Top 10 Lists…

To commemorate 100 posts published on Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language, here are some Top 10 (and 15) Lists. In other news, I’ll be taking some time off from publishing these posts every Tuesday. Click here if you care to contribute opinions, comments and feedback regarding the future of this blog on a survey.

Top 10 Most Shared Posts:

  1. How To Avoid “Freaking Out” Novice L2 Learners When Staying In The Target Language
  2. How Not (I Repeat: NOT) To Assess The Progress Of L2 Students In A 90+% Target Language Classroom
  3. Debunking 5 “Teaching In The Target Language Myths”
  4. Debunking 5 MORE “Teaching In The Target Language Myths”
  5. A Common Teaching In The Target Language Mistake
  6. No Duct-Taping L2 Fruit On The Foreign Language Proficiency Tree
  7. Management Strategies For The 90+% Target Language Classroom: Increase Student Motivation
  8. My Favorite Activity For Interpersonal Mode (With Links To Handouts)
  9. “They Look At Me Weird” – Dealing With The Awkwardness Of Using L2
  10. 37 Links To Online Resources For “Teaching In The Target Language”

Top 15 Most Helpful Posts For Teachers Who Want To Start Teaching In The Target Language

  1. The First Week Of Staying In The Target Language With Your Students
  2. Q/A: What To Do On The First Week Of Class & When To Use L1
  3. What To Say In The Target Language On The First Day Of Class – Novice L2 Learners
  4. How To Manage Student Behavior & Stay In The Target Language: Increase Motivation
  5. Introduce New Vocabulary AND Stay In The Target Language (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  6. Step By Step Guide For Teaching Grammar In The Target Language (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8)
  7. Assessing A Student’s Progress In A “90+% Target Language Use” Classroom
  8. Turning Tedious Tasks Into Teaching In The Target Language Triumphs
  9. When District Expectations Make It Hard To Teach In The Target Language
  10. 90+% Target Language Use: How To Respond To Administrative Pushback
  11. Dos and Don’ts For Handouts In The 90+% Target Language Classroom
  12. Effective Routines For Upper Elementary L2 Learners
  13. Effective Routines For Lower Elementary L2 Learners
  14. Overcoming The Obstacles To Making Input Comprehensible
  15. How My Walls Help Me Stay In The Target Language

Top 10 Posts To Read If Your Students Resist Instruction In The Target Language:

  1. How To Avoid “Freaking Out” Novice L2 Learners When Staying In The Target Language
  2. “My Students Don’t Feel Comfortable When I Spend Long Amounts Of Time Teaching In The Target Language.”
  3. “Ahhh! How Am I Supposed To Give Activity Directions In The Target Language”
  4. My First Successful “Staying In The TL” Lesson
  5. Interpretive Mode – Build A Reluctant Student’s Confidence
  6. Making The Interpersonal Mode As Easy As Possible For Novice Learners (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
  7. ClassDojo.com & Teaching In The Target Language
  8. “They Look At Me Weird” – Dealing With The Awkwardness Of Using L2
  9. My “Staying In The Target Language” Story/Journey (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
  10. Helping Students NOT Feel Dumb/Stupid/Embarrassed

Top 15 Most Practical Posts:

  1. Step By Step Guide For Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: “To Have” & “To Want” Verbs
  2. Step By Step Guide For Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Introducing “To NOT Want”
  3. Step By Step Guide For Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching How Change In Quantity Affects The L2 Sentence
  4. Step By Step Guide For Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: “To Eat” Future Tense
  5. Step By Step Guide For Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: “To Eat” Past Tense
  6. Step By Step Guide For Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: “To Listen” & “To Like” Verbs
  7. Step By Step Guide For Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: “To Go” Future, Past & Present Tense
  8. Using Your Hands During Interpersonal Mode Instruction
  9. My Favorite Activity For Interpersonal Mode (With Links To Handouts)
  10. Blindfolded – 5 Tips For Using A Blindfold In Your Foreign Language Classroom
  11. Lionel Messi & A Quick Tip For Staying In The Target Language
  12. Quick Tips: 4 Ideas For Getting Your Students To Use The Target Language
  13. Quick Pics Tip: How To Mention “Happy New Year” With Novice L2 Learners
  14. Technology To Help You Teach In the Target Language: EDpuzzle
  15. You Gotta See This Resource From Post-Primary Languages Initiative

