So Steve Bruno– after frustrated years with traditional “communicative” and grammar teaching– heard about T.P.R.S. last year and basically took a Nietzschean look at teaching. You’ll remember that Nietzsche’s “eternal recurrence” idea: if you can make the same choice an infinite number of times, it’s right. Steve thought “what could I do over and over that would rock in my Spanish class?” T.P.R.S. was the answer for him. After emailing people, asking a lot of good questions, watching Adriana Ramírez’ class and seeing a Blaine workshop, he dove in headfirst. Here’s his recent email (and by the way ALL the credit I.M.H.O. should go to Adriana and Blaine):
T.P.R.S. is going just fine! I can’t believe the general success I’ve been
having with all my classes. I have some of my 9s writing over 300 words in 25 minutes! My weakest kids could write around 150. Same thing with my 10s.
Students who last year couldn’t write a simple paragraph at the end of a vocabulary, listening, grammar, writing old-style test and having all period to do so, are now writing 200/300 words in 20-25 minutes.
I love not having to teach any formal grammar and yet see how well they are speaking and writing!
My senior students, although sceptical at first, our now buying into T.P.R.S. as they see the strides they are making, especially in their spoken Spanish. I love how each class is so different, and, although we may be “telling” [asking] the same story in a given grade, the details, surprises, and endings may be totally different.
My 11s are able to tell a story in the past using both imperfect and preterito, again without any formal grammar and not one lesson on conjugation on either tense!
With my 12s, it’s been awesome as our stories have taken so many twists and turns, and as a result, we’ve had so many laughs!
Another thing I’ve noticed is how students will speak to me/greet me in Spanish in the hallways, something that used to happen only with my older students but now I am seeing it with my 9s as well!
I have had administrators, other teachers, and the head of our district learning services come and observe my classes. They have all been blown away at the level of student engagement. They were all surprised that I’ve only been doing this since September! I can’t wait to get a year or two of experience under my belt; the sky’s the limit!
I’ve been asked to teach a group of interested teachers at my school’s next Pro-d day in January which I’m looking forward to (and the interest is high as it’s so different and they are curious; also, the students talk about T.P.R.S. in their classes all the time!). The head of our district learning services has asked me to do likewise for the district but I don’t feel experienced enough to take that on yet; maybe next year.
I can’t wait to see what happens with next year’s classes. In the past, I’ve had a huge drop out rate from grade 9 to 10. Based on the feedback I’ve been getting, I have a strong feeling most students will continue as they are experiencing success. My principal feels our Spanish programme will grow as more and more students get wind of this fantastic method; she’s worried about finding another TPRS teacher!
I will forever be grateful to both you and Adriana for showing me the way!