SPONTANEITY

To me, the word “spontaneity” defines TPRS in one word. I teach best when I am not tied down with a lesson plan. It is so easy to object to this. But, it is still my truth, and I must say it.  

 A person said to me once on the list: “To the non-TPRS teacher, your description of what you do in the classroom (which I respect) is lacking in preparation and planning, and bordering on just showing up and seeing what happens. [They would say that this is just] winging it. Am I misinterpreting [this]?”

Here is my answer:

That is why I don’t talk to non-TPRS teachers and don’t post on their lists. A person unfamiliar with TPRS may call it winging it. I call it academic rigor and best practice. No other method but TPRS can arm a teacher to teach a class “unprepared”. Rick Winterstein, a gifted TPRS teacher of Latin in Washington, also addressed this question.

He said:

“I let the lesson unfold organically, letting in whatever new vocabulary fits the mood or the story… and it works, because I’m more interested in reaching a goal in June rather than making it to precisely-defined objectives along the way.

“In the course of the story creation [of one story], we picked up three more useful verbs plus one humorous one. I did not have to choose these verbs in advance. Had I chosen a set of verbs on my own and a story to go with them, the lesson would not have been nearly as much fun. Nor, I suspect, would they have learned as much, since they would not have been as engaged. (ital. mine) “You can decide whether or not that makes me a lazy teacher. My only teacher prep for the day, you’ll notice, was selecting a single phrase. As I get more proficient at this method….I imagine the net interest will only increase!”

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