TPRS AND CI TEACHER, AUTHOR AND PRESENTER
Adriana Ramírez is a Spanish teacher, author, and teacher trainer. She shares her knowledge and experience of more than 20 years in the classroom, by constantly training other teachers on how to teach with CI methodologies as well as how to incorporate anti-bias and anti-racist work in the language classroom. Adriana has trained teachers in Canada, the US and Europe. She also holds a double major in Psychology, a degree in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education.
Adriana has a big passion for sharing with the world the beauty of her country and her people. You can see this love through all her published novels. A big advocate of the #OwnVoices movement, Adriana strongly believes that those who come from traditionally oppressed and colonized countries and territories, must reclaim their right to tell their own stories and build their own narratives. Originally from Colombia, she actively works on recuperating the stories and the narrative that are part of her roots and her heritage.
You can find her on IG at @veganadri
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@learningthroughreading
How I teach
I teach first year Spanish (grade 9), second year Spanish (grade 10) and IB Spanish SL 11 and 12. From day one until, three years later, the day they write their IB Spanish exams, I teach only and exclusively using Comprehensible Input methods. I use a variety of strategies in my classes to provide comprehensible input to my students: I use TPRS, Storytelling, Movie Talk, Picture Talk, Personalized Questions, TPR, Novel Reading, FRV (Free Voluntary Reading), and scaffolded class discussions. Depending on the grade level, I use some things more than others, but one thing that is a constant in my classes is that I never, ever teach grammar explicitly.
We language teachers need to understand that second language acquisition is similar to first language acquisition. If we think about how we learned our first language, we realize that explicit grammar learning came after we had already fully acquired the language itself, never before. Our brains are built to decode and map languages in a particular way, not through grammar. When we teach grammar in our classes, students learn about the language, but not the language. Teaching grammar does not lead to language acquisition. If you are interested in learning more about this, I highly recommend that you read "WHILE WE ARE ON THE TOPIC" by Bill VanPatten.
So, everything I do in my classroom is an excuse to give my students more comprehensible input. We communicate in meaningful and unrehearsed ways 100% of the time. This is where you need to start feeling your gut and reading the energy of the class. For example, if you had planned 10 minutes of personalized questions, but the class is very engaged and the conversation is evolving, just go with the flow! As long as you are in the target language and continue to give them comprehensible input, you are facilitating their language acquisition. If a Movie Talk that was originally planned for 20 minutes is a hit with the class and you see that they are engaged and you can stretch it to 40 minutes, then go for it! In the end, that is what you want: engagement, attention, and comprehensible input in a meaningful way.
Why do I teach the way I teach?
- Because there is nothing more rewarding as a language teacher than to see in your students' eyes the joy of learning, understanding and being able to communicate in another language. I make them promise me that they won't study for my class. My promise to them is that if you come to class and actively pay attention and participate in the class dynamic, you will not have to study and you will do well. If they do their part and I do my part, going home and memorizing things is out of the equation.
- Because you get students who hate learning languages based on their past experiences and after a month in your class they tell you that actually Spanish is easy and they learned more in a month in your class than in a semester in a previous class.
- Because it is a different class, it is relaxing, it is fun, it builds community and success.
- Because it works. You can actually become proficient in the language in a relatively short period of time, without suffering, without memorizing endless lists of words and grammar rules, and without studying.
- Because you learn to feel the new language. You do not teach your students to think, but to feel the target language. They stop translating it and start feeling it.
- Because it makes me a happy teacher.
Please contact me directly for more detailed information or if you want to book a workshop email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I also post information about workshops, training and language classes on my Instagram: @veganadri