When I was a trumpet performance major in college I spent hours listening to different players. So much, that my sound began to sound exactly like the people I was listening to. Not only was I listening to others, but I also recorded myself from time to time and found it to be beneficial. I would record something that I was really proud of and listen to it in the car on the way home and consequently found numerous errors as well as shining points. There is something powerful about observation of others and self that helps to transform what we do. Some of it may even be subconscious and we have no idea what affect it has on us.
Well, I have spent hours watching other tprs teachers. I started with the mainline teachers, Blaine Ray and Susie Gross. After my initial experience with it I decided that I needed to get out there and see more teachers in order to find my style as a teacher. So, I visited Ben Slavic in Denver and boy did he give me a lot to think about. My first year of teaching I expanded my viewings to the fluency fast DVDs with Von Ray and again Blaine. I started to really see how people have success with tprs with totally different personalities. Not everyone has to be loud and in your face all the time. It really is a personality thing. This summer I expanded to Bryce Hedstrom and Jason Fritze as well as Linda Li. The stability of Bryce and the energy of Jason really had a huge affect on the way I am teaching this year. I hope there is more! I will get down to see Joe Neilson this fall and I have no idea what that will bring, but I am ready for it. All in all, observation has really transformed my thoughts of tprs and has given me so many ideas that I almost don’t have time to do all of them. But I am forgetting about observing one more person. A person that I am not sure I want to look at for fear of what I might see…myself.
It’s true, I wonder what I will see. I know that I will eventually tape myself, but really I have been hesitant about it. Why? I know it will help. I often say things like, “I just don’t have time.” That is a pretty valid argument, but I am finding that I have more time than I used to and I think I am ready for it.
So I will begin the journey of video taping and I may post some of it on the web for advice or comments. Be gentle. I am hoping that this step of watching tape will take me to a new level. A place where students acquire Spanish like never before in my class. It may be a painful road, but I am willing to take the first step.