A poster to a teachers’ e-mail list recently commented:
My first class of the day is a tough one. They argue amongst each other.
Many are consistently late. They hold entire conversations while the rest
of the class is waiting for them to be quiet. They complain about the
activities. They don’t do/ don’t turn in work. They refuse to participate.
I dread this class every day.
I wonder why?
Sounds like there are “activities”, not communication. Who cares if textbook Marie-Helene goes to the boulangerie?
Sounds like there is “work”, but how are they to do it if they are not succeeding in class first? I wouldn’t do that sort of homework either. How could I?
They refuse to participate — because the class has nothing to do with them. What does French really have to do with their lives, being imposed from outside?
There will be other factors going on, of course. But in today’s world, the most likely and simplest explanation is a group of disconnected teens with no one really showing any interest in what they do or who they are, shuffling them from activity to activity all day long.
So, it’s the usual one-word answer that no one who is using “activities” wants to hear: TPRS.
Talk to them, about them, in a way they can understand.
Read things they are interested in and that they can understand.
That is all TPRS is, in its most basic form.
Some of our best TPRS teachers came to the method out of utter frustration with the failure of legacy methods to reach kids. I hope this teacher will be one more.