Lots and lots of people are going to workshops and conferences and starting to do TPRS or to try to teach with comprehended input. And that’s great.
And those same people are out on the internet, looking for more information. More things to do in the classroom. More activities. Because it’s great to switch things up, right?
Yeah. But if you don’t have a solid base of practice already, not only is there nothing that needs “switching up” — doing so will most likely damage one’s attempts to do good TPRS/TCI in the first place.
There are many, many are voices today in the TPRS/TCI world. Some of them are out there solely to share. Others are out there to make a side income, or a “name”. Some rely on training people to use TPRS/TCI as their sole source of income. Some have solid TPRS/TCI training. Some do not. Some change or extend TPRS/TCI technique because they have tested new things based on their understanding of the research and the brain. Others do it for branding purposes. Some are sharing their very, very early attempts, and others are sharing what they’ve been doing for years. But on the internet, “no one knows you’re a dog”. It’s hard, especially for a teacher new to TPRS/TCI, to know what the background of every voice is, and which of the attractive new things out there would work for his or her classroom practice in the first place.
But even more fundamentally, it doesn’t make sense to drop one thing and grab another before you can do the first thing well. I don’t think any of us would advise our students to do that. Instead, we give them guidance and try to help them succeed at the first thing, and encourage them to stick to that one thing until they have mastered it, and only then extend or innovate or reach out for something new.
Solid, basic, “boring” (though given all the ways you can deliver comprehended input and still not deviate from the principles of TPRS, it’s hard to say why it would be considered “boring”) TPRS is the foundation for most, if not all, of those “new” things. (In fact, many “new” things have been done in TPRS for years, just not with the fancy new label. Again, an attempt to brand by re-labeling.) Most “new” things out there are what would have to be called “TPRS-minus”. They take TPRS and remove an element or two, often in the name of making things “easier”.
Again, it’s strange, isn’t it, that teachers are ready to help students to stick to something until it’s mastered, but want to go to a workshop and just “get something” ready to use the very next day. We try to tell students it’s important to build skills, but we aren’t willing to put in a few weeks of practice to get a new technique — one that’s the basis for many other things down the line.
So if you’re new to TPRS/TCI, I urge you: just do TPRS. Just do that. Do it for a time, and get so you do it well. And for every bit of new and alluring stuff you hear about and are tempted to try right away, apply the Lenses of TPRS/TCI.
Does it make language comprehended? Not potentially. Not sometime. Right when it’s going in those ears.
Is it personalized? Does it grab and hold the interest of your students? If you’re imposing content on them, it’s not going to be “theirs”. It’s really, really worth the time to build that skill for yourself.
Is it repeated? Rome wasn’t built in a day, and language isn’t acquired without a lot of repetition. Skip that, and you lose the benefits of that solid confidence on the part of students that you will NOT ever let them falter. That’s what builds relationships. Not what the adult says, but what they demonstrate.
CPR. Comprehended, personalized, repeated. Accept no substitutes. Or omissions.