Inaugural Australian TCI/TPRS Conference: QLD & SA

Have you heard our exciting news yet?? For the first time ever, a TCI/TPRS conference will be held in Australia! How exciting is that!  Terry Waltz has accepted our invitation to work with us in both Brisbane & here on the Fleurieu Peninsular. This is a dream come true for all Australian TPRS language teachers who for many reasons have yet to fly to America or Europe to attend one of the conferences held there. We are so thrilled that the internationally recognised Terry Waltz will be leading us at the Australian inagural TPRS conference.


The two conferences will be very similar however a couple of major differences need to be noted. Firstly, the conference on the Fleurieu Peninsular does not include lunch. We plan to include a 2 hour lunch break to give participants the time to walk to the nearby main street with sufficient time to  network and discuss specific details before heading back to begin the afternoon session. Annie attended the Agen conference in July and found this time so useful. Another major difference is that we are limiting the total number of participants to 50. This is for several reasons but  mainly because we wish to recreate the community atmosphere Annie experienced in Agen.

The Fleurieu based conference will be held at Port Eliot Primary School from January 19 – 21. While the program is still being finalised, registrations are open and there is an early bird option available until 9th December 2016 for the South Australian conference. Follow this link to access the registration form:

It will be a 3 day conference with the first 2 days relevant for all language teachers regardless of sector or language taught. On the 3rd day participants will be divided into 2 groups:

Group 1 = (Non Roman alphabetic Languages eg Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Russian) will work with Terry Waltz who will cover specific TPRS topics relevant for scripted languages such as cold character Reading, TOP tonal spelling, directional gestures.

Group 2: (Roman Alphabet Languages. eg Indonesian, Spanish, French) will be invited to attend  & participate in skills labs that focus on specific TPRS skill development. Time will also be available for participants to work together to create the resources necessary for implementing TPRS in their classes from day 1 of the school year.

If you are keen to attend, download the registration form asap. The early bird registration for the Brisbane venue finishes 19 November and for the Port Elliot venue, it finishes 9th December. Once you have completed the registration form and emailed it off with payment, we strongly encourage you to investigate accommodation options. The more popular ones book out early, so be quick.

If you have any questions, either write them below or contact us via the TCI TPRS Teachers Australia group on Facebook.

We really hope to see you at either one of the conference venues. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! 

ASILE 2016 – Games & Activities for Language Classes

One of the workshops we attended on Sunday was led by Pak Irianto Ryan Tedya. It was a very enjoyable workshop with songs and games, 2 of which would be ideal as a brainbreak or for TPR.

The first game he shared was ‘dam dam sut’ which is his own variation of ‘suten’ (gajah, orang, semut). This game reinforces the target structures:

  1. Kita seri (we draw)
  2. Saya menang (I won)
  3. Saya kalah (I lost)

Each with their own hand gesture:

  1. Hands crossing left to right horizontally palms facing downwards
  2. Hands up in the air, fingers splayed
  3. Hands down wards, palms facing opponent.

The game is played in partners and together players say dam, dam together while clapping and then together say sut and on sut, players choose to either do:

gajah (elephant),

orang (person) or

semut (ant).

When first introducing the game, Pak Irianato recommends just focusing on;

  1. Gajah beats orang (elephant steps on person)
  2. Orang beats semut (person steps on ant)
  3. Semut beats elephant (ant gets into elephants ear and irritates the elephant – ant is small yet powerful)

Pak Irianto asked us to play 3 times with a partner and then swap partners choosing someone new. When he judged that we had mastered that, he asked the whole class to synconize our games; meaning that the entire class clapped & said dam, dam, sut at exactly the same time, starting very slowly and encouraging everyone to keep the rhythm.

Once this is mastered, I would introduce the above target structures yet Pak Irianto encouraged us all to use it right from the beginning. One participant suggested the following rhyme sung to Frere Jacques to consolidate vocabulary:

Saya menang

Saya menang

Saya kalah

Saya kalah

Kita seri

Kita seri

Marilah bermain!

Marilah bermain!

All up, it was a fun game and I loved the way that the game increases in complexity which makes it appealing to all ages of students.

The final activity he did with us was awesome and perfect for TPR. This song could be adapted to any verb. I love the idea of asking students for action suggestions!! I was thinking of how much fun ‘menangis’ (cry) or ‘jatuh’ (fall) would be. Pak Irianto first taught us the song and actions then suggested adding the jumping left, right & centre afterwards to add a further challenge.

I didn’t take any notes, just this video!!

