Trusting and More on Krashen’s Visit (Warning: Major Rambling)

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8 thoughts on “Trusting and More on Krashen’s Visit (Warning: Major Rambling)”

  1. Language: ” a spontaneous, joyous thing to be shared to make life and sharing with others happier that day.” Thank you for this insight, Ben. It alone makes membership on this blog well worth the money. I’m posting it as my thought for the week. How often do we remember that the only reason for learning another language is to be able to share joyously with others? Do our students have any idea that that’s what it’s all about?

  2. The “naturalness” of PQA, just hanging out with the students, talking to them with no plan in mind sounds a lot like Dogme language teaching, anybody ever read about it? Before I discovered TPRS I was reading about the Dogme approach because I know the textbook/grammar/translation approach wasn’t working.

  3. “In fact, when language students go to sleep after hearing some nice, fine input that day (read input that contains joy, that is enjoyable), it is their own brain, not the well organized teacher, that does the crucial process of parsing out what it wants to keep …”

    This part jumped out at me because this week, several kids came into the class asking what a particular word was because it was rattling around in their brain, and a few others said that their family members got mad at them for muttering in Russian all the time and they realized that they were unconsciously either retelling a story out loud or saying one of our poems or songs.

    I guess their brains are processing, even when they’re not asleep…just when they’re doing other things.

    It’s such a relief to know that we don’t have to be great teachers. This system works, whether or not we’re great. Just focus on getting to know the kids.

  4. “Although it is late in the year, I am working on PQA because I don´t feel like a did a very good job of it in the beginning of the year.”

    I’m actually doing this as well. Started off the second semester by FINALLY pulling out the interest inventory/invented personality pages that the students filled out at the beginning of the year. One would think that the delay would be bad, but it has actually been a great thing! We’re having a total blast with it because the students can’t remember what they wrote on their own papers. I walk around the room with the stack of papers face down and ask a student to pick one out (and there’s enough variety in the questions I asked that something usually fits the day’s “structures”). Everyone’s super curious not only because the paper might be theirs, but because they’re wondering what they wrote! And because they became accustomed to playing the game with stories about other characters during the first semester, they’re more willing to play with the real and made-up details of their own lives too. So I’m pleased to have this “new” personalization to liven up what can often become a dreary stretch of the year.

  5. Ben,
    As I have said many times before, this blog has been a constant companion in my efforts to become a true language teacher. It has been of enormous help in letting that inner me grow and relax and connect with my students. I have been much more of a receiver than a giver on this blog. I hope to contribute more in the future. I often think of the literary magazines that represented new trends and ways of thinking and approaching art throughout history. Some day there will be Wikipedia entry that reads “Ben Slavic’s blog – a grouping of revolutionary language teachers in the early 21st century that was in the vanguard of the total transformation of language instruction.”

  6. Thanks David. I agree. The people who are here are different and don’t seem to have a lot of time for bullshit. They are hitting on all cylinders in the NEW. They don’t seem to care how difficult it is. That’s courage. What is the result? Job security in the future and a much happier experience professionally. Nobody said it would be easy – that’s not part of the deal.

  7. “If you don´t plan your structures how can you be sure your stories will work?

    I am trying to let my teaching be more natural with the whole TPRS process. It feels like the more planning I do the less natural/spontaneous the learning process becomes.”

    I feel like I have some classes that I can walk into with very little planning and just speak Spanish with them and it goes beautifully-either just PQA and a story or just singing for the whole class.

    But then there are my 7th graders…if I don’t totally plan the questions I’m going to ask them in PQA or how I’m going to structure the reading for the day, it goes to complete crap. I think so much of CI depends on the personalities of my classes. I made the mistake of trying to PQA the superbowl today and it was WAY TOO emotionally charged. I had forgotten that I cannot do PQA material with them that’s too loaded. It’s strange but the more personal it gets with them, the worse the outcome. I wonder if others have this experience. I know that part of it is that I didn’t start off the year strict enough with my rules…

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