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Automatic English For The People

Sunday, April 17, 2005

My first TPRS in Japan

I tried out TPRS in my junior 2 last Friday. There are only five students in my class. Three students are very smart. Actually, one student used to live in the United States for many years. So, her comprehension is excellent although she is very quiet. Even though other two students have never been to English spoken countries, their comprehension is very good. And they are very diligent. There is one student whose English is not really good. Also, she is very shy. She speaks very quietly. Sometimes it takes long time for her to answer my questions even in Japanese. So, she and another student are my barometer students. However, it was not so easy to check her comprehension. Even though I used translation in order to check her comprehension, she could not answer my question in Japanese. Well, besides her academic ability, I think there are two reasons.

The first reason is that students are not familiar with this method of teaching English, which is totally different from the traditional method. In most of the time, students are asked to read English paragraph and translate in Japanese. That's all about. They are hardly asked to speak out in English. That's why it took her so long time to think how to answer my questions. So, I have to keep trying. I believe the student needs more time to become familiar with this method.

The second is that she is very typical Japanese, who is afraid of making mistakes. As I told, she is very shy. She is not used to speaking out in English. I think it is very important for me as a teacher to encourage her to be more positive and active. Also, I have to be more sensitive to her feeling and think of the way to assess her comprehension more effectively?

Another thing that I have to keep working on is how to create my PMS in storytelling. This time, I experimented use of textbook story for storytelling. Here is the procedure of my lesson.

In step one, I taught vocabulary (sea, turtle, fall, egg) with picutes and "buy, sell" with TPR. I used little portion of PQA techniques to teach these words.

In step two, I used the textbook story to teach story. The following is a story in the textbook.

Turtles usually live for many, many years. But the number of the sea turles is falling. Every year, many people take sea turtle eggs. Some people eat the eggs. Other people buy and sell turtles for food.

Procedures of storytelling:
Turtles usually live for many years. (students responded Ahaaa!. I checked barometer students' comprehension, but it took her long time to translate this sentence in Japanese. I told her answers and I circled like this).
Do turtles usually live for many years? Do turtles usually live for one year?
Do turtles usually live for one year or many years?
Do turtles live for many years?
What lives for many years?
How long do turtles live for many years.
But the number of sea turtles is falling (students responded "Oh no!!!!!!!" Actually they did well. I thought this is hardest job for Japanese students but it wasn't so hard. I was suprised.Again, I circled this in the same way)
Is the number of sea turtles is rising? Is the number of sea turtles is falling? Is the number of sea turtles is falling or rising. What is falling. .....

I continued this process throughout the story. I think I provided comprehensible input. However, I am not sure it was interesting enough to have students engaged in the story because there was no personalization in this story. In a sense, this storytelling is not PMS. It is just MS. Creating or adapting textbook to PMS is one of the most challenging when I try to adapt Textbook to TPRS lesson.

After the storytelling, I asked students to read the textbook and had them translate. To my surprised, even my barometer student understood the most of the story. She grasped the meaning of the story very well. In this sense, I believe even my bad TPRS is very powerful. As many TPRS experts say, "Bad TPRS is better than No TPRS." I think that I have to work hard.

To summarize my points, I can see some positive effects. However, I have to seek the way to develop more interesting PMS. I also keep working on the step 3, such as pop up grammar and effective ways to conduct reading phase.

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