I am beginning at a new school this year with students who are not accustomed to TPRS/CI. In an effort to help students understand my definition of “communication” and demonstrate how my class will probably be different than Spanish classes they have taken in the past, I created the following examples. Both audio recordings are answers to the question, ¿Qué hiciste ayer? (What did you do yesterday?)
The first example is my wife speaking. She speaks for about a minute and a half about various things she did yesterday. Her speech is full of errors, but she expresses many ideas and gets out a lot of language.
The second example is of me speaking. I did my best to imitate a student who is thinking through every word. The language I use is near perfect, but I do not say much (I do not get out much language).
The question after hearing each is, Who communicated more? The answer, which may come as a surprise to students who have been trained to strive for nothing but accuracy, is that my wife did. She made mistakes, which need to be addressed and corrected, but she expressed so much more.
My hope is that students will see that my goal is for them to communicate, to get out as much language as possible and not to let the pursuit of accuracy hinder their communication.
* I realize that my examples are a bit exaggerated. It may be better to try with more subtle selections.
*I should also mention that Robin was reading from a typed script. Her Spanish is quite good when she’s not being forced to butcher it by her odd teacher-husband.