NTPRS13 – Tuesday the 23rd of July – day 2


Von verifying a detail with Linda

Today I went to the workshop of Von and Blaine, ‘Verifying and dramatizing‘. This new feature of TPRS I missed last year, because Bryce Hedstrom and I were doing at the same moment the Going Slowly workshop. So I was really curious how and what ‘Verifying and dramatizing’ is, because I heard many positive things about it, also from my roommate Michelle Kindt (one of the coaches and she is the coach who is working together with Von and Blaine in ‘Verifying and dramatizing’). Last week she worked for three days with Blaine in a workshop and there he used German and although Michelle never practiced speaking German in this workshop herself, she nevertheless knew it all afterwards and she was amazed and even admitted she had been skeptical about this feature of having the actors giving output so early in the process, but it turned out to be very benificial.


Linda verifying a detail with Zach

Von started with an explanation how to work with actors and how you talk to them and verify details with them and then ask questions to the class about what they just heard about the actor. E.g. Teacher: Are you a girl? Actor: Yes, I am a girl. You ask the class for new details about the actor, because the collective knows more than the individual, so personalization goes through the class and not the actor. Von also said: Comprehension is the tip of the iceberg and the goal is speaking with confidence. The idea is new for us TPRS teachers to insist on production.

After talking for a while with class and actors you add another character and you start doing the same things as you did with the first actor, but you also start comparing them to the class.

Blaine: “Dialogue is so powerful! Don’t circle dialogue, move from the dialogue to the class.”

Von: “Working with actors and having dialogues between teacher and actors gives maximum visibility and it’s very entertaining.”

After the theoretical explanation and Von’s German demo (and later Blaine’s German demo) we practiced several times in small groups of three, where one of us was the teacher, one was ‘the class’ and one was the actor and later the actors (the hand was the other actor and ‘talked’. We switched roles about every 10 minutes in order that everyone could practice as much as possible. Tomorrow I’m going to practice it again in the coaching workshop. I think it’s a very interesting skill and I never knew very well what to do with the actors and with dialogues, but this really made it clear!


A Wordle of ‘Agentes secretos’ by Mira Canion

After lunch and the second part of our ‘Verifying and dramatizing workshop’ I went the session of Mira Canion ‘Reading strategies and materials’. She wrote several Spanish and French novels which contain tons of cultural aspects. She has many wonderful ideas how to make students want to read books, by making them curious to the subject. You can find Mira’s downloads at the resources page at her site ‘Mira Canion’.

Mira has so many good ideas about reading and she can think so well on her feet that it’s a great pleasure to be in her session. I’m already looking forward to Mira’s contribution to the open mic night!


Other teachers writing about NTPRS 2013:

Michael Miller : http://www.charoylee.com/Charo_y_Lee/NTPRS_2013/NTPRS_2013.html

Bess : http://mmehayles.blogspot.com/

Haiyun : She writes detailed reflections on the workshops she has attended.
1. on Coaching for Coaches:

2. on verifying details with Blaine and Von.


Another overview of the blogs above by Dick Detwiler: http://moretprs.wikispaces.com/NTPRS+2013

NTPRS13 – Monday 22nd of July – the first day

IMG_0931NTPRS 2013 started this morning! There were some technical problems and so we started a bit later. It was great to be there together again and to listen to Blaine and to Lisa’s enthousiastic openingwords. Lisa o.a. introduced the workshop presenters and the coaches. At the end they showed us the countries where all the participants come from and Lisa said it should in fact become an ITPRS in future. From Europe there were participants from Germany, the Netherlands and from Spain.

IMG_1001The first workshop I went to was the workshop of Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido : “Thinking on your feet”. They are a good team and always have higly interesting and inspiring workshops which are very well structured and have a good pacing and they are ‘compelling’ and they teach what they preach: “the brain craves novelty” and that’s what they take care of, not only in their lessons but also in their workshops. Carol calls the pacing something like “ebb and flow”, but I always call it “breathing in and out”. A lesson need variation between acitivity and rest.

