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Comprehensible Input Really Works!.

This is me after nine hours of TPRS Cantonese (taught by a teacher who was herself learning how to use the method). Granted, I speak Mandarin already. But that didn't make the Cantonese tones any easier, or help with some of the really common grammar patterns that are quite different from Mandarin. In fact, I think it's a bit confusing for me as a result!

The main takeaway I have from doing these language lessons is that as a student, I love, love, LOVE the feeling of understanding what's going on. My teacher is wonderful and willing to go very, very slowly. There's no pressure to "speak native speed", because that is not what my brain needs now. Yet I can see, when I listen to tapes of my earliest classes, how much faster we are speaking now than we were at the beginning.

The other point is that I can truly use all the words we've mentioned in class. Okay, maybe you'll never have to talk about the Italian Mafia going to someone's office in Beijing to get shoes, but if you can, you can probably use the language to talk about a whole lot of other, easier, more commonplace things as well. And in a free-thinking, one-on-one adult class, we amuse ourselves with our stories even as I acquire the language.

As a teacher trainer, doing a novice- or low-intermediate level lesson series in a new language helps me to really understand what "slow" means. Like, really slow. Like, slow enough so the novice can process that language. It helps me understand the discomfort we put our students through when we pile too much language on them at once. It makes me appreciate how joyous it is to read when you CAN read what you're given to read.

I strongly recommend that all TPRS teachers, no matter how experienced, try to take a new language now and then -- both using traditional methods (maybe just for one lesson, though! ;-) ) and using CI/TPRS. It really helps me in the classroom and as a trainer.