Two Introductory TCI/TPRS Workshops -MLTASA & CLTSA

Over the weekend, Bu Annie, Ibu Sharon & I attended 2 conferences; 1. MLTASA (Modern Languages Teachers Association SA) in the morning and 2. CLTASA (Chinese Language Teachers Assoc) in the afternoon. When we first heard that both associations were holding their annual conference on the same day, we were incredibly disappointed as we were committed to present at MLTASA while Ian & Caitlin (2 TCI Chinese teachers from QLD) were presenting at CLTSA. Luckily our presentations did not clash and we were able to get from EDC to Napier House in good time. However the locked door into Napier House cut short our celebratory hand pumps and thankfully Ian had his phone on! 

The MLTASA conference began with a plenary by Sean Keenihan, who spoke about ‘the role and value of Languages education in schools – a business perspective’. Sean wears many hats and most relate to his Chinese proficiency, dating back to his high school days. When asked how to encourage students to learn a language he reflected with this: after graduation as one of hundreds of lawyers, he was the first from his year to be employed and this was entirely due to his bilingualism. His graphs illustrated recent growth figures in the SA tourism sector and he also talked about the growing state of global business. These two sectors are a just 2 of many that have a huge and growing demand for bilingual employees and thus being bilingual is giving many job seekers  an X factor, making them highly desirable in a competitive job market. Apparently only 30 of the 700 2015 SA lawyer  graduates were employed! I wonder what their X factor was? 

Our workshop, ‘Teaching Languages with TCI/TPRS’ was to be held in the larger room at EDC due to the large number of participants who had signed up for it. What an awesome way to begin!! We began by asking participants to bring their chairs to the front of the room and to sit in a semi circle facing the screen. As this was our first ever presentation and indeed our first ever attendance at MLTASA, we had no idea what to expect. One thing we were looking forward to was an audience of largely non Indonesian speaking teachers, who would experience our demo lesson from a student perspective and therefore hopefully feel the power of TCI even more dramatically than our Indonesian speaking colleagues. Our presentation began with introducing ourselves, outlining our TCI journey, and giving a brief explanaton of the acronyms TCI, TPRS & TPR. Due to the short amount  of time we had available and that we were a little late starting (domino effect of the 2nd plenary speaker running over time), our introduction was minimal. We felt that a demo would be more powerful than heaps of information. 

Our demo focused on the Pleased To Meet You (written by Jim Tripp) story. We began with establishing meaning of the target structures (siapa nama, nama saya, astaga, berkata – what’s your name, my name is, OMG, said), before giving a circling demo on siapa nama & nama saya. Sharon then established the ‘Stop – I don’t understand!’ gesture before telling the story. Afterwards she did a comprehension check and everyone gave her a thumbs up!! We had a little time for questions and we were very relieved that attending MLTASA was a high school French TPRS teacher!! It was awesome to connect with Zelda who has been working alone for 2 years – we take our hat off to you! Zelda was able to respond to questions that came from secondary language teachers – a cohort we have had the greatest difficulty connecting with as we have no secondary experience. Our promise to them that TPRS was designed initially for secondary students by a secondary language teacher rarely helps. Zelda’s contribution and support was invaluable.  

It wasn’t till much later, that Sharon realised that in our nervousness, the reduced workshop time and our determination to leave punctually, we forgot to mention anything about the unit of work we had created around this story to help participants trial a unit in their classrooms!! Oops. So if you were one of those participants and you would like a copy, contact me via my learn link address on the handout and I’ll happily forward it to you. 

We arrived at Napier House just before the post lunch conference sessions were about to begin, to our relief. Ian & Caitlin opened the locked doors which gave us time to quickly introduce ourselves to each other and chat briefly while heading upstairs to the auditorium. The entire afternoon schedule had been assigned to Ian & Caitlin! Imagine your only time constraint being getting to the airport in time for your flight home! We were slightly in awe and also a teeny (OK- a lot) envious!! Maybe next year, we need to ask for a double workshop session? 

Ian & Caitlin spent the first hour talking to a powerpoint which introduced TCI/TPRS to their audience of Chinese teachers. The powerpoint thoroughly explained TPRS, outlined how it differs from traditional/currrent language teaching methods, included several short videos of Ian teaching highly engaged year 7’s, year 10 free writes (290 words) , cold character reading , students talking positively about learning Chinese via TCI methodology, students reading unfamiliar texts fluently and a short yet highly engaging demo by Caitlin establishing meaning for ‘wants to eat’. As a student, I could immediately see the value of having the target structures clearly written on one side of the smartboard page and on the other side were other necessary vocabulary just as Diane Neubauer does.I hadn’t actually understood the beauty of this until that point! I also think I need to investigate buying a clicker gadget next year – it would be so convienent to turn the powerpoint pages from wherever I am in my class room!  

