CI & TPRS

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CI & TPRS

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 12 Oct 2010, 07:16

Mod's note: more CI related discussion here: Acquisition or learning, comprehensible input or correction?

ironlady: Incidentally (and perhaps you could split this off into another thread or merge it with an existing thread), checking out some of your posts on this site has led me to an investigation of TPRS (one of my friends is very into CI, but I'd never taken that much of an interest until recently). I tried teaching a couple of classes that way yesterday. The first, some year 9 students with a collective pulse that barely nudges 20 b.p.m., thought I was off my rocker, and some promptly took that as a signal to go back to sleep or perhaps actually die (I can never tell the difference with a couple of them) because I wasn't making them "work". The second, some rather excitable year 7 students, thought it was hilarious and got right into the whole thing. Win some, lose some.

What would be your approach with the year 9 class? I have issues with compulsory education in many senses, and I don't think you can force someone to learn something. Yet there's a massive hurdle to overcome in that I think these kids equate not having a pen in their hand, a test in front of them and a teacher breathing down their necks as break time. I might have thought that given enough time, they'd start paying attention or even participating, but a lot of these kids are so perpetually tired and burnt out from their general workload that I'm not sure that will happen.
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Re: What's the point of working at a university in Taiwan?

Postby ironlady » 12 Oct 2010, 21:00

GuyInTaiwan wrote:ironlady: Incidentally (and perhaps you could split this off into another thread or merge it with an existing thread), checking out some of your posts on this site has led me to an investigation of TPRS (one of my friends is very into CI, but I'd never taken that much of an interest until recently). I tried teaching a couple of classes that way yesterday. The first, some year 9 students with a collective pulse that barely nudges 20 b.p.m., thought I was off my rocker, and some promptly took that as a signal to go back to sleep or perhaps actually die (I can never tell the difference with a couple of them) because I wasn't making them "work". The second, some rather excitable year 7 students, thought it was hilarious and got right into the whole thing. Win some, lose some.

What would be your approach with the year 9 class? I have issues with compulsory education in many senses, and I don't think you can force someone to learn something. Yet there's a massive hurdle to overcome in that I think these kids equate not having a pen in their hand, a test in front of them and a teacher breathing down their necks as break time. I might have thought that given enough time, they'd start paying attention or even participating, but a lot of these kids are so perpetually tired and burnt out from their general workload that I'm not sure that will happen.


The thing with TPRS is that it puts off the "serious" students because acquisition doesn't feel like, well, anything. Unconscious processes tend to be like that. :D But for your immediate feedback, you need to know that every student is comprehending everything you say, so you need to be teaching to their eyes. Have them sit up, nothing at all on their desks (no, they don't need to take notes) and make eye contact with them. Ask a question, let it hang in the air, and call for a choral response. Watch the "20%ers" (the ones who aren't the absolutely hopeless student [I'm being ironic] but just above that level) and make sure they can understand. You must teach to their speed of comprehension. The trick with that is you have to learn to circle your items, elicit interesting content from the kids, pop up grammar when appropriate, manage your time, and do constant comprehension checks, all at once, in a non-predictable order.

I'd establish a set of specific rules for your expectations of their behavior while you're doing TPRS. Things like a requirement that everyone answer every (choral) question, nothing on the desks, make a special signal you decide on the second you don't understand something, etc. You will have to train them in signaling when they don't understand since teens are hesitant to do that in front of their peers, but if you reward that behavior they will learn it.

There's a great support list at Yahoogroups called "moreTPRS" -- you might want to join up. We also do coaching by Internet: http://www.cicoaches.com

(MOD please split the thread -- I don't have superpowers in this forum :D )
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need to learn TPRS quickly!

Postby tryingmybest » 25 Jan 2011, 11:46

I've just started in a new school and they use TPRS! I only just found out about TPRS two days ago but what I see at the school fits the description. There's lots of storybooks. One teacher had 3 sentences on the board. I was asked by my Chinese teacher to write a story on the board on the end of class so the students could write it down and read it at home.

So I'm feeling clever about figuring out they use a TPRS curriculum. But now I have to teach it! Help! Where are some good resources? Is there an online course I could do yet (Ironlady)? Is there anyone in Taichung who teaches in TPRS style who could let me watch a class, or even do a quick example of circling? What do you think would be the best way for me to get competent at teaching TPRS style?
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Re: need to learn TPRS quickly!

Postby jimipresley » 25 Jan 2011, 11:50

You can live here and have a great life and not be the least bit into living the local life. Clowns will try to diss you for it saying you gotta get down with the program, but fuck em, treat this place like a buffet and yous be on a diet. Take what you want and nothing extra, slam those oysters, but leave the bread sticks and dinner rolls behind. - Deuce Dropper

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Re: need to learn TPRS quickly!

Postby tatterdemalion » 25 Jan 2011, 13:38

There's a good overview of TPRS at Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TPR_Storytelling
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Re: need to learn TPRS quickly!

Postby tryingmybest » 25 Jan 2011, 15:56

I had a good look at the wikipedia entry. Unfortunately my computer keeps glitching on the other site. Thanks for giving me some good places to start!
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Re: need to learn TPRS quickly!

Postby bismarck » 25 Jan 2011, 16:00

You're lucky to have found a school that uses TPRS and not just TPR. Great thread, btw. I've also been looking for more resources on the subject.

