Posted by: Michel Baker | January 29, 2016

Playing TPRS House

Since August, I have been practicing many of the things that Jason Fritze taught us at the National Conference last July and wanted to share a bit more of it with you here.

Jason encouraged us to crouch down, rub our hands together, make delighted eye contact with the class and say “Juguemos [Let’s play] before starting a session of TPR.  I do this while holding up a sign that says “Juguemos” and ” Let’s play,” just until they get that word.  It took me a while to get it integrated into my practice, but once I finally did, I noticed that it instantly transfers excitement to the students.  One can even say “Juguemos” to them at any point during Storyasking because it can also serve the same purpose as Ben Slavic’s “Secreto,” buying this practitioner a moment to think when I don’t know what to do next in the story.  All of TPRS is playing, anyway, isn’t it, much like “playing house” when we were little.

During Storyasking, comparatively fewer students feel the need to write the words down, but a significant number of them do; we second language teachers were surely like them.  So in order to keep the students who like to write things mindfully participating while we “play TPRS house,” they are asked to write it quickly and then get immediately back to full participation in the story.  This way, instruction still mimics mama and child, while also meeting students’ need to write things down.  As children, we played house by fully participating in the playing of house.  The same must be true for fluency development via TPRS; all senses are in, and when someone needs to write things down really quickly before looking back up and participating, that is always fine with me.


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