iFLT Language Learning Labs-2015

When it comes to teaching, I learn the most by watching others. Here are some clips of various teachers at iFLT 2015. One of the brilliant and unique things about iFLT is the ability for teachers to watch other teachers for a week with real students. The language learning labs are as close as we can get to analyzing the effects of TPRS/TCI and the strategies and the styles of master teachers. Carol Gaab is the mastermind behind iFLT conference and every year you can go to TPRStorytelling.com in order to see if it is in your region of the country since it moves each July.

Here is Grant Boulanger of Minnesota. If I can say one thing about Grant, it is that no one is better at honoring their students while teaching with comprehensible input. Grant genuinely listens and cares about what the students are contributing. This is his fuel for teaching and I love the way he expresses TPRS.


Sabrina Sebban-Janzack is masterful French teacher that is able to meet the needs of her students while incorporating multiple language learning strategies. Her movement, facial expressions, ability to point and pause, rate of speech and ability to recognize how much input her students can handle put her on a level of teaching that I very much admire. In this clip we see Sabrina developing a story with students that she just met. Much of what she is doing falls into the category of “Asking a story.” I love her intentionality with French pronunciation…what a wonderful role model for these beginning students to feel comfortable with the language in this way.


Jason Fritze is always a fan favorite among observing teachers. Along with Blaine Ray, I credit Jason as one of my biggest influences for the way that I extend kindness to my students. It is important for me to see other men showing kindness to students while forgoing the typical authoritarian dominant role that some men implement in the classroom. There are many kind TPRS teachers that do this but Blaine and Jason were my early influences. I always admire the amount of language that Jason uses with early learners. I also appreciate the diversity/creativity he incorporates when using classical TPR (Total Physical Response).


Linda Li has been my Mandarin teacher for the last few years. She is so kind and everyone loves listening to her. We see that she has a mixed student population in this learning lab. She has both teenage students and adults…yup it CAN be done! This is an example of the simplicity of comprehensible input in order to teach to any audience no matter the background of the students. If the relationships are nurtured with care and the input is personalized and compelling… language acquisition happens. One of the things that I noticed Linda doing throughout the week was using different areas of the classroom. It was a great strategy for providing a feeling novelty as she had to go slow and teach for mastery.


Karen Rowan is the type of educator that is always multi-tasking. She is teaching with novels while incorporating student actors, using gestures, and TPR, along with dramatization, and movement throughout the entire room.  The use of authentic resources and parallel characters with multiple locations and a handful of other TPRS strategies are a constant when observing Karen’s classes. She is a walking and talking input-based providing machine. As she juggles all of her strategies, it is all for the purpose of pre-teaching reading. If you know of her TPRS novel Las Aventuras de Isabela you would recognize that she is pre-teaching language that she wants students to later easily read.



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  • Thank you for posting this! :)

    azkathi 4 years ago Reply

  • Mike: I met Grant and Karen in Chicago at NTPRS 2014 and was very impressed with them in many ways. I also attended Linda’s session in Reston at NTPRS 2015. I agree with your positive comments on these fine instructors and how they “express TPRS”. The other teacher examples of expressing TPRS are very good too. I shared these with some other teachers who are planning to implement TPRS in their school this year. I particularly appreciate the need to be “kind” to students. Keep up the good work of sharing here. However, be careful, one thing that a lot of us like about the TPRS community, in my opinion, is that we (nearly) all of us have a “beginner’s mindset” and that NO ONE is actually a “master” TPRS teacher yet, but we all keep working to improve. Even Blaine Ray says that he is still continuing to improve, even after over 30 years of using TPRS.

    Richard Baker 4 years ago Reply

  • Great point Richard. I love that there is so much humility among teachers in this community. Even though we often praise teachers that do great work there is no one and only perfect way to teach in this way.

    This exists in part because new ideas are popping up al the time. Whenever a strategy yields a better results this work TPRS/TCI evolves and changes.

    Thanks so much for making that point. There are so many good people out there doing this work!

    Michael Coxon 4 years ago Reply

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