Friday, July 25, 2014

Committing to TPRS/CI

"Bad TPRS is better than any textbook." This was a  popular quote during this week's NTPRS conference. I think I am going to hang this quote near my desk as I jump into using TPRS next year. I am extremely nervous but I have a new motivation that I feel like I had lost last year.

I have posted before about how I want to increase my target language use and how I think TPRS would be such a useful tool in the classroom. I tried it a couple times, and in my opinion it did not go well, so I stopped using it. Big mistake! I went back to doing what I was doing before: list of vocabulary, games to memorize the list, and maybe teach a phrase or two. I was bored and frustrated in my classroom and I know my students were too. I had a lot of behavior issues, and I don't really blame my students. If they had been engaged, class would not have been such a fight. The last day of school could not come fast enough. I was in survival mode.


After NTPRS, I feel ready to start tackling my plans for next year. I am setting 3 goals for next year.

1. Be clear and consistent with my rules and procedures.

I feel like classroom management is an area where I struggle. I'm still trying to find a system that works for me. I think part of the problem is that I do not spend enough time on procedures. I was explaining something on the first day, and then I was shocked when the students did not remember or did not choose to do what was expected. I rushed through these procedures because I have such a short time with my students, I felt like spending too much time on management was a waste. It was the wrong choice because instead of spending a little extra time in the beginning, I was dealing with issues all year. This is also a goal because it was very clear in all of the example lessons this week that TPRS will only work in a well managed classroom.

2. Focus more time getting to know my students.

Community is important in any classroom, but it is crucial in a foreign language classroom for students to feel comfortable to take risks with the language. I am very embarrassed to say this is another area rushed through. I think this played a roll in my classroom management issues. I never built a mutual respect and my students probably didn't feel like I was interested in them. I think PQA will be very helpful in establishing these relationships. I am looking forward to thinking of my students by their likes and hobbies instead of their behavior in my classroom.

3. Create lessons focused on input and stories.

No more vocabulary lists! No more out of context language! This goal I pretty self explanatory. Now that I am more comfortable with best practices, I am going to teach with TPRS, even if it doesn't go well in the beginning. I am armed with ¡Cuéntame! and Hola Niños as guides and ready to jump in! Hopefully my students will be more engaged and begin to enjoy learning a new language as much as I do.

I will be reflecting about my experiences through the year and posting what is working and what is not. Hopefully I will come up with some ideas that others will be interested in. Any suggestions are welcome! Thank you again to everyone at NTPRS 14. You really inspired me.