TPRS and Danielson: Domain #1

TPRS teachers are increasingly worried about being evaluated using the Danielson rubric. There is some reason for this. TPRS teachers are focused on providing input for acquisition — and we do that by making things comprehensible. The Danielson rubric is not complicated if you take it apart bit by but, but on the whole, it appears intimidating and, worst of all, very non-acquisitionally based.

If we look carefully at each part of it, and think about what practices are going on in TPRS, we find that TPRS teachers are way out in front in terms of being highly effective teachers — even using what is initially an unfriendly evaluation framework.

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation
1a Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy

TPRS teachers can state the research basis for their practice (Krashen’s Comprehensible Input model). How many non-TPRS teachers can name the theory underlying what they do in the classroom?
TPRS teachers demonstrate a high degree of fluency in their languages as they use the full spectrum of structure (grammar), constantly restate to maintain comprehensibility, and integrate culture through pop-ups and other means.

1b Demonstrating Knowledge of Students

Made to order for TPRS teachers! Personalization in the TPRS classroom makes a learning experience that is more personalized than any other class in school. The inclusion of actual facts from student lives, and discussion of a variety of topics, means that teachers are constantly demonstrating — and expanding on — their knowledge of their students, both as learners and as PEOPLE.

1c Setting Instructional Outcomes

TPRS is a mastery method, unlike most methods. We expect all students to become fluent. We set accessible instructional outcomes (ability to retell, ability to write using those language elements) and we constantly take formative assessment until we are convinced those outcomes have happened.

1d Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources

1e Designing Coherent Instruction
What could be more coherent than an instructional design that first carefully considers which items are high-frequency and/or important to a particular group of students, triages vocabulary and structure, presents new things in order of importance, and constantly spirals and repeats past items to ensure mastery?

1f Designing Student Assessments
There’s nothing different about TPRS assessments than “traditional” ones — except that we have a lot more formative information going into an assessment. Combining standards-based grading (widely used in TPRS circles though not properly a part of TPRS itself) and the insights it gives into what assessment is, what assessments are actually measuring, and the importance of separating skills and outcomes from one another, and you have a very strong basis for designing assessments.

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