Then, one day, we may hit one out of the park, and then overhear a kid walk out of class and say, “French is cool!” and we realize that all of the struggle is worth it, that we are doing things in our classrooms that we have never been able to do before, and then that carries over to our private lives, as I wanted to say above, and things just change overall for us.
That reminded me of something that happened on Friday. I’ve been doing my own, untutored, version of TPRS for just over a month, now, but only with my freshmen classes. On Friday, I tried it out with a 2nd-year class in which I have been doing something quite different. Each week, I’ve been giving them a number of different activities: 5 minutes’ free writing, 10 minutes reading, 10 minutes listening, a grammar worksheet, a vocab quiz, etc. They can choose their own reading and listening material from our self-access library. On Friday, I spent 20 minutes or so before class reading their 5-minute-writing pieces, and picking out the more egregious errors and listed them on a card. I walked into class with that card and began PQA about what time they got up, did they have breakfast, what they had, what they liked, what they didn’t like, etc., until I had covered all the errors listed on my card. I did not tell students what I was doing (correcting their errors), and I was writing things on the board constantly as I discovered that, though they knew the words, many students could not recognize the words when they came out of my mouth.
I had intended to do this for just 45 minutes, leaving the remaining 45 minutes for the regular “self-access” activities. One student walked in late and after greeting him, I asked him (as I’d been asking students every 10 minutes to practice telling the time), “What time is it?” As he hadn’t had the practice, he was slow off the bat, but a girl in the front row said, 9.55. The girl sitting next to her then said, “What? You mean we’ve been going for an hour, already?”
Chuffed I was.
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