May 4, 2008

teacher fluency

I've been teaching middle school for my entire 7 year career (one year I also taught elementary). I have found that through the years my Spanish has deteriorated to the vocabulary and grammar structures that I am expected to teach. For the last two years I have been experimenting and using TPR and TPRS in my classroom, not just as strategies, but as the foundational philosophy of my classroom. I'm finding that my fluency is improving again, not because I have native speakers to talk to or even that I have made a drastic effort to practice my Spanish outside of my classroom.

My Spanish is improving because the class is so spontaneous. Even in my best days of living in Chile and speaking Spanish exclusively I don't think I could have told you that erizo meant hedgehog. But now that I have a student who has two pet erizos, I know it. :) I'm not limited to speaking in the present tense or using regular verbs, so I get more practice all the time. I've also chosen to start reading as well. I'm not reading during the class' free reading time yet, but I did make the conscious decision that if I'm going to ask the students to read regularly in Spanish, then I should as well. Already I can see improvement in my own reading. I am reading faster, and seeing clearer images of what is happening.


  1. I found my fluency improving when I switched to TPRS too. Before that my reading and writing skills were fair, but I froze up whenever required to speak. Partly it's just all the practice of talking all day, but partly due to helping my students with their FVR and adding words that we "need" into stories. Also, I've had students who picked a word as their favorite and the rest of the class and I received many, many reps of that word.

  2. The kid Iʻm tutoring in Spanish also has an erizo, named Spike...

  3. That's great. :) Actually, I wanted a pet erizo for a long time, but never got one. I love the name.


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