Top 8 Most Reflective/Thoughtful Posts:

  1. How Not (I Repeat: NOT) To Assess The Progress  Of L2 Students In A 90+% Target Language Classroom
  2. Bad Oatmeal & A Simple, Sort Explanation Of How To Stay In The Target Language With Novice Students
  3. What I Learned About Comprehensible Input From My Crawling Infants
  4. The Vocab List Analogy
  5. No Duct-Taping L2 Fruit On The Foreign Language Proficiency Tree
  6. Language To Language OR Language To Living
  7. Being In Diapers And Staying In The Target Language
  8. “They Look At Me Weird” – Dealing With The Awkwardness Of Using L2

Top 10 Nerdiest Posts

  1. Why Do I “Use Fewer Words?” …Input Has Quantitative Qualities
  2. “Why Aren’t They Getting This?” – Input: Multiple Forms & ICI
  3. Forms Of Input – Linguistic & Extralinguistic
  4. Forms Of Input – Representational Input
  5. Forms Of Input – Gesticulated Input
  6. Forms Of Input – Constructed Situational Input
  7. Forms Of Input – Incidental Situational Input
  8. Forms Of Input – Inflectional Input
  9. The Key: “Pairing”
  10. Overcoming The Obstacles To Making Input Comprehensible

Top 10 Posts With Video Demonstrations:

  1. What To Say In The Target Language On The First Day Of Class – Novice L2 Learners
  2. Video Recording: 1st Graders Learning Days Of The Week & Colors In The Target Language
  3. Video Recording: 5th Graders Learning “To Be” Verb Conjugations In The Target Language
  4. Video Recording – Comprehensible L2 Immersion Environment
  5. Senor Howard’s Video & Why He Does What He Does (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  6. Introduce New Vocabulary AND Stay In The Target Language (“i+1)
  7. Making The Interpersonal Mode As Easy As Possible For Novice Learners
  8. Demo Lesson On Video: Cinco De Mayo
  9. Demo Lesson On Video: 2014 World Cup
  10. You Gotta See This Resource From Post-Primary Languages Initiative

Thanks for reading!

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

Technology To Help You Teach In The Target Language: EDpuzzle

If you don’t use it yet, YOU SHOULD! It’s that good and it can help you stay in the target language with your students.

EDpuzzle: “The easiest way to engage your students with videos.”

edpuzzle

Here’s how you can use it in your language classroom.

  • Find a video using EDpuzzle’s search engine that gives you access to videos from many different video streaming services. Pick something fun, relevant and that’s at an appropriate linguistic level.
  • A powerful and easy-to-use tool allows you to trim it down so students are only watching the section/portion you want them to see.
  • Make it interactive by adding your own questions/annotations for your students to answer. You can even add your own voice to the video.
  • Automatically collect assessment data based on student responses to true/false, multiple choice and/or open-ended questions.

Learn how easy and helpful it is by clicking here.


 

See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

 

Quick Tips: 4 Ideas For Getting Students To Use The Target Language

  1. Opening the classroom window on a very cold day.
  2. Being the only one eating a delicious cupcake/candy bar in front of the students.
  3. Starting the lesson while wearing only one shoe.
  4. Intentionally making an obvious mistake in front of the students.

Doing this creates situations in which generally everyone wants to say the same thing. It gives students something that they’d like to say, and the only thing the teacher has to do is give them the L2 words. (See this blog post for more information on leveraging *Constructed Situational Input.)

1- Open window: Students start to shiver and bring their extremities closer to their core. They look around to confirm that others are noticing that the temperature in the room is unreasonably cold. Some start gesturing for the window to be closed. When all students are bursting with a desire to say, “Teacher, it’s cold! Close the window!” use the Two-Hand Method to help them say it in L2.

2- Teacher eats the treat: Students start salivating. Their eyes get big. Their expressions start saying, “Hey! This is not fair. Why do YOU get to eat in class and why are you NOT sharing your delicious treat with us!?” When the time is right, and all students want to eat your treat, write some L2 phrases/sentences on the board to help them say some of the following phrases in L2:

  • “I want some!”
  • “How about me!? Can I eat some!?”
  • “That’s not fair! I want some!”

