TPRS or Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling is a simple method of teaching a foreign language. I often tell my students (and their parents) that there is nothing intellectual about acquiring a language. If a learner of any age receives sufficient input that is comprehensible, they WILL acquire language.
The ‘magic’ behind TPRS centers on topics that hold the learner’s interest. Stories are wonderfully suited to draw in listeners.
My last post (TPRS in action – Part 1) commenced a series of how I recently ‘asked’ a story in my 8th grade class. In this next Video clip, I use questioning to confirm the ‘facts’ of the story that the rest of the class has provided. I want to stress that I did not impose MY story on the class, but started with a prompt and then asked questions to generate creative interesting details.
Any language chunk or structure new to the class must be written on the board in both the target language and English. It’s not enough to hear something new but most of us are visual learners as well. Writing the English eliminates guessing and confusion, thereby reassuring the learner.
In the following 2 clips, I check for understanding with members of the class. The teacher cannot assume each class member ‘gets’ it. Pausing to connect with a student not only helps that particular student but those around him too. This interaction with the ‘audience’ not only slows down the pace of the new language allowing for the brain to catch up, but the repetition of the new structures reenforces the language. Research shows the brain needs on average 70 times to hear and understand something and be able to produce it actively.