I want to apologise to friends and family for my recent preoccupation and online silence. I confess that it is entirely due to my latest obsession; TPRS/CI. Getting my head around this pedagogy has been so absorbing and has left little spare time for anything else. It’s all I can think about! Scary. I rarely drop into Facebook these days, Pinterest friends haven’t seen me for over a month, WWF games are nowhere near as frequent and at school recesses and lunch times are the perfect time to quickly watch a troubleshooting youtube video pinpointing the skill I am currently focusing on and needing extra clarification.
This is largely because in the school holidays I discovered two yahoo groups; one called moretprs
and another called elementarytprs.
The former is full on and if I don’t check my emails regularly, I can be overwhelmed by up to 50 emails weekly. While most who post on this yahoo group are American high school Spanish teachers, often the big names of TPRS also check in and add their perspectives which is really cool. The elementarytprs group is very quiet by comparison which is a shame as I think I would connect more with other language teachers applying TPRS with younger students who have limited TL vocabulary.
The topics currently being covered by the moretprs group are largely above my TPRS head, however they none the less help slowly but surely fill in the gaps of my TPRS knowledge. Up until very recently, acronyms such as ACTFL, FVR, TPRS/CI & PQA were foreign but are now meaningful, thanks to this group. Trending topics currently include the usefulness of language labs (most agree iPads/iPods are far more versatile), the value of teaching thematically (not recommended by TPRS guru’s) and the recommended rules to implement during storytelling. Another aspect of this group I really like is the balance of theory and practice and how each supports each other. Here is a great blog post which demonstrates this.
Once my emails are checked, I then open my WordPress blog reader. Here I read the latest posts written by language teachers from all over the world who are all at different milestones on their TPRS/CI journey. Each post has its own focus and inevitably includes links to other blogs and so my blog roll constantly increases! I love discovering new WordPress blogs because they are the easiest to follow but more and more bloggers are choosing other platforms which are not and some don’t even include the option to follow! So I have bookmarked them however have yet to work out how to check them regularly. There are definitely not enough hours in the day!
While it is great to read about other teachers and their successes, as a newbie with no local (let alone national that I know about) support network, I was becoming discouraged as I feel like I am going around and around in circles (no pun intended!!) and not sure how or where I can improve. So it made a huge impression on me when I read this blog post which finished with the following:
I immediately responded to which she replied with the encouragement for me to keep plugging away because while experts agree that it can take up to 3 years to develop proficiency with TPRS, bad TPRS is still significantly better than the alternative! Music to my ears and balm for my soul.
So, now my friends, hopefully you have a clearer understanding of why I have been ‘offline’ lately and can understand why my routine has changed! It’s not personal!