Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My first official TPRS presentation to colleagues

Today I was given the wonderful opportunity to share a little bit about TPRS with some of my new colleagues (at my new school). I think that it was an overall positive experience.  Just like in my classes, I over-planned and some things under-planned.

Here's a PDF and here's a PowerPoint file if you would like to see them.

But here's a rundown on the good and bad for me in case I ever do something similar again:


  • I tried to break down in 4 sessions. 1st session was background of me and TPRS and CI.
  • I fortuitously was able to get the talented Bess Hayles to teach a French class to the group. Even though I was presenting, this was definitely awesome as I was able to pick up neat things from how she approaches storytelling and how much fun she made it. It reminded me how much fun just playing in a language can be (when my teacher hat is off).
  • Most of the teachers were wanting a refresher of TPRS since many had done it/tried it in the past. So I think even though my presentation was more on the beginner side, it was still helpful to remind them of the basic tenants of TPRS

Needs improvement:

  • First session was longer than I intended because I am so verbose. Might need to break it up a little or offer more opportunities for a brain break.
  • I had wanted to have the third session be a practice of the skill of circling and also to think about how to come up with questions for PQA. It occurred to me that I didn't do a good job of modeling / explaining Circling or PQA before trying out the activities. Thankfully my audience was gracious. So to improve, break those down a little better. And pass out circling handout I had in the first presentation!
  • In the last session I ran out of time, but wanted to be more question oriented. The only problem was we had run out of time so I went through it quickly and realized that it was lacking in material. I really don't know how to explain "assessment" and I should have touched on TPRS and CI in upper levels, but I am not much of an expert on that since I have really only taught it with lower levels so far. While I have an idea of how it could go, it would be all theoretical
  • When I went through some 2 - 3 day TPRS training sessions years ago, there was a component about the theory behind what we do. I could improve my section on this. My "theory" today was a little more anecdotal based on my experiences and less research-based. So I should try to include more research about how languages are learned and maybe even ideas from the book I read years ago: Brain Rules or from Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story. Incidentally there is also some research mentioned in the newest edition of Blaine Ray's Fluency through TPR Storytelling book. Otherwise known as the green bible.
Overall, a good day though! I still have a lot more to learn about TPRS and teaching in general before I present to a group again on the topic in a formal way.  

I definitely enjoyed the French class part and see how beneficial it would be to others to be able to observe one another even teaching to other teachers.  While we can talk about TPRS/CI for days, there's nothing quite like the magic of seeing a storyteller in front of a group just hanging out with them in the language.

I am excited about maybe getting other TPRS/CI teachers together to form a war room in the Kansas City area. If you are a TPRS/CI teacher and would be interested, let me know!


  1. Sr. Jordan--so glad to find your blog. I've used your youtube videos for several years as I partially flipped my classroom. This is exciting as I am now trying to start my new year with TPRS.

    1. Very cool! Glad the vids have been helpful and you'll have to let me know about your TPRS journey. :-)

  2. I want to thank you for your presentation! I truly believe that LSHS can once again become a TPRS powerhouse. I look forward to building it together and can't wait to hear about NTPRS.

    1. Thanks, Kara! Hopefully we'll knock it out of the park this year or at least learn a heck of a lot trying so next year is even better! :-)