3- Only one shoe: Students raise their eyebrows and think, “This teacher is a lunatic! Why in the world is he wearing only one shoe!?” When the entire class has noticed, give them the L2 words to say things like:

  • “Teacher! Look! Your shoe!”
  • “You are only wearing one shoe!”
  • “That smells bad!”

4- Making an obvious mistake: Who doesn’t like correcting their teacher? Help your students participate in a conversation that’s led like this:

  • “Oh, I’m NOT right? Oh. Okay, so this pencil is NOT my pencil? This pencil is YOUR pencil? Oh okay. I’m sorry. This pencil is NOT my pencil, this pencil is YOUR pencil. Thank you.”

Note #1: Within a formal academic program, scenarios like these should not take the place of curriculum goals and daily performance objectives. They should be additional enrichment pieces provided when time allows.

Note #2: These scenarios increase a student’s internal motivation to speak. There are many other ways to increase both internal and external motivations to speak. Click here and here for other blog posts on this topic.


*Disclaimer: This term is my own and I’m using it for the purpose of reflecting on my own foreign language teaching practice.  The reader should not assume that it’s the term found in formal, academic writing.

See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

 

Quick Pics Tip: How To Mention “Happy New Year!” With Novice L2 Learners

Here’s a quick tip on how to use L2 to mention the new year with novice learners.

Write or post this on the board:

Picture of 2015

After the students give you a weird look and shake their heads, “NO” (because they’ve just returned to school after all of their “Happy 2016” celebrations at home) write the L2 for the following on the board:

It's not 2015

Have the students say, “Mr./Ms. …it’s not 2015!” (using the Two Hand Method if you need to).

Add the L2 word for “December…”

December

…and, after they role their eyes and react, add the verb.

It's not December

Let the students repeat the L2 sentences out loud.

Add the following, using a gesture to *PAIR something meaningful with the L2 word for ‘crazy.’

You are crazy

Have fun letting the students call you crazy.

Then bring it all together by adding the following a piece at a time:

2016It's 2016Happy New YearAt this point, it might be a good idea to show the students a short video clip of some native L2 speakers celebrating the new year.



Happy New Year from Sr. Howard and Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language!

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).


*Disclaimer: This term is my own and I’m using it for the purpose of reflecting on my own foreign language teaching practice.  The reader should not assume that it’s the term found in formal, academic writing.

Defining A Key Term: *Vague Pair Elimination

A carpenter needs to be good at using a hammer. It’s one of her essential tools.

A teacher, who stays in the target language, needs to be good at *VAGUE PAIR ELIMINATION. It’s one of his essential tools.

What is *VAGUE PAIR ELIMINATION?

Answer: It’s saying, suggesting or showing what an L2 word/phrase DOESN’T mean so that it’s meaning can become precisely clear.

Here’s a simple example:

Suppose I’m trying to help students make sense of the L2 word for “blue” by holding up a blue crayon. Students might misinterpret the meaning and think,

“is he teaching us the word for, ‘crayon,’ or is he teaching us the word for, ‘blue,’ or is he telling us that we’re about to do a coloring activity?”

The *PAIR is vague. Anticipating the VAGUE PAIR, a teacher could do something similar to what you see below in order to ELIMINATE THE VAGUE PAIRS:

“Students, this isn’t blue.”

purple

“This isn’t blue.”

red

“This isn’t blue.”

yellow

“THIS IIIISSSSSSS BLUE!”

blue azul

VAGUE PAIR ELIMINATION is important because *PAIRING, in a #TL90plus foreign language classroom, can sometimes feel a bit like playing the 20 Questions Game. At the beginning of the game, when whoever’s ‘it’ says, “I’m thinking of a person, place or thing,” the participants feel like, “wow, that doesn’t help much! It could be anything!” It’s the same feeling a student gets when a teacher writes an incomprehensible piece (word or phrase) of L2 on the board. Students think, “It could mean anything!” One of the best/fastest ways to get a student to *PAIR the piece of L2 with something meaningful is by showing what it doesn’t mean. For now, for the purposes of this blog, I’m referring to this process as VAGUE PAIR ELIMINATION.

