Month One

We’re in the fourth week of school now; nearly a month done and things are going extremely well. I cannot even begin to explain how much easier it is to start the school year in September than it is to try and come into the classroom in February after four teachers and many months of discord. Cue a giant sigh of relief.

On the TPRS/CI front, things are progressing nicely. I’m still so new at these techniques and have so much to learn, but as they say – even a bad day of TPRS is better than a good day of teaching grammar style. It is so true.

My French 2s are the primary recipients of my TPRS techniques, but French 3 is progressing more and more into it this week and French 1 will get there in short order. I have three sections of French 2, and only one each of 1 and 3, and right now I can say confidently that my French 2s can already outproduce my 3s. It’s really amazing – for the past week we’ve been working on a story that I adapted and translated from Martina Bex’s website, called Les filles ne jouent pas au football américain. It highlights the structures jouer à, avoir envie de and the verb + infinitive construction. Their level of comprehension is just incredible – we’re still working on refining output (writing and speaking) but it’s only week 4 an I am excited to see how they progress throughout the semester and the year.

In French 2 today, we did a Horizontal Conjugation based on a reading that we completed in class yesterday. One student in particular, who has had a lot of difficulty with French in the past, was struggling to conjugate être (to be) with je (I) to say “I am.” I pointed out the error to him as I monitored, and asked him what the correct version would be, and he could not tell me. Then I went to back to our stories and rephrased the question, asking instead, “What would you say if I asked you, [Are you sad]?” He was immediately able to answer “I am…” in French, without even thinking about it. Wow! Even he was amazed.

All in all, though there have been a few hiccups and I’m trying to adjust to the learning curve that comes with a new method of teaching, things have been going smashingly well in the first month of school. Let’s hope the progress can continue upward!

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