Jun 17, 2008

translation convert

When I first started looking at TPRS oh these long months ago... (February) I was what Ben termed a "purist" I allowed no translation whatsoever in my room. Dictionaries were forbidden, and everything was done in the TL.

I taught with pure TPR, so I established meaning through actions, pictures, realia, etc. Blaine Ray was presenting in my state at our spring conference, so I went. I was not impressed. (Sorry Blaine!) The part that I could not get over was the use of translation. This went against everything I believed about language acquisition.

My beliefs centered around the acquisition of L1 as babies, and we do not have translations then, so I wasn't giving any in my class either.

Fast forward to yesterday and today. I'm in the middle of a 3 day workshop being presented by Von Ray and Karen Rowan. We had a story presented in Bulgarian yesterday. And today, we read a story in German. I don't speak either language. And yet, with the translated terms we were able to quickly progress into a story. I easily understood the questions, and with enough circling (another aha! moment) I actually stopped looking at the translations and was able to leave that crutch behind. And, although we only translated one paragraph of the story, I was able to later read the other two paragraphs of the story on my own, because the meanings had been well-established. So, I can say confidently that I am a convert now. And thank you Von for your patience with my many questions.

1 comment:

  1. TPRS is extremely similar to early 20th century methods of teaching a foreign language, which were commonly:

    -The teacher reads a passage in a foreign language.

    -The teacher helps the students with the vocab.

    -The students translate.

    -The students read the passage aloud in L2 and translate orally into L1. The first is choral.

    -The students read the passage again, orally.

    -The students copy the passage at home or take dictation.

    -The students learn specific aspects of grammar and usage in the text and participate in oral drills, usually questions and answers about the reading that make used of the grammar and vocabulary just learned.

    -The students read the passage again.

    Lots of work with one passage, but textbooks were much slimmer then.


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