Posting the question words on the wall in plain view, with their native/shared language translations, is pretty much standard practice in TPRS, and for good reason: these words are used frequently in the TPRS classroom, as we circle, and without an immediate aid to establish meaning for them, the efficient circling of new items through questions in a way that immediately produces understanding would not be possible.

I’m not the first one to point this out, but it can also be helpful, when dealing with beginners, to post only the question words you expect to be using. For total beginners, usually I don’t put up anything more than who, what and where. Not only does it reduce “eye clutter” for them, it serves as a reminder to the teacher to focus on repetitions of the basic items and not get lured off into side questions that will be difficult to understand.

But the idea I want to put forth here is the expansion of the posted word list. Question words are definitely a great place to start. But there is another finite group of words that is crucially important to moving students from the novice level upward to be sophisticated users of a language, words that are very high frequency and are useful no matter what the topic or direction of a story, conversation or text might be.

I call them the “logical connectors”.

So in my classes, whenever possible (since I teach by Skype as well) there is a second list with words like “because”, “so”, “therefore”, “although”, “but”, “however”, “if” and “then”. Modify based on personal preference and the language being taught. For Chinese, for example, it’s very important to get learners used to hearing the pattern “although….but…”, which sounds geeky in English but is great in Chinese. If we don’t use these patterns, which aren’t usually the kind of thing the traditional textbooks think of as “grammar patterns” and aren’t usually listed on curricula as a structural item to be covered, we can’t expect learners to “pick them up”.

A poster in plain sight, making it easy to throw these valuable words in without eating up class time, can be your best friend. You might question “questions”, but who can argue with “logic” 😉 ?