Saturday, March 3, 2012

THANK YOU from a past student - the Best Part of my Week

In January, the first semester of the school year ended, bringing a close to the pilot program of TPRS instruction-based Spanish 1 level class. I rarely see the students from that class because (1) I do not teach Spanish 2, and (2) my classroom is in a separate short hallway that students do not pass unless they are specifically coming to my class.

However, on Friday after the bell rang to signal the end of the school day, I was returning to my room from the library when I saw a student from my Spanish 1 class. I greeted her with a "hola" (& her name). She stopped me and said that she had wanted to stop in my room to say thank you for teaching her Spanish last semester with "all the stories". She said that now that she is in Spanish 2, she realizes how much she learned through the stories that we created in class and from reading the additional stories. But to me, the best part about talking to her was not specifically her words, even though hearing her remarks certainly affirmed for me the benefits and necessity for language instruction with TPRS. But rather, the best part was . . . her smile. Her sincerity was unmistakable, along with the evidence of a growing appreciation and enjoyment of the Spanish language. BINGO! Can you think of any better way to end the week?

There you have it - a student that after just one semester of TPRS, sees the value and benefits of acquiring the language through the use of stories. This is exactly why I will continue to seek out workshops and materials that will help me improve my instruction using TPRS. I readily admit that I need more training on TPRS and welcome the opportunity to listen to advice of others with more experience and knowledge with TPRS.

Last Saturday, the other members of my department and I went to a TPRS workshop led by Michelle Kindt at Hershey Middle School--which was absolutely fabulous, Thank You, Michelle! This month I'm looking forward to attending a workshop led by Susan Gross. In the summer, I plan to attend other workshops or conferences. By the time fall rolls around again, I hope to have a solid foundation of how to teach with TPRS so I can give my students the best chance for success with a language.

Note: I have had fewer posts the last few months due to the fact that (1) I have a student teacher this semester and very soon she will be teaching all of my classes, and (2) I have one class of level 3 and the other 3 classes are levels 4 and 5. While I have used stories in levels 4 and 5, those levels tend to lean more toward class discussions, short stories by Spanish authors, and similar activities. Since my student teacher picked up the level 3 class early in the semester, I have requested 1 day a week to do TPRS with them. I also volunteered to work with four Spanish 3 students that are taking the class online at school because they couldn't schedule the class this year and they want to take Spanish 4 next year. I work with them a minimum of 1 time a week and they help create stories with me in addition to completing their online work. In this way, I can keep practicing TPRS while helping to prepare them for the next level of Spanish.
I look forward to professional development in the next few months and starting again in the fall with TPRS based instruction for lower levels and CI instruction in the advanced levels.

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