Nancy I so agree with you. Many of us try to bend TPRS into something that will fit into other approaches. I would rather try to stuff silly putty into a straw with a hammer.

It’s like Baudelaire’s poem “L’Albatros” where sailors on the deck of a boat grab those great seafaring birds hovering overhead and pull them down where their airborne grace and majesty immediately are lost on the book’s oops I mean boat’s hard surface.

I am not saying that we should not try to incorporate TPRS into more traditional methods. It can remediate any method. It’s just that, in my own personal view, the greatness of the method, it’s design, is not as compatible as many of us would have it be. I have tried recently to bend it, prod it, pull it in different ways but I always come back to the three steps and to what Regina just said a few posts above this one – keep it simple.

TPRS is a method that, when done according to the way Blaine and Susie tell us, works, but morphs into unrecognizable forms when overly toyed with. Just my opinion. It would take a real expert to blend TPRS into a book-based program – I would never attempt it – makes my head hurt to think about it. Those who do it have my undying respect and admiration.

I was a traditional teacher for twenty-four years. I prepared too much. It became ridiculous. I was let out of that SICK CAN eight years ago by Dale Crum and Susie Gross. Thank you Jesus.

What Nancy says about Monday morning – three words and have at it – is so much simpler! Really, planning regular traditional classes is looney – all this precoccupation with stuff the kids don’t even want to know!  Einstein’s definition of insanity.

With 80% less prep time (really 95% less) since I discovered TPRS eight years ago, I feel that my teaching has become much simpler and much better. I intend to keep it that way.


2 Responses to “KISS”

  1. Phoebe Abrahamsen Says:

    I like this blog site and have been reading it for several months so far. I am encouraged and relieved quite often when I realize about the higher end of teaching and how it is explained here. I am still in the gap of transitioning from the ‘old’ way with lots of plans and activities to the ‘three words and have at it’! Part of me feels guilty about feeling so calm about it – it’s as though I SHOULD be torturing myself and agonizing about all the details of my plans.

    Thanks for providing all this important information. I’ll keep reading and learning!

  2. Ben Slavic Says:

    Phoebe I am hearing you say that we are not even aware when we torture ourselves with lesson plan details and the multifarious activities connected to traditional teaching. We think it is normal. Thus, we cannot heal from it because it has become like breathing air to us.

    What a blockbuster thought! If we could but realize how complicated we make our lives in the classroom (cf. Merton quote on this blog), and how truly little effect our freneticism has on what our students actually acquire, then we might be able to do something about it.

    This is the hardest thing of all, isn’t it? The more I talk to colleagues and read comments like this one, I begin to see that the trick is not so much in learning the new method as much as it is in letting go of the old.

    Thanks for this. I have been wanting to put this into words for weeks now. If we can’t stop torturing ourselves, our embracing TPRS will stall if not come to a halt. Maybe this explains why so few people do TPRS even though as intelligent professionals who have done research on how we learn languages, they see its merits.

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