(Note: For the sake of defining the term, I’ve provided an example that is very overt. At times, this type of intentional explanation is needed in a foreign language classroom. However, it’s ideal if a teacher can eliminate vague pairs in ways that feel, to a student, less like formal instruction and more natural. For examples, feel free to click on any of the links below. Each contains scripted lesson plans demonstrating how L2 grammar does not need to be taught with overt metalinguistic explanations.

Teaching Grammar While Staying In The Target Language.


*Disclaimer: This term is my own and I’m using it for the purpose of reflecting on my own foreign language teaching practice.  The reader should not assume that it’s the term found in formal, academic writing.

See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

Lionel Messi & A Quick Tip For Staying In The Target Language

A student came into my class wearing a Lionel Messi shirt today.

lionel messi shirt

It was a great chance for me to make incomprehensible L2 meaningful for my novice students. Here’s what I did:

I wrote the following sentences on the board in the target language. (Note: The words in bold were incomprehensible L2 words for my students.)

Lionel Messi…

  • is not from Philadelphia.
  • is not from Mexico.
  • is not from Puerto Rico.
  • IS from Argentina.

Lionel Messi…

  • does not play baseball.
  • does not play American Football.
  • DOES play football/soccer.

The students understood everything that I was communicating.

Why?

1- I leveraged **Constructed Situational Input – As soon as I said Lionel Messi (and wrote the sentences on the board) I constructed a situation in which everyone knew what I was talking about. (**See this post for an explanation of how this works.)

2- I paired comprehensible L2 with incomprehensible L2 to help make it meaningful. My students knew the L2 nouns but NOT the L2 verbs. I made the meaning of the L2 verbs very obvious by using *VAGUE PAIR ELIMINATION. (*See point #5 in this post for a definition.)

Simple, right?

Have fun staying in the target language! It helps to avoid duct-taping L2 fruit on the foreign language proficiency tree!

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

You Gotta See This Resource From Post-Primary Languages Initiative

I found a wonderful staying in the target language resource, thanks to @MrGWallCymraeg.

It’s SO well done and full of SUCH great tips that it deserves more than a retweet. So here’s a short blog post to tell you what I liked about it.

LI_logo

Post-Primary Languages Initiative (languagesinitiative.ie) recently put out an online tutorial for teachers who are interested in increasing their use of L2. (Click here to access the tutorial.)

  • It’s interactive. (You get to push buttons and see results of self-evaluations!)
  • It has great, short video clips of teachers modeling strategies in their own classrooms.
  • It’s thorough/comprehensive and has lots of implementable tips.
  • It has self-reflection exercises and let’s teachers to print out results for future reference.
  • It includes a wonderful quote from Dr. Helena Curtain, which provides a great rationale for staying in the target language.
  • and more!

Finally, if you don’t have time to complete the module at one time, you can access it at your own pace. It’s a wonderful, attractive, professionally-done resource that’s definitely worth using and sharing.

Thank you @languages_ie!

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

Blindfolded – 5 Tips For Using A Blindfold In Your Foreign Language Classroom

Use a blindfold.

It makes activities a bit more fun!

learning activities with blindfolds

Try these ideas:

1- Describe the “mystery classmate.” While students are able to see, have them look carefully at what each classmate is wearing. To help students recall previously acquired L2 vocabulary, Teacher can choose to walk around the classroom using L2 phrases and sentences like these: “Boys and girls, notice that Jack is wearing a purple shirt and that his shoes are brown. And remember Jack’s hair color. His hair is brown but Josiah’s hair is black.” Etc.

Pick 3 volunteers. Student #1 will be blindfolded. Student #2 will be the “mystery classmate.” Student #3 will need to use L2 phrases/sentences to describe the mystery classmate to Student #1. Student #1 (the blindfolded volunteer) must guess who the “mystery classmate” is based on the description.

