Thursday, November 15, 2012

TESOL FRANCE - Here I come!

I leave tomorrow morning for Paris on the TGV.  I'm going to present TPRS at the annual TESOL Conference in France.  Tesol means Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

I've decided not to try to do a Power point.  It would probably bug anyway.  I only have an hour, and I doubt that anyone has ever made the momentous decision of entirely changing the way they teach after an hour long talk. All I can do in an hour is spark their curiosity and point them towards online sites that can help them understand what TPRS is all about.

So I'm simply going to talk to the people who come to listen to me.  There are six or seven speakers at the same time, so the competition is going to be stiff.  I'm going to tell them a bit about me and my journey on the TPRS road.  I thought I would assign tasks, as I would in a TPRS class.  Ask someone to sketch scenes from my story, ask someone to count the number of times I say comprehensible input, assign barometers who are to signal when they don't understand.

And then I have this daring idea.  I wanted to demonstrate with my son Daniel.  He teaches Breton and I thought I could coach him through a lesson.  But he can't make it, and everyone present speaks English and French, the only languages I speak fluently.  I know, Carol Gaab learned enough Hebrew from her telephone answering machine to give her first workshop in Hebrew, but I'm not Carol Gaab.  So I'm going to look for someone in the audience who speaks a little known language, maybe even Breton, and coach them through some PQA with "He has".  I told Ben Slavic about my idea and he was too kind to say he thought I was crazy, but he did suggest that I just do it in English.

The problem is that everyone in the room will be an English teacher.  So I'm going to try.  

I've prepared a handout with TPRS sites and also some information about some of the people who practice TPRS in Europe.  There are more than I thought.

Sites to visit:
Blaine Ray – The founder of the movement is still active, giving workshops and mentoring.  He can always be picked out in a crowd.  He’s the guy in a shirt with palm trees and bright blue parrots. 

Stephen Krashen His work on Comprehensible Input is the solid foundation on which TPRS is built.

Susie Gross was one of the first to understand the importance of Blaine Ray’s techniques. Her “influence on the current massive change in foreign language education in the US cannot be overstated.”

Daily Kos - For an unbiased review of “the Green Bible.”

Laurie Clarq – An experienced teacher, workshop presenter and frequent participant in moretprs discussions, Laurie is always able to embrace two sides of an argument by seeing the hearts behind the words. She helped develop the recent innovation in reading called “Embedded Reading” which is explained on her site.

Ben Slavic – My guru – Ben has a way of saying things that resonates with me.  His book TPRS in a Year helped me to see how all the pieces fitted together. His web site has free resources and videos of him in class. For the price of a monthly cup of coffee, it’s possible to participate in his Professional Learning Community.  The books can be downloaded.

The American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages has taken the position that 90% of classroom speech should be in the target language and suggests that TPRS is an effective way to achieve this goal. *

Karen Rowan manages Fluency Fast, TPRS courses for adults and helps edit The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, which often carries articles by Stephen Krashen and other big names in the TPRS world.  You can find her at or . You can subscribe to the free online version of IJFLT at .

Carol Gaab is a spectacular demonstrator when she’s not publishing material for teachers, writing readers for students or traveling to workshops around the world.

Jason Fritz is another early member of the TPRS adventure.  He has taken the Reading in TPRS and made it something exciting which he calls Reading Theater. .  He founded the International Forum on Language Teaching which is at

Teri Wiechart is one of a group of TPRS teachers who have worked to improve coaching at conferences and in the classroom. You can contact her  to learn more about coaching at or .

Moretprs This is a yahoo group forum which began early in the millennium with a handful of teachers who were trying TPRS and wanted to exchange ideas.  There are now over 6000 followers and daily digests. Blaine Ray, Susie Gross, Karen Rowan, Stephen Krashen and many other well known names participate regularly in the discussions. Beginners often describe their difficulties and ask for advice. Here is where information is posted concerning workshops and National TPRS Conference.  Go to and register to follow the discussions. 

Great Britain  
Keith Rogers – a Latin and Ancient Greek teacher at Rochester Grammar School who uses TPRS and recently organised the first TPRS workshops (given by Blaine Ray) in the UK (see  which attracted 24 delegates. Keith has spoken on the principles of TPRS at various gatherings of Classical teachers (ROSA cluster group, Association of Latin Teachers Summer School, Joint Association of Classical Teachers INSET day, local feeder schools gathering, to student teachers on the King’s College teacher training course and at Septimana Latina  (in Latin!)).  He will be giving future talks to the Guildford Association of Classical Teachers and running an introduction to TPRS workshop at the Association of Latin Teachers summer school in 2013.
The Netherlands – Alike Last teaches French and does TPRS workshops for teachers.

Kirstin Plante and Iris Maas are both Spanish teachers, and the founders of TPRS Nederland, a teacher training company for TPRS. Kirstin owns a language institute near Amsterdam and teaches uniquely with TPRS. Iris works at a Hotel Management School and uses TPRS wherever and whenever she can. Together they give numerous workshops throughout the Netherlands and Europe, and they run a European webshop for TPRS materials.

General website: (Dutch)
Shop: (people in France can order here as well)
Facebook: (English and Dutch)
twitter: Kirstin Plante (English and Dutch)

Spain  - Ignacio Almandoz gives private lessons in English and in Spanish. He says, “After 4 years, I'm still excited about teaching with TPRS and learning through CI.  (I'm currently learning Russian, German, Portuguese and Italian) without studying the grammar or doing exercises in the traditional way. So I'm trying all these techniques and possibilities on myself. It helps me understand much better the teaching and learning process. My own students are making me a better teacher day after day.”  You can contact Ignacio by Skype at blueaspen or by e-mail at

Germany – Martin Anders teaches at Kaltenkirchen Waldorf School and has been using TPRS for four years.  His site is at 
He says, “I am absolutely convinced that TPRS will be able to improve our teachingmethods, add interest and fun to our lessons and to improve language acquisition which – up to now – is quite mediocre.”  
France Judith Logsdon-Dubois, professeur agrégé. I taught in a French lycée from 1995 to 2012.  Before that I taught English in French-speaking Cameroon.  I first heard of TPRS in 2006; I began using it the following year.  Once I saw how effective it was, I could never go back.  Today I give private lessons and train teachers. I have a poorly organized blog called Mrs. D's Funny Little Classroom -  To contact me: .


Charlotte said...

Best of Luck! This is what we need. I'm Charlotte from Germany and I have my pitch talk for language teachers in Bremen in February, but I have already done it once for my colleagues.
I hope you'll have plenty of motivated and open listeners, not the old critical type who get a heart attack when we say we'll only do 5% of grammar.

Mrs. Dubois said...

I'm back. I didn't have a big audience, about 20 people, though I handed out all 30 documents that I had prepared because some people couldn't make it but wanted a document. The people who came seemed attentive and interested. I would have given them at least a 4 on jGR. They asked good questions, I just wish we'd had more time to exchange. I started late because people didn't arrive on time and then went over and had to cut it off because another person wanted in the room. There were people from all over the world and only two of them had ever heard of TPRS before.