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6 thoughts on “TPRS and IB”

  1. Grant,
    I’ve got a 4 year long IB SL program going. This is my 5th or 6th testing year for IB. I’ve been working on my TPRS skills for about that long as well. I teach French and we have Spanish at my school as well. Two of the 4 Spanish teachers use TPRS. We’ve had pretty good results. My sense, from not ever having taught AP, is that IB is a lot better suited to TPRS preparation than AP. It seems more holistic and less nit-picky grammar. But, as I said, I don’t really know the AP that well so I’m just going on impressions. You can contact me at

  2. Grant,
    I have IB SL kids who are mixed into my advanced (levels 2 and up) class and they do the IB exam in their fourth year of study. I’ve only had these two years of TPRS, and so all I can say is that last year my IB kids did way better than they should have, given the time they personally put in out of class compared with kids in other years, whom I prepped much more extensively specifically for IB. Last year, we did a little bit of prep reading the texts that we got from the years that there were texts. This year will give me information on how kids will do when they refuse to prepare at all outside the TPRS classroom (I don’t assign homework or reading outside class except for AP and IB). Both of this year’s IB candidates just placed top five in our state language speaking competition (and both smiled ironic smiles at me as I got to make the announcement), so maybe they’ll do okay–you can contact me at

  3. I hope I don’t come across as a total idiot in that answer above or now…The two IB kids have been reading a lot with native speakers this year. I trained the native speakers to do TPRS-style read-and-discuss. But the two kids in question will not come in at lunch, will not do the outside reading, and basically would be making C’s or D’s if I graded homework any more seriously. They have both told me that their other IB classes demand so much time that they can’t afford to spend time on Russian outside, and they keep telling me that if I am right about this method, they shouldn’t have to. It’s both galling and validating to have them score so high–above heritage speakers, I might say–when they refuse to work outside class (and always have), and when actually half their time this year has been without me because they have been reading with the heritage speaker (Russian spoken at home) students and volunteers who have come in on non-story days.

  4. And there is another superior idea from you that I will definitely do if I end up teaching an AP or IB class with TPRS trained kids – get native speakers to spend time doing read and discuss with the kids outside of class – we would have to properly train them. That is the only homework necessary. The rest we could do in class. What a killer idea. Maybe get some of those Alliance people out of their cultural isolation and put them to work for the betterment of the greater community.

  5. One of my volunteers is a university instructor who has been coming to the TPRS gatherings ever since her husband learned to speak Russian with her after four days of Katya’s class (truth in advertising: he also had three tries at semester 1 university Russian class, and had given up because he still couldn’t say anything). She immediately started using storytelling in her university classes. I think I wrote about her elsewhere–she is the one who gets about a paragraph of any text read over the course of an hour, because she chats with the kids so much. It’s not quite Blaine-style, because she’s asking them about their lives, but she’s honestly interested and so supportive that they think they’re really hot stuff when they come back from talking with her.

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