(Originally posted 3/18/12)
Here are some interactions that you will see being used in TPRS. I’ll list them in “script” format..the way that we might say them to students.
For students who are NEW TO THE TL and/or NEW TO TPRS, the first explanations will probably be in L1. ONLY IF WE ARE POSITIVE THAT OUR
EXPLANATIONS WILL BE TOTALLY COMPREHENSIBLE IN L2 should we be explaining the expectations in L2. This will keep you sane, your students cooperative, and leave you time for acquisition activities in the classroom.
* “When I say CLASS, I expect that all of you will respond by (doing X or answering the question)”
* “I’m going to have my fist in the air, when my had opens, it’s time to respond.”
* “When I say one student’s name, that student will respond and everyone else will watch and listen.”
* “I am going to ask the same question, or a similar question several times…listen for it.”
* “I pause after statements so that you can hear the new information and picture it in your head.”
* “I may go too fast sometimes, or use a phrase you don’t know, stop me with the signal.”
* “This is fascinating information. When I give you the signal, you will respond by saying _______”etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
Each of these is a new skill for your students to acquire. They should be taught ONE AT A TIME. Then practiced. Then incorporated into lessons. Then retaught and re-practiced as needed and with love.
These are the BASIC statements. As teachers get more skilled, many add other components/ideas, all of which require the same teaching/explanation – practice – incorporation cycle.
More skilled components may include getting students to be actors, having students add sound effects, dialoguing with actors, retelling a story with errors that students identify, etc. etc. etc. Any time that a new skilled component is added, we must give our students the courtesy of teaching them what is expected, practicing the new behavior and repeatedly incorporating it into our lesson.
Some teachers will slide easily into being a TPRS lesson planner/instructor. Others will need to take it slowly, one step at a time. Being a fast or slow processor of this new approach is NOT an indication of how successful you and your students will be. Every single one of us who embraces this approach is working every day to be better at it. There is never a moment when we say “Whoooo hoooo!!!! I am THERE!!!! I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and I’m good.” Nope…every single one of us is continually on the journey…learning from each other and even more from our students. Don’t worry about “getting there”. Just settle in where you are…and be aware that there is always another beautiful place to get to tomorrow.
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