Compelling Input

Why Persona Especial Interviews Work: The Way They Want to Be Known

Here is another reason I think the Special Person interviews work so well: they allow students to create the picture of themselves that they want us to see. Interviews let students paint themselves the way they want to be perceived, rather than the way they have been known up till now. When students volunteer information about themselves they have something to live up to and this becomes a building block of community in the classroom. The crucial, hidden storytelling skill that we develop in TPRS is a big part of this: No actor every looks bad in a story. Years [...]

Revised Songs for Spanish Class

Bryce's Songs for Spanish Class book has been revised and updated.  Introduction to the Revised Edition The songs in this book are timeless. They will not go out of style in a year or two so you will be able to sing these songs with your students for years to come. Many are standards that are well known throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Spanish speakers tend to sing in groups more than English speakers do and the rich heritage of group singing is not fading away in Hispanic culture as quickly as it is in the English. We can impart some [...]

By |2017-10-11T13:22:12-06:00August 9th, 2017|Categories: Books, Culture, Music|Tags: , |0 Comments


Students in my Spanish 3 classes are required to select and read a book every two weeks. The only criteria are that the book be interesting and comprehensible to them. After reading they write a reaction, usually in the form of a Light Reading Book Report (…/LIGHT-READING-BOOK-REPORTS3.… ). This week the contrast between two students in one class could not have been greater. I will explain below, but first these questions: • How could two novels with extremely different reading levels both be the right books for two students in the same class? • Could a teacher justify giving [...]

By |2017-10-11T13:22:12-06:00February 11th, 2017|Categories: Compelling Input, Light Reading, Reading, Weekly Routine|Tags: , |0 Comments


In my Spanish 1 classes last week students read a version of Hansel and Gretel written with high frequency vocabulary and drew stick figure drawings to show they understood the story. On Friday, for fun I drew this picture on the board (I colorized it this weekend) and asked the students to come up with sentences describing it. In some classes it was every kid that said a sentence or two, in others, just 5 or 6 students spoke up. These are the sentences they came said. You can get the Hansel and Gretel download here: 1. Hay una [...]


Why don’t foreign language teachers spend more time correcting the errors in students’ speech and writing?  Isn’t that what teachers are supposed to do?  Isn’t that our job, showing them where they are wrong? Well… No!  A language teacher’s job is to get the students to acquire the language, and that is done by supplying them with comprehensible input.  We use interesting, comprehensible, personalized language and then we let their brains sort it out.  When we do that, students acquire the language.  We do not need to correct them every time they make a mistake.  In fact, that kind of [...]

By |2017-10-11T13:22:12-06:00January 23rd, 2017|Categories: Acquisition, Error Correction, Hope|Tags: , |0 Comments


The main thing that some students learn in a foreign language class is that learning another language is just way too hard for them. They mainly learn that they stink at it. They think that becoming fluent is beyond them and that they will never get it. But they are wrong. All students can learn another language. They can learn if their teachers will skillfully ask series of questions that lead them to fluency. We need to believe in this goal and believe that there are good reasons for it and that there is a process to achieve it. It [...]