Monday, November 9, 2015

Student-Centered Learning and the Target Language

It is possible for the classroom to be student centered and for students to stay in the target language.  Here are some ideas for shifting the responsibility to students while maintaining that 90% in the target language.

1.  Establish routines and procedures, demonstrating how to use the target language within those procedures.  Add these routines slowly to classroom practice, and be sure to practice and review them often, especially when they are new.  Having these routines in the target language makes them a part of classroom practice, and because they are such a part of class culture, they will encourage the use of target language during the routines and afterwards.  Example include:
  • Passing out and collecting papers
  • Getting student attention
  • What to do when someone knocks at the door
  • Anchor activities
  • Asking to use the bathroom or to move around the room
2.  Teach students the language that is needed for small-group discussions.  Create a document that is distributed or projected with the necessary expressions in the target language.  Be sure to model how to use the expressions, and reinforce them before each activity.  For example:
  • Phrases for coming to consensus:
    • What is your answer for______?
    • I agree!
    • No, I disagree.  I have _______ for an answer.
    • Can you explain your answer?
    • I chose this answer because_______.
  • Brainstorming vocabulary:
    • Yes, great idea!
    • Do you know any phrases about______?
    • Can we add more information to this sentence?
  • Sharing opinions (a great way to practice AP skills):
    • In my opinion_____________.
    • I disagree because__________.
    • On the one hand, ______ but on the other hand_________.
3.  Scaffold language use in a way that meets student needs.  Focus on using i + 1 with students, preparing them to focus on the message, not translation, and for the fact that they will not understand every word, which is a part of language learning.  

4.  Write directions in the target language.  In addition to saying the directions, whenever possible, prepare to project the directions. This is helpful for the different types of learners and will help to ease student anxiety.

90% target language is possible when we, as teachers, plan and scaffold our language use as carefully as we plan our units.  How have you maintained the use of the target language when in a student-centered classroom?

No comments:

Post a Comment