World language teachers at ACST were busy this past weekend because we had a consultant from the US visiting and facilitating some training for us. Blaine Ray is the inventor of a method called TPRS – Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. It was a fascinating workshop that challenged some of the more traditional methods of teaching and gave language teachers a lot of food for thought about how to motivate students and ensure that they are successful when learning a new language.
After a discussion on how language is acquired based on Dr Stephen Krashen’s theories, Blaine started the day teaching WL teachers some Mandarin through storytelling. He demonstrated the principles of TPRS by telling bizarre, personalised stories and using gesture and dramatization to engage students and keep them interested. The teachers were enthused and motivated by this novel method, and experimented with teaching French, Arabic, Spanish and German using their newly acquired story-telling strategies. Lots of lively and stimulating discussions were had and teachers left the workshop brimming with ideas on how to implement their new learning into language lessons.