Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Monday, April 18, 2005

Involving Students In TPRS

by AJ

Tohru's post reminded me of an important aspect of TPR Storytelling... one that I forgot today: Interactivity.

TPRS is not passive. The teacher should (must) engage the students in an interactive dance. At the most basic level, this means encouaraging sounds and reactions.

For example, get the students yelling "oooohhhhh", "ahhhhhh", "oh no". At first you must prompt them to do so. Model what you want, hold your hand to your ear and wait for their response.

Of course, this is very surface interaction... but its a step in the right direction. With (normally shy) Japanese students... it is, in fact, a very big step.

Next, you want to ask questions and get responses. For example, you say "There is a boy and a girl.... what's the boy's name?" Ideally, the students shout out names. This works well with generally more outgoing Western students,... but is quite a challenge for Japanese students. If they won't shout, you can always use multiple choice questions and ask them to raise their hands.

For example, "what's his name.... Kenjiro, Kota, or Ichiro..... who wants Kenjiro? who wants Kota?... etc." You can use student names. Or, if this embarrasses them, use celebrity names or yourself and other teachers.

The next step is to have them shape the story in the retellings. You ask them for more details and elaborations.

Thus, they are not sitting silently as if they were watching TV. They are hearing and responding to events in the story. They are hearing and responding to questions.

Since this technique is so new and weird for my students right now, I will aim for only the surface level for my remaining classes this week... try to get them oooohing and ahhing at appropriate times.

Ill give this a try on Wednesday and report back on the results.