Ian & Caitlin stopped talking after an hour to give everyone a break and they were immediately swamped with people asking questions! The amount of interest was brilliant.  During their presentation, I could hear teachers around me commenting to each other quietly but unfortunately it was all in Chinese. 

During this break, it suddenly became clear, that the next session would have to be shortened significantly to prevent Ian & Caitlin missing their flight home to QLD. Particiapants were quickly called back into the auditiorium to answer any last minute questions. In no time at all, they were being presented with bottles of SA wine and the mad dash to the airport began. 

Thankfully we had offered to take them to the airport as this provided us all with a precious window for solid 2017 planning. We all acknowledge the need to arrange high quality training in Australia asap and are keen to collaborate on this by inviting a guest out to Australia next January to provide us all with much needed expert training before the 2017 school year begins! It would be awesome if the person  who comes out, is happy to travel as then we could offer training in a few states which will be much more affordable to participants! If this all happens, would you be interested in attending and how much would you be prepared to pay to participate? Considering our only option at the moment is a flight to either America or Europe ($$), it would be considerably cheaper and so much easier if this eventuates! Please comment below with any thoughts. We need your feedback! The more interest, the better! 

Observations of a TPRS Colleague

Teachers at my site are encouraged to observe colleagues. Working in a department of 1, there is no one at my school who I can observe meaningfully. Classroom teachers are given a morning for observation and an afternoon for discussion.

So with delight, I accompanied Ibu Anne to Victor Primary R-7,  via Kleinigs Hill,

to spend a day in Ibu Sharon’s classroom last Thursday for my yearly observation day. So brilliant watching a fellow TPRS practioner alongside another TPRS fellow practitioner! We sat side by side at the back of the room taking notes and then chatting about ideas as they came to us and then later during lesson breaks discussed our ideas with Sharon! I was in seventh heaven!!

Sharon began her day with a year 5/6 class. She called the roll by asking the students random Indonesian questions: Siapa nama, apa kabar, Selamat siang, etc to which they students had to reply/respond appropriately. Certainly kept them on their toes and it was inspiring to listen to the majority respond so smoothly.

Sharon is focusing on the Talks too Much story by Anna Matava this term with all her classes except Receptions. Sharon identified the unfamiliar vocabulary needed for the story and has spent the past 3 weeks of term focusing on them with JP’s and just this week with MP’s. After the students and Sharon had gone through them together she invited a student to come out the front and stand with their back to the projected words facing the class. Students and Sharon then one by one said a word from the list together with it’s gesture for the brave student to translate. Sharon did this activity with all classes and we were blown away with how solidly they have acquired them. It is such a great way to revise the structures and their gestures while checking on individual students and their progress. The students loved it.

With this class, Sharon trialled the Spelling Battleships pre story activity. The stuents had to choose 5 words from the list and hide them in their grid and then to find the words they had to say the coordinates in Indonesian. We all then circulated to observe and assist. We all discovered that most students were so engaged in the game, they weren’t using Indonesian and their was almost no repetition  of the target vocabulary.

So we brainstormed at recesss to create an improved version! Instead of letters across one axis, write in the top high frequency words. This could be the words that will appear in the story or words that classes have already acquired from previous stories. Then across the number axis, instead of the stock, standard numbers 1-12, include numbers that are appropriate for your classes. They could be in multiples of 10, just the teens, all the fifties etc. We then added the final rule, that each time students discover a letter,  they have to say a word from the list and the gesture to guess what it could be. What a fun way to get in repetitions!!

After recess, Sharon taught 2 junior primary classes. The first class was a year 1. Sharon had already introduced the first paragraph of the Talks Too Much story with the JP’s and for this lesson they revised the vocabulary (in exactly the same way that she did with the 5/6 class), reviewed the first paragraph and then introduced the 2nd paragraph. The first thing I noted during this lesson was the “Spotter”. Sharon chooses a student (alternately boy/girl) to stand out the front. Their job is to watch their classmates for the best gesturer. After 5-10 minutes, Sharon asks who they chose and that person gets a pandai (clever) sticker. I love this idea because it dovetails beautifully with my behaviour management strategy for my JP’s!

