We've been progressing slowly but surely, this student is a hard worker plus he doesn't have any other job now so he can put serious time into learning Chinese. But I've been worrying that I might lose him. Why? Because our classes were kinda boring. Pronunciation drill, vocabulary list, reading the text, moving on to the next lesson, lots of explanation in L1. Lots of work, not too much fun.
So today I decided to give him a different challenge. I just taught a couple of TPRS lessons before our session, so I wanted to give him a taste of something new. Without any warning or explanation, I just started to ask him questions in Chinese, using the words we just learned. I tried to do some circling with the grammar and vocabulary he has been working on for weeks. It was great to see how his mind started to work differently right away. He stopped looking at his notes, and his eyes were looking up - showing that he was searching for the answer inside instead of in the notes. We "played" like this for about 15 minutes around the end of his 90 minute session. His face lit up and he kept saying as we closed our session "this was great!". I felt good about it and even more so when about half an hour after our lesson ended, he wrote me a message saying again how excited he became by experiencing his own ability to use the language. I definitely need to incorporate more CI and more TPRS into my "regular" classes too as it just makes learning so much more fun and it gives students such an enormous feeling of success and competence.