Observations on tprs teaching one student

Since I’ve fallen so far behind – to be remedied tonight – in transcribing parts of the lessons, I thought it would be good to make a few general observations.

One thing that hit me regarding asking stories – there are many students like my granddaughter, so-called “good kids” who just want to know what they need to know and are not so interested in inventing stories. However, some kids take to it and so model such behavior and soon all students are caught up in making stories. The fact that my granddaughter does not find goofy elements enjoyable is a personality trait which would be submerged in a class and she could benefit from the inventiveness of others.

Nevertheless, it has been my bete-noire, this ‘asking the story’. March 20 and 21 I managed to get her to start putting in details. This tracks her baby steps in emitting French words like poisson and marcher. But a big part of it is my own failure to force myself to set up story-asking lessons.

My own French turns out to be pretty much up to the task, partly b/c I’m refining like mad my conscious knowledge of French grammar and pronunciation and vocabulary, Krashen’s monitor. Yesterday I said il n’a pas des enfants and quickly corrected myself to d’enfants. That is what Rod Ellis calls a mistake, doing something you know is wrong, vs an error which results from ignorance. I have found in studying the grammar that my acquired French is fairly accurate though I notice some features that might be called le francais populaire and familier (from Rodney Ball’s Colloquial French, the former being wide-spread and the latter used by all social classes in intimate relations like friends, colleagues, etc. That is a feature of social life that has changed dramatically in the U.S., with informality marking relations nowadays that would earlier, 1950s say, would have required stiffer behaviors; how this relates to French culture is of great interest – I note he says that French people will use la langue populaire with foreigners but expect the foreigner to use le francais courant back – weird). Anyway, I’m really enjoying this unexpected foray into the language.

Getting Nyah to read French words as in having her place words written on slips of paper onto the appropriate site on a drawing or map is my way of getting her read. This led after some time to her requesting me to show her how to sound words out. That is something most teachers would think quite valuable

Repeating what I said in a transcription, she is determined and insistent in understanding meaning and detail.

What I have to be careful of in doing these transcriptions is that I recall whether she recalled a word cold or I pointed to it on the posters on the walls.

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