Monday, September 20, 2010

Día 21 - Weekend Activity # 3

Today I think I flopped.  At least so far.  It is frustrating because my students just haven't had the energy or creativity today to help me make better stories.

I started off with a few sentences about my weekend for the students and the phrases:
Durante el fin de semana....
     During the weekend

Fui a una fiesta
   I went to the movie theatre.
No bailé.
     I didn’t dance.
Toqué la guitarra.
     I played the guitar.
The first few hours of the day flopped.  I cannot completely take the blame because my students were incredibly un-energetic.  But my hope was the through using TPRS, I would be able to get my students to enjoy class more than ever before.

I understand that some students will be bored simply because they are in class.  TPRS is not a cure-all for students to enjoy class.  It does work well for those students who do not like the traditional class where it is teacher-centered.  Nevertheless, some students will still be bored.  This is a hard lesson to learn because I deeply want all of my students to connect with the material everyday.

Many TPRS teachers say that "Even bad TPRS teaching is better than the 'traditional' Spanish class."  I can see where they are coming from.  The difference with TPRS is that I believe in the methodology more than with the previous type of Spanish I taught.  Why do I believe in it you might ask?

I believe in it because I have been able to see students connect to the language through TPRS.  I have seen firsthand how a teacher can cater certain vocabulary to the class' preference to make class more interesting to them.

We are not forcing production at the early phases of the class.  But eventually we are building them up to be able to do so.  And we are building with baby steps.  Some of my students who were 'traditional' Spanish students last year still will use the 'r' on the end of their verbs because that's what the traditional conjugation type teaching leaves a lot of kids with.  They don't remember to change the word.  You teach it to them as 'comer' and  then change it.

Well with TPRS, you don't tell them that 'comer' is the basic form and that it changes.  You move backwards.  Instead of saying "We change comer to como, comes, come, etc", we point out after having different forms of comer or other verbs that the 'R' adds the meaning of "to" to the verb.  It seems backwards but it makes sense.  If I want my students to use the verbs in context, I should teach them to use the verbs first in context and then to tell them to add the 'r' later.

My next classes were a little better.  It was still a lack-of-enthusiasm-lunes, but hey, the days that are hard just remind me that those days where things work are that much more worth it.  And I'm still far from being perfect as a teacher and at TPRS.

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