A New Stab At TPRS

After almost eight weeks of lessons in Spanish via Zoom, a foundation has been laid. Soon I will get back to transcribing my granddaughter’s French lessons and will transcribe these new lessons. My granddaughter is hitting me up for help with Korean when she starts college soon.

Here is my approach. I started with a teacher of Mexican background teaching in the U.S. Then we went to her family in Mexico where her sister is also a teacher. Her sister is married to a welll-off professional. Then we are introduced to a young woman working as a waitress. Her mother works for the well-off family as a child care giver. Now the young woman has met a young man who is wealthy but turns out to be a dedicated archaeologist and he invites her to a dig. It was at this point my student, a just retired teacher of IB, expressed interest in wanting to know what happens next. Importantly, she attended a conference a week or so ago which was conducted in Spanish. She related that she had understood a good deal and saw that as a measure of her progress.

We were interrupted by a debilitating injury on my part so I told her we would pick up the story where a local indigenous man has found the young woman alone in the camp while the archaeologists go to town for food and after she explains what archaeologists do, he invites her to see something. In the meantime we will go over the highlighted grammar features in the text of the narrative. There is quite a bit here but I know she can benefit from a concentrated exposition even though that is contrary to TPRS practice.

At this point I will explain how these narratives develop. I sat down with my final episode and started to write up the grammar presentation, but my mind went to just what the indigenous person might have in mind for the young woman and the notion of a mirror playing a part in it sprang up and, given the desert and archaeology and an elderly Native American, I thought of Carlos Casteneda and Don Juan. So I’ll tumble that over in my mind and even as I write this some ideas are popping.

All along I’ve used pictures to illustrate the narrative. I will go into more detail but that is why my injury interrupted the narrative; I aggravated the injury by searching through boxes of pictures which necessitated me bending over and straining myself a lot. Pow! So no more for a few days.

So I have set the stage for transcriptions of the lessons. I just wanted to show here that my ability to make up coherent stories using known vocabulary except for a few new items in each lesson moves things along quite well. Someone who has trouble coming up with stories would be well advised to follow a book like Ben Slavic’s TPRS In a Year. There are very detailed and helpful ideas for creating stories or just purchasing some made up my TPRS teachers.

One other caveat: working with a highly literate adult is very different from working with a teenager; both were motivated but their reactions to a foreign language are different. Each has her own strengths and gaps and both are affected strongly by previous learning experiences. PLUS, I am working with one student and a whole class offering suggestions would move things along.

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