Fluent in Karate

I have made a new TPRS friend, Dirk Frewing. It is really great to be able to collaborate ideas and to learn from others. I don’t think I could do this without it, to be honest. Dirk made a comment in an email the other day that really got me thinking. He said:

So much of this is almost Buddhist in nature – Teaching by not teaching. Things like letting them read in pairs with all necessary words on the LCD projector. It just goes in their brain which files words and phrases away to be called up later.

After thinking about this for a little while I responded with:

You have me thinking about this teaching by not teaching thing again. It reminded me of the Karate Kid, to me an 80s classic. I was thinking about how Mr. Miyagi had Daniel paint the fence, wax the car, paint the house, sand the deck, etc. He didn’t realize that he was training for the fight, he just thought that he was doing Mr. Miyagi’s house work.

There are two parts of this that make me tie this to TPRS. The first is that when we are asking stories or doing PQA or Circling w/ props the kids are using and acquiring the language, but they don’t know it. They just think that we are making up stories or finding out about the class. The second is that in the movie Daniel started to get upset because he thought he was suppose to be training and felt like he wasn’t learning anything. So, Mr. Miyagi had him demonstrate the different chores standing in place while he attacked him. It was during this time that Daniel had realized that he had been getting the repetitions on all of the movements thousands of times and he didn’t even have to think. His body just responded and he was now fluent in karate. The same thing happens in our class when we do free writes or they read on their own or they get all A’s on their dictations. They realize that they are actually learning the language and they realize that the “stories” that they have been doing in class are helping them to learn L2.

So much of learning a language through TPRS is definitely teaching by not teaching. Man, what a great insight that you had on that. Thanks for sharing it with me.

These are great things to remember and hope that there is more to come.

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Filed under PQA, Reading, Storytelling tips, Teaching Discoveries, teaching grammar

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