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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.