Tips for Teaching in the Target Language

Teachers are teaching more and more in the target language.  The first step is to commit to using the target language at least 90% of class time.  This is the ACTFL recommendation.  The second step is to acquire some strategies.  Here is a simple system that I follow that helps me to teach in the target language.

Tips for Teaching in the Target Language (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comRoutine:

  • Use routines in class as much as possible so that students are not constantly trying to decipher language.  Routines provide context to the language and students are better able to comprehend what they hear when it is in an expected context.  They will also begin to pick up on language as they associate it with the actions that they see.  Routines can also include Functional Chunks of Language, which are expressions, phrases or words that students learn as a chunk without necessarily understanding the grammatical structure.  These Functional Chunks of Language help to keep the target language the dominant language in the classroom by both the students and the teacher.

13Comprehensible Input (CI):

  • Comprehensible input is language that students understand.  The teacher can help students comprehend by providing visuals, making gestures and using language that is familiar to students.  Another great way to make input comprehensible is through circumlocation. (You can read more about circumlocution HERE.)

i+1 (Input Hypothesis):

  • i represents a student’s current level of language  (Krashen).  i+1 represents language that is just beyond the current level of students.  i+1 is a way of advancing students in language proficiency by having students rely on the language that they understand to make sense of new language.

Context is the most important thing t keep in mind when teaching in the target language.  When a familiar context is used students are better able to use their understanding of a situation to understand language that they are hearing.

2 responses to “Tips for Teaching in the Target Language

  1. ledoyen

    Hi, I really like your resources. One thing I find frustrating is that we are told what we need to do but not HOW to do it; for example, in the above post, you say to use routines. But what if a teacher reading this doesn’t know what you mean? Or you say “use comprehensible input” but there is no example. I know that we have to use gestures etc but I don’t really know what you mean. Can you give me a specific example of comprehensible input? Same for the Krashen thing. I need an example of what you mean: if Johnny’s current level of language is THIS, then what is one level above it? I see all the time that we need to do this and we need to do that but it seems like no one ever tells us HOW; perhaps everyone is expected to already know this stuff but I can’t believe I am the only one who doesn’t. Maybe it’s too embarrassing to admit. I don’t know. All I know is I have all kinds of information in my head but no real way to apply it.

    • Hello,

      I get into lots more detail with examples on Periscope and Facebook Live. It’s better explaining these examples through talking rather than written explanations. Be sure to follow my Facebook page (or join my Facebook group) and follow me on Periscope. I will add this topic to my upcoming live stream topic list.

      Thank you,

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