He went to Brittany and fell in love with a language, an ancient and beautiful language of Celtic mysteries and Gallic grace. He discovered that he could share his linguistic passion and his love of games with his students and began role-playing in Breton.
– There is a door. There is a big blue door. On the right there is a little yellow door. Which door do you open? Do you open it quickly or slowly?
– Behind the big blue door there is a tiger. It looks at you. Do you attack? Do you run away? Do you give it some meat? What do you do?
Then his mother started talking about something called TPRS. She talked and talked and he finally decided to go to the first Agen Workshop to see what she was talking about. He met Teri, who coached and encouraged him, Martin and David and Petra, Lynnette and Lori, who, like him, wanted to share their passion for a language with their students, who wanted to laugh with their students and Teach to the Eyes.
At the second Agen Workshop he taught two lessons of Breton, and people wanted more. So he taught more the following year and people were still asking for more. And he was having fun, laughing with his students and sharing his enthusiasm.
I have watched my son Daniel grow into TPRS and Comprehensible Input. Teri says he’s a natural, but I think he’s incapable of being anything but natural in front of his students. He has never tolerated hypocrisy, so when he looks at his students and speaks, they feel that he is a hundred per cent there, that he’s hanging on their answer, that he truly cares about what they have to say. No one taught him to Teach to the Eyes because he doesn’t know how to do it any other way.
He went to iFLT in Colorado and NTPRS in Chicago, saw many expert TPRSers at work and made a lot of friends. In Agen 2016 he met Stephen Krashen, Ben Slavic, Laurie Clarcq, Robert Harrell and Beniko Mason Nanki. He watched and listened and he learned and he adapted what he observed to his own personality, to his own language, to his own students. He returned to Brittany and taught Breton and English, as well as French on Skype, gaining professional experience without losing the twinkle of adventure in his eye.
Today I want to salute Daniel and tell him how much I admire his tenacity, his sincerity and the way he has grown into a vital member of the Agen Workshop team. Every time I see him teach, I remember that it’s all about having fun with your students, nothing more, nothing less.
I’d like to finish with a note that Daniel wrote to Ben Slavic:
I’ll just paraphrase on what you wrote Ben. Your post rings a mighty bell because that’s exactly what I feel like when I’m in my classroom (universe). We efficiently understand (comprehend) something because we’re interested in it. When we’re in the process of learning something from someone, we learn best from someone we have a personal (special) relationship with, someone who has showed us that we were the most important people in the world and someone who really meant it doing so. The classroom of a language teacher (I personally prefer the term ‘a language transmitter’) has to be that special place where you feel like you belong to a community. And I do transmit (teach) the language having in mind that I’m willing to create a bridge between people, between me and the people I’m dealing with. That’s my focus and that’s how I define my own ACTFL (we do have similar nonsense classifications in France) proficiency scale : LET’S CREATE A BRIDGE WE CAN ALL WALK ON TO GET TOGETHER. LET’S COMMUNICATE