TPRS in Action

For those of you who are still wanting to find out more about TPRS, you might find it helpful to watch a video of it. Click here to see a large collection of videos from the National TPRS Conference in Minneapolis in 2008. Also, be sure to check out a specific video on this site which shows adult students with incredible proficiency in the language after only 15 hours of TPRS language classes in the Fluency Fast program. To download and watch it, click on the “Fluency Fast Students after 15 hours” link along the left-hand side of the page.

Discovering TPRS

I first came across the TPRS method at the end of my final teaching practicum. I had only been teaching high school Italian and Spanish for about seven weeks, and I was already exhausted and stressed out beyond belief. During my practicum, I taught using a textbook, and my method was simply to plod along through the pages and pages of grammar explanations and related activities. Every once in awhile, I had the students do some sort of a project (ie. designing a birthday invitation, drawing their ideal house, presenting their favourite foods to the class, putting on a skit, etc.) I also tried to integrate communicative activities that I had been taught in my methods class, such as information gaps, interviews, role play, games, and pair work. Each unit would then be followed up by a test in which the students were expected to know and use all the vocabulary and grammar they had been taught. This was the way which I was taught in high school, and at first I didn’t consider doing anything differently. Continue reading

Silent Sustained Reading

An article that was published in The Globe and Mail once again supports what TPRS teachers have been doing all along. It states that letting students choose which books they read makes them better readers. This idea has also “been linked to improved scholastic achievement” for students.

Since reading is the best way for students to enlarge their vocabulary, I often have my classes read in Spanish for 10 minutes during class. I usually read with them.

I do Silent Sustained Reading with my students and they get to choose any book to read from my collection of books. Some of them choose children’s books, some read magazines or comics, and some ambitious students read entire novels (like Harry Potter) that they have already read in English. I have noticed that letting students pick what they read seems to make it a lot more enjoyable for them than if I were to assign something to the class.