all do it. The tools are actually there already, waiting to be picked up: OWI, the Invisibles, Story Listening (fiction and nonfiction), student-selected texts and SSR, untethered class discussions, and activities like yoga and cooking.

        The shift is mental more than anything. Taking that leap of faith and moving our minds away from the persistent perception, built on our own schooling and our cultural archetype of what school looks like, that we have to TEACH SOMETHING. Once that is done, freedom sets in. Freedom and courage. Courage to take back our power.

        1. Another way of using non-targeted input is by using student-created stories as readings. I have been typing up samples from freewrites (10 minute or sometimes even longer) from students (as well as having them sometimes do illustrations) and using those as readings for the whole class. This has been very engaging to the students, and I feel like it really celebrates their work.

          I still need to look more at the story listening thing going on- I’m still not 100% sure about what all it entails… But, it seems like student writing is an excellent way to provide stories that are original and at an easily digestible level for most students in the classroom.

          I’m also going to be printing all of the class’s work at the end of the year as an entire packet that all my students can have as a memento for the year. It’s essentially a portfolio of work, but with all of my classes combined. I’m very excited about it!

          1. Bryan you have reason to be excited about it because you are clearly going to the core of this work by focusing on the students and what they produce. Where you to take a free write and tell it to the class without telling exactly which student wrote that free write, you would undoubtedly have a good portion of the class on the end of their seats. You probably already do that.

            Those free writes are gold mines and many of us don’t use them. We can craft a SL class out of just one of them, or we can do a Write and Discuss thing as well. The fact that a kid wrote it is what makes it golden.

            Spinning a story for them can come from the classic fairy tales or from free writes or anything. I would love to hear how it works for you when you start cranking them out. Tina’s description of SL here – where is that? – describes it well. I think it is so simple that you are overthinking it.

            And printing their stories from the year as a collection. What is more community building than that?

            This work is about personalizing and building community. We are all making it so confusing with all the T1/T2 stuff. It just shows that after all these years we are still missing the point by focusing on the curriculum. I’ll add my sigh to Robert’s and Nathaniel’s and everybody else’s.

          2. I notice how firm you are Ben in getting to the fundamentals of this work. It’s for the students — the kids. It is no coincidence that this lowers the AF which you rarely see talked about in TPRS circles. Only when forcing output will some teachers hold out on — but even then some still do it for data reasons.

            I modified your WTCG by having a student draw what I write on a slip of paper in L1. The rest of the class needs to give the word or verb of the drawing in L2. The structures are the same in class. Totally fun and just had the kids recall instead of making actual meaning, getting invovled in a communicative act yadda, yadda etc… Even I feel too old to be talking about best practices.

  2. Krashen seems to favor T2 over T1. But they are very similar. Targeting is targeting after all. I would bet that if you asked ten CI practitioners to describe how T1 and T2 are alike or not alike, you would get ten different answers. Tina I trust your judgement so how do you describe the difference? I trust your opinion because I know you have been in touch w both Beniko and Krashen a lot this past few weeks.

    Isn’t it weird that a pure researcher who has never been in a classroom would even say things like:

    …at the end of one academic year T2 will result in the full acquisition of many of the rules imposed us on T1….

    1. I see a difference. T1 is when you pre-select the structures and build the story around them. T2 is when you put the story in the driver’s seat and target the language that is needed to understand it. It makes a big difference to me in engagement. Are we coding in with pre-selected target language and expecting to repeat it over and over, or are we coming in with stories to share and putting the story first?
      With T1, according to Krashen, “Our job is to find a story or interesting activity that will include lots of comprehensibe/interesting repetitions of these items. (This is why we get questions such as “do you know a story which I can use for teaching the conditional?”). Thus, Targeting 1 is a way of “contextualizing grammar,” defined here as beginning with a target grammar rule and finding a context that will help make it comprehensible.”
      With T2, the goal is comprehending the story so therefore, “This will not require as many comprehensible/interesting reps as in Targeting 1: The goal is comprehension of the story or activity, not full acquisition of the rule in a short time.”

