Since I changed schools this year, I have been reluctant to record any of my own classes. However, I still think it is tremendously valuable to watch others. There are so many layers to teaching in this way and I love that I keep on learning from what others do. Eric Herman of Edgartown, MA has shared a great video for us to learn from.
The first part of TPRS oral storytelling is developing background information. A primary purpose of background information is to practice high-frequency language. “Practice” in this context means that the students hear the words in the form of a statement or question from the teacher (LICT 2015 p. 1). Eric demonstrates this characteristic in so many ways as he interacts with story. I notice that Eric is focused on two things:
1) He is working on comprehension via repetitive statements and questions, and 2) he is developing storyline. Eric does not hesitate to write new words on the board or point to words that aid comprehension in both Spanish and English. This is crucial for fostering faster processing of the new language or for when students get stuck.
In Eric’s video it is obvious to me that he understands that comprehension precedes output. Through multiple characters (the student actor and himself) and plenty of questioning with controlled speech, Eric has high levels of student engagement. I hear students shouting out answers, giving suggestions, and laughing. For beginning students, TPRS circling or asking repetitive questions will require a lot intentionality in order for students to internalize the new language. I can see that Eric has been working with these students for while on this. They give all kinds of suggestions in Spanish. I love that when Eric circles, he is thoughtful with the words he uses. He speaks slowly so that his students have high levels of comprehension. Eric interacts with his students so well that it might be hard to even see his intention for “practicing” the language, deliberately being repetitive, and allowing students to process Spanish at various paces. He is masterful at hanging out in Spanish with these 7th grade students that he sees 3 times per week.
In my classes the ultimate goal is to have students speak with confidence, which means with without hesitancy and with accuracy (LICT p.1). I admire Eric for what he is doing in this video with his students. I love how much his students want to contribute to the class story.
I also give props to Eric for providing his student with a great Princess voice!!! See more about what Eric is up to at acquisitionclassroom.weebly.com
- Eric repeats answers that students give and asks more questions to continue story line.
- He incorporate student actors, elicits feedback, listens to feedback, incorporates surprise details.
- Eric honors the suggestions his students make by acknowledging their responses.
- He checks in with individuals, the class, and the student actor with English comprehension checks.
- When student actor outputs language, he repeats or recasts those statements to provide more input for the students in room.
- We see words on the board, words that he points to on the board, his use of gestures, and tons of dramatization on both the part of the teacher and the student actor.
- The use of the puppets encourages dramatization, risk-taking, playfulness, and communication.