Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Día 23 - PQA

If I haven't explained PQA in depth very well, it's because I am not very good at this thing called TPRS quite yet.  If I were to have been a pro already, I would have certainly mentioned PQA.

PQA stands for Personalized Questions and Answers.

I actually bought a book by Ben Slavic called PQA in a Wink.   Since I was taking graduate classes all summer, I wasn't able to get into the reading and preparation for teaching TPRS until during the actual school year.  So I am learning while doing.

But I digress.  If you're curious about PQA and TPRS in general, you might read Ben Slavic's explanation in his blog on the Three Steps of TPRS.

At the beginning of class, when you want to teach a new story, you have your three structures that you want to use and you can use one of them in the present tense.

So today, I had the three structures from Blaine's story:
quería comer - he/she wanted to eat
sabía - he/she knew
le dijo - he/she told him/her

I started off with class asking in the present tense (because those phrases are in the past), "¿Quién quiere comer?" (Who wants to eat?) 

Well if you've taught high school before, you should know that high school students are always hungry.  So I had some students suggest some things. We talked about how they wanted to eat steak, salad, and then I asked who wanted to eat 'chocolate'.  I wanted to kind of follow Blaine's story since this is my first year.  In the story a girl wants to eat chocolate from a place but there is none.

And after the 5-10 minutes of PQA, we were able to start the story and I went into the past tense.  I could easily start off the story as in previous stories but now add the new phrase in the past tense.  It was seamless.  Students could go from the present to the past tense in their heads without any problem.

For whatever reason, I have not done this.  Instead, I usually ask for a volunteer and then start creating a story instead of seeing who will play along with me beforehand and that's how they can get into the story.  This makes more sense and you get to practice the present and the past tense of a structure during class.  Not to mention that in the rest of the story, you can refer to the other things that the other students said to compare and contrast with your main character.

It's great for establishing potential parallel story lines before you're even storytelling.

Now this is one of the ways to do PQA in class.  As Ben Slavic says in his blog entry, some teachers would rather just use PQA during the entire class because you're just talking with your students and practicing the language. 

A positive for PQA is that it can help you warm up a little as a class without jumping into asking the whole class for details too soon.

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