With the onset of the 2015 school year approaching, I have been preparing for my formal launch into TPRS. While I did put my toe in the water last term (2014), it was more like a young visitor on their first visit to Disneyland with only a limited amount of time; having to race around franticly trying as many attractions as possible before the time was up!
The 2015 school year by comparison, will be the start of an infinite time period and thus my approach will be entirely different. Instead of my frantic, ‘try anything and everything ‘ approach, I hope to take very small steps and enjoy having the time to savour each one, to thoroughly appreciate and grasp the skills of TPRS/CI.
I teach Indonesian to all students at my school – reception to year 7. Reception in South Australia is the year between kindergarten (preschool) and year 1. These year levels are broken down into 3 bands – junior primary (R-2), middle primary (3-5) & upper primary (6-7). Frustratingly, the Australian Curriculum regards the year 7 as middle school, i.e., secondary school, but in South Australia, most year 7’s are still located in primary schools and are thus considered upper primary, even though their curriculum differs significantly from the year 6 curriculum especially in areas of time allocation for subject areas. Still, that is another issue…
In 2014, my experimentation with TPRS/CI was with the middle and upper primary classes. This was for many reasons, the main one being that most TPRS/CI methodology is aimed at secondary students and teachers. Just about all of the pedagogy is applicable in the middle and upper primary setting which is why I am super excited about beginning TPRS/CI formally this year.
These holidays I have been reading voraciously about TPRS/CI. While time consuming, I totally recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about this pedagogy. Blogs and the yahoo group moretprs are a truly great place to start. If you are still keen to take it one step further, then without a doubt I recommend joining Ben Slavic’s WordPress website. It costs about AUD$5-$6 a month (depending on the value of the Australian dollar) which a paltry amount considering the breadth of resources this gives you access to. For me, so far, the most valuable thing has been ‘meeting’ Catharina, a junior primary French teacher. Her posts are insightful, practical and so encouraging. It is no wonder everyone speaks so highly of her. Already I have gleaned many useful pointers about how I will start off with my junior primary students. Probably the most useful advice she has given so far regards the vocabulary to focus on with these year levels initially. The vocabulary includes; yes/no, thank you, hello/goodbye, there is/there are (ada), as well as classroom management language eg. sit/ stand/ talk/ to name a few. While I do cover the initial list, it is the 2nd list that I am most excited about teaching because it includes language that is repeated over and over in all classrooms, so therefore it makes so much sense for it to be taught early on thoroughly.
While American teachers return to school tomorrow, Australian teachers have another 3 weeks of summer holidays. In this time I will;
1. Finish reading ‘Stepping Stones to Storytelling’
2. Finish setting up my classroom
3. Begin reading ‘PQA in a Wink’
4. Blogging – reading and writing
5. Set up Skype coaching workshops with experienced TPRS/CI teachers
6. Plan my first unit of work with all band levels
7. Fleurieu Indonesian Teachers Hub Group Meetings
What are your plans for the rest of the holidays?