Ways to Get French, Spanish Students Speaking

20 Strategies, Tips to Get Your Students Speaking in the Target Language, Comprehensible Input

Know what makes my language teacher heart break? When I tell people that I am a French and Spanish teacher and they proceed to tell me that they took X number of years of French/Spanish/Italian, etc, but can’t say anything.  Or they rattle off a few lines of useless dialogue that they memorized, but that’s all they know.  Part 1 of this series, “Get French and Spanish Students Speaking” will talk about the steps to take now to get started.

What is the #1 reason why this happens?

Many teachers don’t speak in the target language and therefore, they don’t make their students speak in the target language.   If that’s you specifically, don’t worry, I’m not blaming you – I’m here to help.

So now you’re probably thinking:

“Sherry, I know it’s really important to get my students speaking in the target language, but every time I try to do it, it’s soooo haaarrrrrddd!

“But wait!” you say, “The school year already began.  I can’t start now.”  

YES, YOU CAN!

Don’t worry, this blog series has everything you need to be successful in your classroom:

* 7 tips to get you started

* 20 strategies to get students speaking in the target language

* 50 free World Language games and resources

* Facebook World Language Teachers’ Lounge Support Group

Whenever you want to make a change in your classroom, you just have to go in the next day with a plan for how you’re going to accomplish the change that you want to make.  Be sure to explain to your students that certain rules will be changing and how and when the new rules will go into effect.  Here are 3 pointers to get you started:

Pointer #1:
20 strategies to get your French, Spanish students speaking in the target language, comprehensible input

20 Ways to Get Your French, Spanish Students Speaking in the Target Language

Furthermore, if you want to have an immersion classroom, YOU have to speak in the target language, no matter what.

Yes, this is tricky, but it will pay off in huge dividends in terms of language learning in your classroom.  Exception:  In case of an emergency, revert to another language if necessary (ex.  a student gets hurt.)

Pointer #2:

20 strategies to get your French, Spanish students speaking in the target language, World Language Cafe

Teach your students basic phrases to use to ask important things:
  • Can I go to the bathroom?
  • How do you say . . . ?
  • What does ________ mean?
  • It’s something that you use to . . .
  • It’s a person who . . .

You may want to post these around the classroom and point to them if your students need help remembering what to say.  Get a free set of these signs in my Free Resource Library.

Pointer #3:

20 strategies to get your French, Spanish students speaking in the target language

Show your students what you mean when you say that they must only use the target language.  Walk outside the classroom and pretend that you’re talking to a friend, loudly in English in the hallway.  Then as soon as your foot crosses the doorway, start speaking in the target language.  Then walk out again and speak loudly in English and then walk in again and speak in the target language.  This creates a great visual reminder of the rule.

Yay!  Now that you’re prepared to implement the 20 strategies to get your French and Spanish students speaking in the target language, click the link for the next post that tells you the really good stuff, the 20 strategies.

Have any more suggestions that I should add to this article? Email me at worldlanguagecafe@gmail.com.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Hope to meet you soon in our World Language Teachers’ Lounge!
~Sherry

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