  3. Well explained but please expand on how targeting occurs in T2. I think you will say that if a word is needed for understanding the story, then it gets in, bc it helps the students understand the story. But what then are the targets? How does T1 differ from NT?

    1. I think that they are like what you would call “emergent targets”. Like for instance, I needed to say “accountant” in that story of Bill el Contable. And so I write “Contable” on the board and say “Su trabajo es contar” and say “uno, dos, tres…” to demonstrate “contar” and then I went on . I **THINK** that is T2. But what I am not understanding is, if that is T2 and it is targeting what they need to have to comprehend the storyline, then what is NT? I am a big ball of confused right now. I am sure that through a period of confusion comes great growth. I know I have been thinking, thinking. And reading and re-reading. I just had a little Facebook exchange on the Liftoff page with Krashen that seems to have illuminated some things and obscured others. I am preparing a document to see if he can help me “get it”. I just want to know if making a list of words and building the story on them, as I did for years, is T1 and thus to be avoided. I feel like it is so freeing for teachers that it is worth all the head-scratching I am currently doing.

  4. I’m late to the party. Will check it out later today during my prep. In short, NT rules. Today I had non-forced relaxed NT (with impromptu Story Listening) for about 45 minutes. There was a sort of timelessness.

  5. I feel like there is a word missing here. Please help me to construe a meaning of the the last three words:
    “1. giving up class novel studies especially in lower levels, in of SSR”

    1. Ben, I think the question is “how much are you willing to let go?” We’ve been so conditioned to think like teachers with a type A personality instead of paying attention to the heart. I had friends who failed all their time in school. Some got into trouble with the law. What could have been different if they had felt successful in one class one time in their lives? The possibility, no the potential, is too great to ignore.

      1. …what could have been different if they had felt successful in one class one time in their lives?…

        This one sentence has kept me burning trying to find out ways to get better at this. In some ways I could care less about language teaching, but I have found myself in a language classroom, so I might as well do my best not for language teaching but for kids. Sounds cliche but if one kid likes life because of my 38 years of head banging then it is worth it.

        On an editorial note, I am seeing that the kids today are far deeper into depression and sadness than any years in the past. I know, it may not be true, but jen alluded to this in her own building recently, and others have. January can be so dark. But like you said, Steven:

        …what could have been different if they had felt successful in one class one time in their lives?…

    1. On novels and NT…. I am currently reading Pirates by Canion and Gaab. I looked at the glossary… and I can only see a few structures that were never covered in my NT instruction. I admit I was ecclectic in year one (mainly targeting all the way until March) but now I am a solid 85-90 percent untargeted. Occasionally I do a script and I am doing more story listening.

      Today I talked about when I was a kid and went to see Casper in the 90s. I used the 1st person form…. and my class chorally responded to the meanings. I treated them like new words but they recognized them right away. So, when input is compelling go for it — no need to force 1st person targets or formal subjects like “VOUS”

      I do not plan but rather I will intuitively sprinkle in some structures from the novels I read before releasing them into the FVR library. When I need the structures there they will be in the back of my mind, not forced but rather facilitating communication in my story listening as well as stories with the invisibles.

  6. I feel that the very existence of T1 and T2 are in a kind of natural opposition to Krashen. We of course know that his original work was not connected to schools, in which language teaching must necessariy become twisted for many if they are to keep their jobs and not get into conflict with their colleagues. Given that we can’t duplicate in one hour per day the natural input processes that occurs all day, a well-intentioned cadre of strong teachers back in the 1990’s tried to make SK’s work in the classroom, and targeting happened. I think I got on board via Susan Gross at the end of that process, around the year 2000. At that time, and still, everybody was really wanting to be Blaine but, no blame, couldn’t, bc Blaine is Blaine, a phenomenon. Then what I saw happen from 2000 to now was a further and deeper each year codification of the original vision into a vision that reflected the idea that Tina refers to above that we “need to TEACH” something. That made it so hard to do, because Krashen and T1, as it became defined, are oil and water. Again, no blame, but for me stories and PQA in particular were more than I could handle. I wrote books about it in order to understand it and still half sucked at it, with the few home run days interspersed with many crickety days. So I found my way back to solid ground w NT/Krashen and now can do both, and enjoy both. So I am not blaming those who like to target and who have to target, but I wonder how many Targeting varieties we will invent. Will there be a T3? It is starting to sound like a way to describe a spinal column rather than a teaching method. I am suspect about the term T2. Why was it invented? Tina we have been talking daily about this for a month now. I think I found something of value to share with you. Is it possible that T2 and NT are the same thing, that T2 is code for NT but in school settings? I am confused too. I wonder who can explain it really clearly to the rest of us? Buehler? Buehler? That guy Grima? I don’t want to talk to him, though.

