I Teach with TPRS to reach kids like this one. Just got this letter from a former student. She is a sweet, quiet sophomore that was in my Spanish 1 class last year and started in Spanish 2 class this year. She had to transfer to another school after only a month, but I asked her to stay in contact and keep us updated on her progress in Spanish at the new school. Here is the heartbreaking letter I got from her this morning:

Hello,

It’s ______. Sorry it has taken me so long to┬ámessage you.

My Spanish class now is honestly very difficult and way
different, in my opinon. We work a lot out of this big book and do activities
from it. When we first get introduced to our words, he has this slide show where
we write down the Spanish word and what it is in English. Then on the big
projector there are the pictures of the words and he points at them and we have
to do motions for each word, so kinda similar to what we did in your class on
that part.

We get like a load of words and have to know them by like the
following week. Our tests have a bunch of questions. My teacher is very
nice and he helps out a lot, but I have failed both of my tests that we have
taken already, and we just move on. So I really am not learning anything and my
grade just keeps dropping. Sometimes he speaks his Spanish too fast and I have
no idea what he is saying. I was going to continue to go into Spanish in my
Junior and Senior year, but this will be my last year. Although, we are now
starting to study Spanish speaking countries. I feel a ahead of the game,
because we did all that stuff last year, and because we worked on it a lot, I
actually do remember what we learned. I hope this will help me out with my
grade.

I hope all is well with you and the class. :)

 

I am impressed with her ability to both analyze the methods of her new teacher and with how she is expressing herself. This kid was good at Spanish in a TPRS class. She liked it, got good grades and planned on continuing on to the Spanish 4/AP level. She could have done it too. Now she is going to quit taking Spanish. She is in a program where the teacher seems to believe in studying written lists and immersion (What Jason Fritz calls submersion or waterboarding), with a bit of classic TPR thrown in on the side. Her fond feelings for her old TPRS class are there, plus she seems to remember the Geography of Latin America Unit, so that may help her.

This breaks my heart, but at the same time strengthens my resolve to teach to the eyes and soul of each kid in my classroom every day with true comprehensible input.

Stay strong, my friends.