Thursday, February 24, 2011

Día 112 - students trying

I love how in TPRS, sometimes you forget that you're using the language in class because you're trying to accomplish things with it.  It's more evident when students are really enjoying it and they try to use the language to get their point across.

This year, I have had students try harder than ever before to create sentences (even if grammatically they're a little off).  But from a communication standpoint, don't I want them to have the confidence to try with the language if they ever meet native speakers?  YES!  I would rather that they try to communicate and build connections even if their grammar isn't perfect than have them so worried about the conjugations of the verbs that they just decide to stay quiet.

My favorite is that sometimes students parrot the things that I say in the perfect time like such phrases as "¡ES OBVIO!" (It's obvious!)

This will always crack me up because my students just pick that up so quickly and start using it.  Sometimes they try to correct the story that they think is going in the wrong direction by telling me that it's obvious and telling me another fact.  If the fact has been established, I can't change it but if I am only asking questions, sometimes I'll let them have the victory because "es obvio" ;-)

It's so much fun though.  I love how my students are trying and as evidenced by the readings, they are learning the language even if sometimes they are quiet or tired.  They are getting the language better than before through TPRS.

Some of the best times are when my more advanced students just come up with the craziest sentence in Spanish and the rest of the class gets it to laugh or they want to know what they said because I laugh.  I like to acknowledge their efforts with a laugh or a huge smile.  Even if we don't always use the idea.

In fact, the curious thing, I have a student who describes himself as lazy.  He admits that he doesn't do homework.  I haven't figured out an effective way to assign any yet this year.  Hey, I'm still learning!  Last year in Spanish 1, he was quiet and often times would just occasionally chatter with the girl next to him in English.  This year he has really opened up to the language and does amazing things with it.  Sure he makes mistakes, but he's trying and his gains have been incredible.  I have to be careful not to get carried away with him in class and stay grounded with my barometer students, but he and others like him this year have definitely helped validate the teaching style for me.

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