  7. In my little pea brain there is much confusion between what T1 & T2 are. But I’m not really trying to figure that difference out bc it requires more energy and time than what I can put into it. I’m trying to figure out the NT part.

    For me, in my practice so far, NT means letting go of the expectation of a result. The expectation that students will remember. For me this is a major change in mentality and in how I do things. I try to tell myself that the important part of my work is having and providing a good experience for my students, but I can’t completely let go of that “need” to see growth.

    I am quite happy with the challenge that Ben and Tina are presenting to us all in a(n optional) move toward NT and truly think it is the direction I need to work on to keep growing as a teacher and human being.

    1. Laura, I just love this. I am getting a little turned around with all this T1/T2 talk. There are two versions of it out there, Krashen’s paper from June and the updated one from November. I am beyond confused on many levels about it.

      Your beautiful words here are really the only thing we need:

      “NT means letting go of the expectation of a result. The expectation that students will remember. For me this is a major change in mentality and in how I do things. I try to tell myself that the important part of my work is having and providing a good experience for my students, but I can’t completely let go of that “need” to see growth”

      It is so true and thank you so much for this. I need to get some peace these days. I feel like I need to let go of the expectation of a result in the CI community. Change is hard for many to accept. Yet I get all excited about the effects that this shift in thinking has had on my classroom. And I want to spread the word. I get all attached to the result of getting others to try this approach.

      Attachment is said to lead to suffering. In life the path of joy is said to be the path of trust, trust that what is happening in this moment is supposed to be happening. That the growth will take care of itself. For kids as well as for us.

  8. …trust that what is happening in this moment is supposed to be happening….

    How can we even measure and control what is a magical process of unfolding? Do we measure the unfolding process of a flower? The flower is given sun and water and soil (input) and it grows into something that is beautiful, and reflective of the beauty of nature. Language acquisition is so natural! Each thing a human being says can be so beautiful, like a flower. It is our potential. All can experience the joy of creating flowers from words. It is all given to us. All we need for our young ones to learn is to provide them with sun and water and soil input. Our students can learn in math class. They can’t “learn” in our classes. It is because math can be studied consciously with results. But a language cannot be studied consciously with results. It doesn’t happen that way, because it all occurs in hidden realms. All we can hope to do is provide the sun and water and soil input. We try to mess with a naturally occurring process, instead of just providing the input. Then we try to measure it. What a dork move. When will we learn the majesty of what we are dealing with and respect it? Language acquisition is FAR MORE than what we think it is, far more complex, far beyond what the analytical mind can conceive and tied to something infinite. It involves trust as Tina says and a certain vulnerability, the way people are always vulnerable when real conversation is happening, as per:


    I’m such a hippy….

    1. Yeah, ya hippy. That’s why Mike Peto writes stuff like this about you Ben.

      “Ben’s approach to TPRS does not rely upon crazy theatrics or an exhausting teacher performance; Ben’s approach is grounded in a deep, calm reserve of love and respect. Ben taught in an urban, high-poverty district; he understands the false bargain we strike with coercive discipline systems and approaches that do not place the student first. Come join us and learn from a man that has led a revolution of love from within the larger revolution that is TPRS!”

  9. Raised by a hippie mother I grew to want more security and concreteness. However, my best days in class were when the students stole the story and we learned weird things like “cotton candy.” I never understood how much I destroyed that joy when I kept coming back to the weird vocabulary. I was determined that there would be results.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben