Input vs. communicative

First day back at school after the break. The usual question: What did you do over vacation? Only one TPRS-taught kid out of 50 said “Nothing.” Four or five traditionally-taught kids out of forty said “Nothing.”
Weird that a method that emphasizes output is producing kids who are unwilling to speak. Meanwhile, the TPRS kids, who are not forced to speak and who do not do snappy little pairwork dialogues and so on, are all commenting in the target language on what they or their friends did.

It always makes me wonder that people are surprised (or resentful, or upset, or appalled, or something) that there seems to be a gap between TPRS teachers and traditional teachers. It just makes sense. TPRS is an input method. Because of that, we take a certain view of things. We believe that if the kids are not yet outputting, it is “not yet”, and it’s a matter of time and our providing them with more input. Because of that, we don’t have kids who “just fail” or kids who don’t get it for one quiz and never, ever catch up over the entire course of their foreign language career in school.  With all the emphasis these days on assessment, which is supposed to measure mastery, it’s amazing that teachers are so rarely permitted to teach to mastery.

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