Bridging from TPR to stories

After taking a look at the Fluency Fast courses in the fall, I decided that this semester would start out with a TPR phase. Some say that it lacks personalization and I would agree that it can. However, there are strategies to make it personal and once you do, it is incredibly engaging for the students. They acquire a large quantity of language, but it lacks grammatical structures and holistic language development.

Well, I started out doing it in 3rd quarter with great results. In fact, the results were so great that I almost didn’t know what to do next. I considered just doing TPR for a while. But I decided against it because I knew that students would acquire more from the stories, if I could do it right. I mean, Blaine doesn’t really do TPR that much any more and the reason is that he knows that he can teach more language with stories rather than TPR. I am not at that level yet and I still have a lot of skills to learn.

I had success with TPR, but once I bridged into stories it has been fair. I think that I have lost some classes because I have not effectively personalized enough. I started doing this more and it has improved the stories drammatically. I keep thinking about why the TPR went so well. Why was it so engageing, but the stories are lacking? There are several answers to this. Some of them are: the stories were too long, not enough personalization, poor use of student actors, and telling the story rather than asking it.

I have a new chance with the 4th quarter group and I am interested to see where they go with it. So far, the bridge into stories has been great! I am hoping that I can keep it going. It seems to get stronger each time that I do it.

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4 Comments

Filed under Teaching Discoveries

4 responses to “Bridging from TPR to stories

  1. Carla

    How did you get TPR to be so successful? I was new with it this fall, and the students tired so easily of it… I dropped it fast.

    • thomasyoung

      Thanks for the comment, Carla. Basically, I just copied what I saw in the Spanish fluency fast DVDs. One way that I get student buy in is that I expect them to do the signs and I am looking at every student. So if I look at a student long enough, they will start to do it. But that is not the main reason they do it. They do it because it is fun and different from every other class that they have. When I started out, I used words that are foundational words, like anda, toca, mira, señala, etc. These are words that you can use to teach tons of other words. Also, I had students get up and do different actions. These were students who wanted to act. It is so important that they want to act, so that they display a good attitude. Everything I did, I read in the 5th edition green book in the section, Beginning with TPR. If you don’t have this edition, I recommend it highly. It is an incredible resource. The key to TPR is making it personalized. [Just like with telling stories] Also it is important that the teacher is monitoring what has been acquired, what has sort of been acquired, and what has not been acquired. It is kind of like juggling, you feed in more vocabulary in with the recycled vocabulary. Once it has been acquired, leave it, they get bored. It was through this process that I learned how to circle stories more effectively.
      I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

  2. Carla

    Thank you. Your explanation is helpful.

    I perused that chapter again on starting with TPR. How do you personalize TPR? I have never heard anyone talk about this.

    • thomasyoung

      The way that TPR is personalized is by having different students get up and perform commands around the room. For example, the student stands up, walks to the door, touches the door, turns around, jumps twice, walks to a pretty girl, says hi. The more you get the students up and performing the more they like it. But be careful to always choose students that want to act and want to be there.
      Another thing that you can do is call out chain commands to the class and the first person that knows it raises their hand and performs the commands for the class. For example you says, touch your nose, grab your arm, and jumps. Students raise their hand when they know it and you call on the first one. The student performs the actions for the class and you praise them. The buy in on this is huge because the students love looking good in front of their peers.
      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

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