The first day at NTPRS 2015 (this year’s national conference for the system called Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) has been exhilarating: I’ve enjoyed conversations with teachers and presenters that I had known only through the internet or by fame and had been eager to meet in person, and have been pleasantly surprised to hear that I have been such a person for others–lots of kind words about Indwelling Language from people I’d never met before!
In the keynote speech during today’s lunch, Dr Stephen Krashen addressed a few things that are especially dear to Indwelling Language:
1. The value of Non-Targeted Comprehensible Input. (See this post for some of my thoughts and a related lesson.) Besides increasing the likelihood that content will be compelling and that grammar will be reviewed continuously throughout the year, Non-Targeted CI can also significantly reduce a teacher’s workload and, perhaps paradoxically, stress about “covering everything.” Krashen said a lot of quotable, thought-provoking stuff, but the only ovation he received was for his acknowledgement that teachers are overworked.
2. The exciting possibilities of “content courses” and spiced-up TPR (Total Physical Response) lessons. The former might include things like courses in popular literature, astronomy, music appreciation; the latter “yoga instruction, self-defense, dance, magic tricks, juggling, cooking.” I quote this section of the presentation Krashen gave today because, while I listened and read along, I was thrilled to note, as I was thrilled to report to Krashen after his talk and am thrilled to write now, that I have been involved in the use of every single one of these as part of foreign language instruction in the last two years–in fact, I’ve used all of them except juggling this month. (See these posts for some ideas about using party tricks and students’ quirky skills for language learning.) Something Krashen didn’t mention, but that has been especially enjoyable and effective about these lessons, has been getting students to share their expertise in these areas. I’ll be sharing about this in one of my sessions here at NTPRS 2015 on Thursday.
3. The call for a flood of compelling books of all lengths, genres, and difficulties in our and our students’ target languages. I have already proposed the idea of an “unconference” for this purpose and have received enthusiastic support here.
I’m excited to meet and learn from more people throughout the week and to present two sessions on Thursday!