I had a student come up to me and ask me what she missed on Thursday and Friday of last week. I was happy that she came in because so many students just don’t do anything. The more I talked to her, the more the feeling that I got that she wasn’t serious about the questions. Yes, she wanted to know what she missed, but there was this attitude that she had that she was just asking because it was a routine. In other words, Spanish to her was not a serious subject and it was okay if she missed two days because we didn’t do anything. Now, she is an A student and fairly bright, but it opened my eyes to something.
I want my students to feel that it is impossible to miss Spanish because they are learning so much. If they were to miss one day, they would be sunk. I don’t think that assigning more homework is the way to accomplish this, but I do feel that elements of TPRS would help.
For example, if a student misses a story they will not have the same experience as another student. They will not get the repetition and without it, Spanish class returns to dull and boring superfluous information. Another element is the personalization. TPRS helps to create a community of learning stories that makes the student want to belong. If they miss a story it is like they are missing out on what the community is doing.
Someone once said, “You have time for what is important to you.” I feel that the same is true of the students. If the class is important to them then they will be there. If not, then maybe that is an indication that they do not feel class is necessary.