Ironlady provided us with a link for a Yahoo group for TPRS: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/moretprs/
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Re: need to learn TPRS quickly!

Postby jimipresley » 25 Jan 2011, 16:11

You can live here and have a great life and not be the least bit into living the local life. Clowns will try to diss you for it saying you gotta get down with the program, but fuck em, treat this place like a buffet and yous be on a diet. Take what you want and nothing extra, slam those oysters, but leave the bread sticks and dinner rolls behind. - Deuce Dropper

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Re: TPRS

Postby tryingmybest » 25 Jan 2011, 22:22

I found the whole thread about Aquisition, Input, Learning & Correction very informative. It's great to hear from "old timers" who really know how to do it.
I've read many times that I really need to do a real time conference/seminar to "get" the pacing and simplicity of TPRS. I know I would really benefit from knowing what a story is. I can make my own, but I'm sure I don't repeat enough.

For example:

On Friday I taught a 1 hr class of 16 students, age 5/6 about The Earth. They're a mixed class, brought together for "winter camp". We had a handout, and they could read most of it!
I learned about TPRS the next day, so on Monday I tried to review the Earth handout TPRS style. We read the story a paragraph at a time. I wrote some key words on the board (the ones I found on the Cambridge Young Learners [i]Movers[i] vocab list I was handed at the beginning of class. I spent half the class describing the vocab words in various ways and getting the students to talk about them. "A rock is soft. A rock is hard. The Earth is made of rock" they'd tell me. they gave me a few words of their own. I chose the easiest, like soft & hard. I also tried singing songs about the weather, since cloudy, hot, cold and sunny were in the reading too. We played Bingo so they students could practice writing the words. I made sure each student understood the instructions and spelled the words right, but I could see some had no idea what the words were. I thought I'd teach to the majority of learners rather than the slowest. (Reading more about TPRS I think that was a mistake)

The teacher asked me to write an approx 50 word story at the end of class. Our words were: head, hard, soft, cloudy, sunny, rock, hot, cold, white, windy, bed. I wrote:
"My Day
"In the morning it was sunny. I was hot. In the afternoon it was cloudy and rainy. I was cold. I put on my soft, white jacket. The rain fell hard on my head. I put a rock on my head but it was too heavy. So I went to bed."

The teacher said it was too easy for the majority of the class. But I know there were some lower level learners in the class too.

Maybe the story needs more repetition in it? Is anyone willing to rewrite it to give me a good example? Or is it too hard without knowing the context of the class? Or should I try to get the class to write it with me? They were throwing all kinds of new words into it. I think I was right to not include those in my talking since I'm trying to be totally comprehensible right?
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Re: TPRS

Postby ironlady » 26 Jan 2011, 04:56

trying,

What you're doing is not TPRS. You are doing well in a lot of ways, especially cutting down and trying to repeat a lot, but you aren't doing TPRS. I doubt the school is, either (although I'd be happy to learn I was wrong on this one.)

TPRS isn't just using stories. It's a specific technique of presenting language that is 100% comprehensible, then using principled repetition in patterns yet unpredictably to provide a high amount of repetition.

Check out the yahoogroups group. That will be the best place to get answers to questions like yours ("how do I teach reading?" "how do I teach writing?" and so on) ready-made.

tryingmybest wrote:I found the whole thread about Aquisition, Input, Learning & Correction very informative. It's great to hear from "old timers" who really know how to do it.
I've read many times that I really need to do a real time conference/seminar to "get" the pacing and simplicity of TPRS. I know I would really benefit from knowing what a story is. I can make my own, but I'm sure I don't repeat enough.

For example:

On Friday I taught a 1 hr class of 16 students, age 5/6 about The Earth. They're a mixed class, brought together for "winter camp". We had a handout, and they could read most of it!
I learned about TPRS the next day, so on Monday I tried to review the Earth handout TPRS style. We read the story a paragraph at a time. I wrote some key words on the board (the ones I found on the Cambridge Young Learners [i]Movers[i] vocab list I was handed at the beginning of class. I spent half the class describing the vocab words in various ways and getting the students to talk about them. "A rock is soft. A rock is hard. The Earth is made of rock" they'd tell me. they gave me a few words of their own. I chose the easiest, like soft & hard. I also tried singing songs about the weather, since cloudy, hot, cold and sunny were in the reading too. We played Bingo so they students could practice writing the words. I made sure each student understood the instructions and spelled the words right, but I could see some had no idea what the words were. I thought I'd teach to the majority of learners rather than the slowest. (Reading more about TPRS I think that was a mistake)

The teacher asked me to write an approx 50 word story at the end of class. Our words were: head, hard, soft, cloudy, sunny, rock, hot, cold, white, windy, bed. I wrote:
"My Day
"In the morning it was sunny. I was hot. In the afternoon it was cloudy and rainy. I was cold. I put on my soft, white jacket. The rain fell hard on my head. I put a rock on my head but it was too heavy. So I went to bed."

The teacher said it was too easy for the majority of the class. But I know there were some lower level learners in the class too.

Maybe the story needs more repetition in it? Is anyone willing to rewrite it to give me a good example? Or is it too hard without knowing the context of the class? Or should I try to get the class to write it with me? They were throwing all kinds of new words into it. I think I was right to not include those in my talking since I'm trying to be totally comprehensible right?
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