Structures and Spontaneity

I’ve been corresponding lately with a TPRS colleague who is struggling with getting enough repetitions of the three structures during the story. It made me think. I was taught that way, too, but I don’t do it anymore.

 It makes me nervous, wondering if I will get enough repetitions for the kids to acquire it. Focusing on the structures takes me off the kids and the story line and all the other stuff I have do think about. Taking my focus off of the kids during a story is not something I want to do. 

It would be like trying to find the right toothpick in those little boxes of toothpicks. Any one of them will do. They all work to dislodge food. Comprehensible input is all that matters.

If you focus a lot on the structures, even counting them and such, it might then increase your focus on the story script as well. This creates another problem, because focus is again being taken off the kids and their great ideas. Why deny the story a great direction just because you are thinking of those those target words you signed at the beginning of class?

This reminds me of Joe Neilson and his spontaneity in stories. When I asked him once what he had in mind at the beginning of a story, he replied that all he has in mind is a general plan involving three locations. That is exactly what Blaine says to do. Notice how that allows for a lot of leeway and freedom for unexpected things to happen in the story. Spontaneity.

Focusing mostly only on the kids and a general plan involving three locations (of course with a story script for backup) is a very good thing. Not worrying about getting enough repetitions of words (that actually may have little or nothing to do with what is developing naturally and spontaneously in the story) takes a lot of the stress out of asking a story.

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