[quote=“ironlady”]And there’s the point. (I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, BTW – I’m just thinking about the ideas that have been brought up.)
Krashen goes to TPRS demonstrations because he’s interested in how this theory can be operationalized in a real-life classroom. He tends to come up with things like “extensive reading” and his new baby, “compelling input”, but it’s up to the mass of teachers working on this kind of thing to make these ideas useful in a classroom situation.
Comprehensible input makes the brain acquire language.
TPRS is just the tricks used to make the kids sit still long enough to hear enough comprehensible input to acquire the language.
If you’re lucky enough to have a motivated student or students, you can teach them using the local phone book, as long as it’s comprehensible. They’ll listen raptly and acquire. The average student doesn’t – especially since the world is full of wrong messages about how language is “so hard to learn”. Lots of kids shut down before they even give it a chance.
(BTW, TPRS wouldn’t teach “I am”, it would teach “I am swimming”, “I am running”, “I am whatever-ing” ad nauseum, and the brain will acquire the “I am -ing” pattern over the course of many repetitions. Many. It doesn’t happen neatly within the “present progressive unit” that is two weeks long. It happens over the course of a month, a semester, a year, or whatever. One of the tough things in training TPRS teachers is to get them to understand how to pick “items” to teach in class. Individual words can be TPRS-taught but the benefits in terms of structure aren’t there, and structure is the focus of TPRS.)[/quote]
I absolutely agree, there is a stubborn misperception about languages being ‘so hard to learn’ (and teach). [I also suspect that this misperception is highly profitable to education businesses and bureaucracies.] I imagine we both know that languages may not always be easy (look at how much we have to work to understand one another in our native tongue!), but learning and teaching languages can be deeply rewarding and a lot of fun. Stepping into a classroom where students are resentful and sullen or otherwise written-off and applying CI techniques is an extremely rewarding experience. I take it that you would also like to make these kinds of experiences (for teachers and students and parents, etc) more commonplace. And, I am convinced that using these techniques has a spill-over effect across children’s and families’ lives.
But, I think if you talk about CI as a technique rather than as an attitude, it will just be put into that big stack of techniques that grows a little higher each year. This industry or profession is in need of a paradigm shift. I think that for those who still think teaching language is about grammar or spelling or analytically chopping up language and piecing it back together again (and there are a lot of them, they are entrenched, and they are extremely certain about it), the Krashen video is more likely to have an impact on that kind of person and those prejudices. My strong suspicion is that the Slavic video will leave that sort of person thinking that this is just another technique. They will say, “That class looks like fun. My class likes to play sticky-ball for fun.” Or, “maybe I should buy one of those light pointers, too.” They will not be able to comprehend what is afoot.
That’s why I said the Krashen video is not ‘a poor demonstration’.