Excerpt from Blaine Ray’s keynote address at NTPRS 2016
What is TPRS? It has always been a moving target. In TPRS, we do not claim to have all the answers…we only claim to be searching.
As TPRS continues to evolve over the years we must consider one major factor in its evolution. How does it feel to a student when they learn a language? Are they getting it? Are they confident? What is their level on confidence? Are they getting buried by too much too fast?
Unfortunately, over the years, we haven’t considered this “student feeling” as much as we should have. I believe that this is changing. It is certainly changing in my mind. I learn so much more about teaching with TPRS when I am a student learning another language.
There is “teacher think” and “student think.” Often they are miles apart. In conferences and workshops we see both demonstrated all the time.
Teacher think is all about covering, lessons, activities, or checking boxes… We think, I need to change every 10 minutes or the students might get bored, I need to post essential questions, or learning targets. We think, I am being too repetitive, I can’t believe they haven’t gotten this yet, what is wrong with the students of this generation? Teachers are hyper focused on curriculum objectives. The curriculum objectives rules. It is above all else.
“Student think,” simply put, considers the thoughts, feelings, and cognitive needs of the children we are serving. Students think…I can’t hear the new words enough. I missed that. I don’t understand what the teacher just said. That was too fast. I feel bad when I don’t get it… I feel stupid when I don’t get it. I might just drop out of this class. I must be stupid cause look at the others. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I get it?
Thinking like teachers is what buries students. It is my opinion that in order for us to move forward as a movement of educators serving our communities we need to think more like students and less like teachers.