Meeting Judith Dubois in Agen 

I’m sitting in a cobbled street at Quarts Coffee Kitchen enjoying the cool breeze blowing from behind me. It’s a very warm day today – probably around the mid thirties. The chair and table I’ve chosen is out of the sun and smaller than the others. I was offered the option of directors chairs with a larger table but because I am unsure which way the sun will move (nor how to ask the lovely waitress this question) I chose to sit here. I am waiting for Judith Dubois to join me. She is due any minute from the 12:30 train. This meeting is momentous for me because it marks my  unofficial beginning of the TPRS conference – the whole reason I am here in Agen. Judith will be the first of many TPRS legends whom I will meet face to face for the very first time, with the only exceptions being Stephen Krashen & Blaine Ray, who I very fortunately met during their recent visits to Australia. 
The next day……

Wow! Wow! Wow! Can’t believe how generous Judith is! With less than a week leading up to a major international conference with a million thoughts chasing around in her head and a list of jobs a mile long, she took time out to warmly (literally – both from her heart and on a 35+C day) welcome me to Agen and show me around while seemlessly ticking off a few of the jobs from her job list. 

After a delicious lunch with Judith at Quarts Coffee Kitchen, we met a journalist from a local paper who interviewed Judith (in French) about the upcoming conference. It was fascinating ‘listening’ to the conversation which included an explanation of TPRS. Listening to a conversation about a familiar topic in an unfamiliar language! I could pick out a few familiar words and draw some dots but it was hard work sitting there in the heat concentrating on a largely incomprehensible conversation. My experiences as a beginner language learner have definitely begun!! 

After the interview and a few other jobs, we enjoyed a cuppa (pot of earl grey tea) in an air conditioned cafe (boy was the air-conditioning welcome!) and a terrific conversation about several TPRS topics including teaching adults (4-6 is the ideal class size), teaching word order via ‘Kim’s Game’ ala Rudyard Kipling (also known as ‘memory’). 

Judith explained how perfect Kim’s Game is for repetitive & correct noun/adjective word order input. I hope I have interpreted her instructions correctly! 

Put together a collection of props that are similar except for size and colour! How awesome is this!  Eg. A big red snake. A small pink snake. A big red shoe. A small red and blue shoe. A large red pencil. A small blue pencil. A large pink monkey. A small blue monkey. Etc. Put them all together in a covered basket/container. One by one, take one out and circle it focusing on reps of noun/adjective word order. Once the basket is empty, pick up the props one by one again, repeat what is (a big blue hat) and then return it to the basket. Once all the props are back in the basket, ask the class if they can remember what is in the basket. As a prop is suggested by a student, pull it out and once again confirm it’s description to consolidate further the noun/adjective word order! 

This would be an engaging activity for all students and a great way to get reps on not only word order but also any nouns covered in stories. 

A huge thank you to Judith for spending time  with me yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you at last and truly appreciated that you took an entire afternoon out from your hectic schedule to spend time with me. I thoroughly enjoyed our various TPRS related conversations and the impromptu history tour! Merci beaucoup!! 

7 thoughts on “Meeting Judith Dubois in Agen 

  1. buannesblog says:

    OO la la! You have no idea how envious I am! I wonder about word order of adjectives in Indonesian. Even though we may not be aware of it, we have a set word order for adjectives in English (note how ‘the blue old big car’ sounds weird). But what about Indonesian – how would we say that? Mobil yang besar, tua dan biru?


  2. Tasya says:

    We do something similar! So rewarding for the students. And such a great way to give confidence in creating original language not just repeating back learnt statements.


    • bucathy says:

      The main beauty of TPRS/TCI is that a target structure is repeated many many times in comprehensible yet different ways. Structures are acquired rather than learned or memorised which is what I absolutely love about this pedagogy. Do you agree?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tasya says:

        I agree. The method we use requires recording key parts of the lesson and is listened to for an hour or two each night (when lessons are done daily) so we get lots of reps in outside class which makes the class time run a bit differently. All that is recorded is comprehensible and complete with visuals to support meaning, so even today I can go back and listen to all my recordings and relisten to all my picture dictionaries and stories we recorded etc. So it looks different but uses similar ideas. For our kids curriculum we are making CD’s and they download files recorded by their native speaker teacher of exactly what is covered in class.
        Hoping to move our teenage classes to tprs once we get it past the red tape 😜. Accreditation here is a very interesting process!
        I wasn’t referring to tprs when talking about learning phrases 🙂 When we arrived in Indonesia they had a pile of ‘survival phrases’ we were forced to memorize and it was the worst!


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