With all each class, Sharon demonstrated a different activity so that we could observe a variety of ideas in practise! How thoughtful!! I wish now to apologise to those who have observed my lessons and saw the same lessons over and over!! Anne and I really appreciated the variety of ideas we came home with! I will definitely incorporate this into my day when I am next observed!

The first activity Sharon demonstrated was Reverse Bingo. Each student was given a small rectangle of paper and they had to choose a blue word from the story which was up on the smartboard. (Red words were proper nouns – another cool idea!). When they had written their word down, they returned their pensil to the pot and then stood in front of Sharon. Sharon then read out random sentences from the story and students had to sit if their word was said. She then crossed out the sentences on the smartboard as she said them. The last standing student was the winner.

Students then swapped cards and the game was replayed with a different card! What a fun and active way to play bingo.

Sharon showed us her game “buzzer” with her next class. She put 2 buzzers on the bench out the front of the classroom under the smartboard, divided the class in half and then invited one student from each team to stand in front of their team buzzer. She then asked questions about the story, the vocabulary and the first team to push the buzzer and answer correctly got a point for the team. A student kept score on the mobile white board.  The level of competition between teams was intense!

The final class working on the Talks Too Much story was a year 4 and with this class, Sharon did a TPRS version of a findaword. Instead of students working independently on it, they had to listen to Sharon’s instructions which went like this: Cari bercakap cakap dan mewarnai merah. She then invited students to come out the front and with the magic wand, they put a line through the word on the findaword projected up on the smartboard.

The final class was a R/1 class and they have been working on the Sp0ngebob story.

Spongebob mau makan crabby patty.

Patrick punya crabby patty.

Patrick kasih Spongebob crabby patty.

Spongebob makan crabby patty.

The class read through the story with all students encouraged to do the gestures because the spotter was at work again! The activity for this class was dividing students into small groups who had to work together to arrange the mixed up words of the story into order. To finish the day, Sharon offered to demo “Dimana Bobo?” with this class.  She lay out on the floor different coloured leaves. Students then had to turn around while she hid a laminated monkey (Bobo) under one leaf. Students then vounteered to guess which leaf he was hiding under.

Again, the students loved this game. I loved that it gave repetitions of the question ‘dimana’ (where) as well as colours.

After school we stood around chatting & sharing more games with each other. Anne  had a few number games which we intend to use soon. One was writing a list of numbers on the board:






On the back of the board, ask the student to write the number if necessary and then ask the class to guess the number. If wrong, the student puts a cross next to the numbers which helps to record guesses.

Another number game that would fit in beautifully with the jacket story because it uses the structures terlalu besar, terlalu kecil dan pas!  Draw on the board a line. Each time a terlalu besar number is suggested, the student writes it above the line, each time a student guesses a number that is terlalu kecil, the number is written below the line and the right number is written on the line! A great way to record the numbers guessed!!

Thankyou so much Sharon for agreeing to host both myself and Ibu Anne last Thursday. It was truly brilliant having 3 TPRS colleagues brainstorming and discussing together best practice which will inevitably benefit not only us as teachers but ultimately our students too. I’ve learned some great ideas and I can’t wait to try them with my students!

I also must thank Ibu Anne for taking a week of her precious LSL to spend a week in SA with us all because from that decision, this awesome day eventuated! Ibu Anne’s visit though is another story!! Read about it on her blog.

Student Free Day notes…..

The day began with an AIM demonstration by Sarah Slee. 

AIM (Accelerated Integrated Method) is a language program which originated in Canada by Wendy Maxwell. On the surface, AIM & TPRS seem quite alike but when you dig a little deeper, as we were generously given the opportunity to do, the differences though subtle, are many. 

Here is the definition for AIM which can be found on the AIM website


Sarah teaches French at a nearby primary school using this methodology and like us, began at the start of 2015. She has the total backing of her school leadership which has been wonderful because the kits do not come cheaply. We drooled over the kits she brought along. Each kit costs around $500 and includes a CD Rom, blackline masters, a teachers handbook and a big book of the story upon which the kit is based upon. Each part of the kit is chocker block full of ideas and suggestions and also comes with a teacher script for each and every lesson as well as a variety of assessment checklists!! The CD Rom includes high quality media resources including songs, story reading/ productions etc which recycle and extend the vocabulary being targeted for each story. The early years kits are based on familiar stories like Henny Penny & The 3 Little Pigs while the kits for older students  are based on unfamiliar stories. AIM kits are available in several languages however Indonesian is not one of them. After watching the introductory video (also available on the website) we participated in a lesson. Sarah sat in front of us (we were in a horsehoe in front of her) with her book open on her lap to the very first lesson as none of us speak a word of French. She then led us through the very beginning of this lesson where she said a word/phrase while simultaneously gesturing and we repeated the phrase/word and copied the gesture. It was very challenging and really gave us a taste of what our lessons are like for our own students! It was a wonderful experience and went much longer than we both anticipated when planning the day! As you can imagine we were all totally blown away by the number of resources available to Sarah in each kit because we have absolutely nothing and have to create everything ourselves using the resources created for other languages as the base line! We also liked the idea of the gesture data bank AIM has as we believe that if we developed something similar, it would help students who move from school to school in our region. There are surprisingly quite a few!! 