This year the beginners learn how to TPRS and in the meantime they learn Russian from Katya Paukova and Donna Tatum. The advanced workshops are this year on three mornings instead of the four of last year, which I think is a pity, because now I have to choose between two workshops which I’d like to do both, but if it had been four days, I could have done both… New is also that the workshops take all morning and a part of the afternoon, which gave us more time to practice also ourselves. I liked it very much we had to discuss in Carol’s and Kristy’s wokshop in small groups which structures we would use for movie talk with a very funny film about a lady how is flirting with guys in a lunchcorner and how we would make a lesson out of it. This kind of thing we should do more often!

IMG_0971TPRS thrives on problems and today we started with a technical problem and during the lunch we had a problem of another order: our keynote speaker Dr Stephen Krashen had forgotten he had to take the airplane to go to Dallas… But now technics came to our help and we could follow his speech in the big room where we were having lunch, because he was sitting behind a webcam and we could see his face bigger than life on three big screens. Nevertheless, technics was not infallible. The sound was not too good, so unfortunately it was difficult to understand his speech very well…

IMG_1016After the teabreak I went to Contee’s workshop about TPR and he talked about some theoretical concepts and also did TPR with us and had Charlotte Dincher do TPR in German. We flew to the park and to Best Buy. Contee also showed the three ring circus of Berty Segal. She did a workshop about it at iFLT and you can find the hand-out at the TPRS Publishing website in the free download section – see the 3. Wed-Fri workshops – page 21 up to and including page 30.

After the sessions we could go to the coaching sessions, but Charlotte and I helped Contee to set up his table in the exhibitors room, so tomorrow I’ll go to the coaching room! There is also at least one self-coaching group that’s even coaching themselves in the evening! How about being enthousiastic!


NTPRS13 – preconference coaching-for-coaches workshop

Kristin en Michele als docent en coach

Kristin as a teacher and Michele as a coach of the coach

Today was the preconference coaching for coaches workshop. We were with a nice group and had lots of coaches. The coaches will also be coaching during NTPRS, so we were also a bit the guinea pigs for the coaches. But they also had to learn us how to coach. So it had many layers.

Lizette Liebold and Teri Wiechart organised the coaching for coaches session and they both did the introduction and then we quickly split up in homogenous language groups. So I was in the French group with Sabrina (French but living in the US), like Bernard (who was also in our group), Kristin from Canada, Joyce from the Netherlands, like me and our coaches were Michele Kindt and Janet Holzer, both French teachers in the US. There were also a Spanish teachers group, an English one and a Mandarin group.

NTPRS13_coaching_stationsDuring NTPRS the coaching will be organized in a new way and our workshop was a reflection of it.  There will be four possible coaching stations, with four different levels of mastering of TPRS skills and the stations have four different colours:
blue = novice skill A : “preparing for the journey”
orange = novice skill B : “taking the first steps”
green = apprentice skill C : “movin’ on down the road”
pink = expert skill : “overcoming personal roadblocks and detours”

After the introduction and features of coaching, all of the groups practiced four times, and each time it had to do with one of these stations.

Each part consisted of:

  1. demo and explanation of skill in a large group
  2. work in small coaching group with coaches learning how to coach the skill
  3. debrief in large group – tips for coaching it

IMG_0916At the end there were some final thoughts and questions. I think it was a very interesting workshop and I also see that with TPRS we are still developing things to make it more clear and to help teachers to use it with more ease and we’re all searching how to do it, because for a lot of people it’s not so obvious what to do.

Because TPRS is a skill, it needs practice, preferably in a real life situation. Those situations are reflected in the coaching sessions. A very important thing about the coaching is, that the teachers needs to feel  safe! So the mission statement of the NTPRS coaches has to do with that. See the picture on the left.

During our teabreak we registered for NTPRS13 and we received our programm, which will start tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock with an opening session.

After our workshop there were still rows of people who were registering and I saw a young woman and I thougt it could be Charlotte Dincher from Germany and I watched her nametag and yes! it was her! I wrote about her (in Dutch) on the blogpost of April 30 2013 . She started TPRS Germany. It was nice to finally meet after our emails. We talked for a while and we already wrote each other before, that it was a strange thought that our countries are neighbours and that we would meet so far away from them!