2- Build a puzzle. Put a blindfold on yourself and pretend like you’re having a difficult time getting the pieces in the right spot. With older students, use a document camera so they can see from their seats. With younger students, have them sit in a circle so they can watch what you’re doing.

animals puzzle

numbers puzzle

As you struggle with the zoo animals puzzle, say L2 words/phrases like, “Okay…ummm…zebra? No, not a zebra. Elephant? An elephant? No. Not an elephant.” (Touch the long neck on the giraffe piece.) “Hmmm. Long neck. Oh…oh! Giraffe…a giraffe! Yes. Okay.” (Start feeling the empty spaces to figure out where the giraffe piece goes.) “Here. Yes, here. The giraffe goes here.” In order to get students talking, ask L2 questions like, “does the giraffe go here or does the giraffe go here?” or “Hmm. Where does the giraffe go? Here? No? Here? No? WHERE!? Where does it go!?”

3- Organize items. With your eyes uncovered, show students a set of items (i.e. a set of classroom objects, a set of food items, clothing, toiletries…etc). Show pictures of the same items. Put the set of items in a box and cover your eyes with the blindfold. Lay out the pictures of the corresponding items while saying things like, “Okay…this picture…hmmm…what’s in this picture? Is this a picture of a carrot or is this a picture of a banana?” (Students answer.) “Okay, thanks. The picture of the carrot goes here. And what’s in this picture?” (Students answer.) “Okay the picture of the banana goes here.” Finish laying out the pictures and say, “Okay…the picture of the carrot is here and the picture of the banana is here and the picture of the orange is here and the picture of the tomato is here. Great.” Now reach for the box of the corresponding items while still blindfolded. Take out an item and say L2 sentences like, “Okay…umm…this is NOT a banana, this is NOT a tomato…this is DEFINITELY an orange.” Place the orange on top of the picture of the orange. Have fun making intentional mistakes. Put the orange in the wrong place. Students will want to correct you using the L2 sentences you’ve just finished modeling. For students that need extra help, have the target sentences posted nearby for reference.

4- Order sequence words. (i.e. months of the year, days of the week, L2 numbers by 10s to 100 or by 100s to 1,000.) Blindfold yourself, mix up the target vocabulary flashcards, and post them in random order on the board. Use L2 sentences to ask the students what’s written on each flashcard. Elicit their verbal instructions to help you successfully sequence the target vocabulary.

5- What changed? (Hint: This won’t work so well with novice students.) Pick Student #1 to stand in front of the class. Pick Student #2 to be blindfolded. While Student #2 CAN’T see, Student #1 will have to change ONE THING. (i.e. put his wrist watch on the other hand, button the top button of his shirt, untie one of her shoes, take one earring out…etc) Once STUDENT #1 has changed one thing, Student #2 must take off the blindfold and use L2 phrases and sentences to guess what changed.


 See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

Bad Oatmeal & A Simple, Short Explanation Of How To Stay In The Target Language With Novice Students

My 3-year-old didn’t know how to say, “DIS-gusting,” so she said, “Daddy, this is EX-gusting!”

My recipe must have been a failure because, before she even took a bite, she was telling me the food was gross.

“C’mon!” I thought. “I stayed up late last night getting this apple-cinnamon-steel-cut-oat deliciousness ready for you! You should at least try it!”

Recently, I’ve been feeling bad that all we serve our daughters for breakfast is cold cereal with milk. So I decided to take it upon myself to wake up earlier and put more interesting food on the table every morning. But I HATE waking up early! So when I saw a recipe for overnight steel cut oats in the crock-pot, I felt like I hit the jackpot. Yes. Everything was going well until I realized that “overnight” meant a cook time of 6-7 hours. I got a little angry at the recipe. “Huh!?! You’re telling me that if I want to serve breakfast at 7am, I will have to stay up until midnight or 1am in order to NOT overcook the breakfast!?” I couldn’t believe it! What a rip-off!! It is SOOO not worth staying up that late just to get some breakfast on the table! “But,” I thought, “since I bought all the ingredients, I should just go through with my plan…just this once.” My wife went to bed (at a normal time) and I stayed up watching MinutePhysics videos to pass the time.

The whole experience was irksome to me. I was tired the whole next day and my daughters didn’t even like what I made. Perhaps the only good thing that came out of this ordeal was a quote I heard on one of the MinutePhysics videos:

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” -Rutherford via Einstein?