The next session was my presentation about circling. I revised what circling is and the prescribed format as per the links I gave in a previous post. We then watched the Blaine Ray/Carla Tarini YouTube video before having a go in pairs with one of the sentences from our ‘Spongebob mau minum’ (Spongebob is thirsty) story. The oppportunity to create a bank of sentences based on the circling format (statement, ask a yes question, ask a no question, ask an either or question and then a question that elicits more detail) with a partner provided a welcome opportunity for discussion which then led to a whole group general discussion about the specifics of story asking. We have, to date, began our stories with a focus on the target structures for several lessons before introducing the story itself. Some students find this excruciating because they enjoy the story telling so much that they become impatient with the percieved unnecessarily long lead in time! So with our next story, we want to see if we can par this down and begin the story asking earlier! Stay tuned for our reflections…….

After lunch, we were joined by Michelle Kohler (Flinders University) to discuss the Australian Curriculum in relation to  designing TPRS assessment tasks. Michelle drove the 1 hour trip to PEPS straight from teaching preservice teachers at Flinders Uni and then headed straight off afterwards for another meeting, so we are incredibly grateful for her finding the time and energy to fit us into her very busy day! Michelle was closely involved with the creation of our Indonesian Languages Curriulum and it was insightful to discuss with her how language teachers are being required to assess and report against it. She was disappointed to hear that most principals are requiring Indonesian teachers to report against the Achievment Statements. She reminded us that ACARA is not an outcomes based document as SACSA was. The Achievement Standards are a reference point for typical student learning. They were not designed to drive assessment. Here is an extract from the DECD Guideline: Reporting on Australian Curriculum in DECD Schools Reception-Year 10 (v2) 

Achievement Standards should be treated holistically, rather than as discrete elements to be achieved.

Michelle then led us through the strands clarifying each:

1.1 Socialising

1.2 Informing

1.3 Creating

1.4 Translating/mediating

1.5 Reflecting

2.1 Systems of language

2.2 Language variation and change 

2.3 Reflecting on the role of language and culture.


This gave us an opportunity to look at each from a TPRS/TCI viewpoint. 

This is my extremely brief perception of how we cover each:

1.1 – kursi luar biasa, general story telling/asking, 

1.2 – Movie talk, vPQA,

1.3 – Story asking/telling, free writes, 

1.4 – popcorn reading, paper airplane reading, choral translations, comprehension checks, 

1.5 – grammar pop-ups

2.1 – language discussions (in English) about vocabulary, grammar &/or spelling etc noticed by students in stories/ books. 

2.2 – use and discussion of cognates and the increasing prevalence of English found in modern Indonesian eg kriket, komputer etc

2.3 -informal and formal discussions we have with our students before, during and after school visits by Indonesian nationals to heighten awareness of cultural and religious differences between Australians & Indonesians as well as between Christians & Muslims. 

Please feel free to add to these by commenting below.

As you can probably tell, it was a fantastic day. Having the opportunity to collaborate together about issues relevant to our specialist learning area and invite guest speakers who can help us increase our experitise was so invaluable. My next task  is to survey all who participated for feedback to help plan our next district SFD!

TPRS Indonesian – Find it on Facebook!

Yesterday I finally worked out (with Googles help) how to create a Facebook page! I have been thinking about the value of a Facebook page dedicated to TPRS Indonesian teachers for several months now and finally convinced myself that it was worth a shot! What tipped the balance for me has been the recent posts on various TPRS facebook pages that have been awesome. I realised that we (TPRS Indonesian teachers) need a forum through which we can share useful Facebook posts, our own personal blog posts as well as short personal annecdotes with each other as well as ask each other for help, clarification or feedback specific to teaching Indonesian via TCI. 

So, check it out, like the page and then feel free to contribute in anyway that supports your own understanding of TPRS in the Indonesian classroom! I look forward to seeing you there!