On a blog post, someone supporting the idea of untargeted “story listening” recently described a teacher’s performance delivering a targeted TPRS story (one for which the language to be emphasized was known before class started) thusly:

…my targeted stories are about as personalized as a Mad Lib activity.

Sounds to me kind of like someone blaming the piano if they haven’t reached the skill level to play the “Moonlight Sonata” without playing wrong notes.

TPRS requires skills. Skills require practice. I have yet to meet any teacher who could not master those skills if he or she wished to do so, and sought practice opportunities and training. But mastering classic TPRS and its core skills (circling and personalization) opens up the entire spectrum of CI teaching techniques. Including story telling, if that’s what you want to do. The reverse is, sadly, not true. Learning in a one-day workshop how to do some offshoot of TPRS that doesn’t include all its features does not equip you to be able to take up any of the many variations available today.

It’s always better to invest in good tools, rather than a one-use gadget.