The Sigmoid Curve of tprs

At times I have often wondered, “How far am I in the process of learning tprs?” and “How much further do I have to go?” Well, after asking several teachers I have come to find that there are no real concrete answers to these questions and everyone has their own take on it. One teacher states:

The learning process for TPRS is similar to that for other skills:  a sigmoid curve.   That is, you start off learning slowly and deliberately and keep practicing, then your skills take off after a short period of time, eventually you level off and slowly improve over time.  To get good, some teachers take 5 years, but I think you can do it faster if you are fluent and if you observe others and mimic their technique.

The first thing I wondered was, “What is a sigmoid curve?” and then “Should I feel guilty for not knowing that?” Well, either way I did what any other other self respecting American would do and looked it up on wikipedia.

veld_pic_7This is a picture of a sigmoid curve. It basically looks like an S. It fits exactly the explanation that the teacher gave on tprs development. I don’t know where I am in the curve and it really is not something I should worry about. I will know when I level out. What I do know is that I am in the growth period because I feel like I am changing so much and I am continually finding new ways to improve how I reach kids. Maybe it will always be this way, but for now it feels like a roller coaster and it can get pretty exciting. I am glad that I have chosen this for my career because every day has something new for me.

Another teacher also commented on tprs development and he said:

Don’t worry about where you are in tprs. Remeber that it is a process  that you refine as go along. It is something that you learn to do by doing, practicing, being coached, and experiencing as a student. Basically, don’t worry about where you are. You are where you are and as long as you continue to refine you will be just fine.

I found these words to be very encouraging, too. I come from a musical background and constantly expect perfection of myself. I just need to take it one step at a time. It is just like taking a walk through a garden and removing the pedals from a rose. If you try to remove a pedal from a rose before it is ready, the pedal will tear. You cannot speed up the process, you just have to let the weather elements allow it bloom. So it is with tprs. We can subject ourselves to elements of experiences, but ultimately it is something that happens over time. I am excited to see what happens and to experience the blooming process.



Filed under Encouragement for hard days, Teaching Discoveries

2 responses to “The Sigmoid Curve of tprs

  1. skip crosby


    Ben is always talking about having the courage to be transparent. It is much easier talked about. I have been using TPRS for 4 years. I feel like I have revolutionized my classes and my relationship with students with TPRS. I have seen Susie, Jason, Blaine, and Ben do their magic.

    This weekend Ben visited Maine. At the very end of the two day conference I got up to do a session of peer coaching. I started circling. I totally messed up. It was very humbling.

    When Ben returned to Denver he wrote me. He said:
    I assumed that you knew and had command over circling, . So pls. forgive me. I told therese we should skype until the cirlcing works for you. The effect that this will have on your teaching, once you learn this simple thing, is incalculable.

    Imagine how that feels? One of the masters saying that about you? OUCH!

    I guess the important thing is that, with an hour and a half of peer coaching after Ben left from some very helpful and generous teachers, I really learned A LOT. The question is, how could i have missed it? If someone had asked me before Ben came where I was on your graph, I would have said high. How could that have happened? I was/am really humbled.

    We REALLY need peer coaching. We need others to watch us and give us feedback. We probably also need to video ourselves and watch ourselves, though I am not sure I have the courage to do that.

    I think it is really cool that I stumbled upon your blog on the very day that you were talking about something that I was struggling with.

    Thanks so much for all of your wisdom and really good thinking. I have been reading for a long time now.

    • thomasyoung


      That was so great to read! I completely agree about peer coaching. I wish there was more of it. Hopefully, there will be more as the year goes on. Thanks for the comment and feel free to write when ever you can.


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