The quote made me want to explain, in a simple and succinct way, how I stay in the target language with novice learners. So here it is:

To effectively stay in the target language, some say to support L2 use with visual aids and gestures. With novice learners, I flip it around. I mostly communicate using visual aids, gestures and other forms of extralinguistic input. Then, at strategic times and in measured amounts, I sprinkle in L2 words, phrases and sentences. The pieces of incomprehensible L2 become increasingly meaningful, and eventually comprehensible, as I repeatedly *PAIR them with equivalent extralinguistic forms of input. As a student’s proficiency level increases, the need for extralinguistic support decreases. Incomprehensible pieces of L2 can now be made meaningful by *pairing them with comprehensible pieces of L2.

In case you’re a first time visitor to this blog, here are some links for further reading, practical tips and model lessons. (Readers should also know that this isn’t the best way (or the only way) that a language should be taught. (TEACHING IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE MYTHS) This blog is meant to offer springboard ideas to help foreign language teachers jump into more brilliant ideas of their own that work better within their specific academic contexts.)


*Disclaimer: This term is my own and I’m using it for the purpose of reflecting on my own foreign language teaching practice.  The reader should not assume that it’s the term found in formal, academic writing.

 See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

Helping Students NOT Feel Dumb/Stupid/Embarrassed & Tips On Teaching Grammar

(*See suggestions/scripts below for using this idea to practice a variety of L2 grammar structures with older and/or more proficient L2 speakers.)


Today I gave each student a bunny…teaching a foreign language

…and I asked them to put it in the right color cup.

foreign language teaching colorsThe problem was that many of the students didn’t know all of their L2 colors yet. …and some of them felt embarrassed if they didn’t know what color cup to choose.

(Side note: I hate it when students feel embarrassed. Shame is such a powerful, action-altering, confidence-smashing emotion and I try to do everything possible to avoid situations in which my students feel shame. (Click here for a post my wife wrote on shame and its effect.) However, sometimes it’s hard to avoid. If a student gets a question wrong or makes a mistake, even though I AM not upset at him, he might feel very upset with himself or very embarrassed in front of his peers. Even if I give the biggest/warmest of smiles when I say, “Robert, you’re wrong,” …wrong is still wrong. And wrong can be embarrassing. And no student likes getting clues because they are too STUPID to know the correct answer immediately.)

So I tried something new today.

I put some classroom objects (L2 vocabulary from the previous unit) next to the colored cups.

foreign language teaching colorsIf the student looked unsure when I said the L2 color, I would quickly say the L2 word for the corresponding classroom object.

My strategy worked well. I didn’t notice very many students feeling embarrassed and I actually sensed that some of them felt empowered. It also helped me introduce new vocabulary AND review old vocabulary at the same time.


(*Suggestions for how this activity can be modified to challenge students with more advanced L2 skills.)

Past tense L2 grammar structures –

Say things like, “Robert, here’s your bunny. Isabel put her bunny in the orange cup. Aiden put his bunny in the green cup. Rachel and Maria put their bunnies in the black cup. You…you put your bunny in the yellow cup.”

Grammar structures for L2 commands –

Say things like, “Robert, here’s your bunny. DON’T PUT the bunny in the orange cup. DON’T PUT the bunny in the green cup. PUT the bunny in the yellow cup.”

Subjunctive grammar structures –

Say things like, “Robert, here’s your bunny. I don’t want you to put the bunny in the orange cup. I wanted Isabel to put the bunny in the orange cup. I wanted Aiden to put the bunny in the orange cup. But not you. I don’t want you to put it in the orange cup. I want you to put the bunny in the green cup.

Future tense L2 grammar structures – 

Before it’s time for students to put their bunnies in the cups, Write/display a list of who will put their bunnies in which cups. Write things like, “Okay class. Here are the bunnies. Robert will put his bunny in the yellow cup. Isabella will put her bunny in the green cup. Rachel and Maria will put their bunnies in the black cup.” Encourage interpersonal mode interactions by asking questions like, “Roneem, look at the list. Who will put their bunny in the green cup?”


 

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

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