Post information, resources, and tips for teaching in the target language here.

3 Quick Tips for Teaching in the Target Language

Starting Day 1 in the Target Language

Ideas for Staying in the Target Language

ASL Video Dictionary - Use a dictionary like this one to find signs you can use to help make language more comprehensible for students - chericem1 chericem1
- This is a Powerpoint with ideas for providing opportunities for students to speak with native speakers
- This packet outlines reasons students and teachers find it difficult to stay in the the target language, offers a rationale for the importance of doing so, and provides strategies to support both teachers and students in doing so - chericem1 chericem1

Contextualize Your Lessons - Using culture, social issues, and activities such as simulations and stories. The following templates might help give you more ideas:

Give Real World Homework (More ideas for this)

Helping Students Not Feel Dumb/Stupid/Embarrassed - Excellent blog post that describes an instructional adjustment to a task in which connections to old content were used to help students produce new vocabulary

Plan Your Instructions - chericem1 chericem1

Recruit Students to Help You - Implement some system in which students monitor your use of English and there is a consequence of some kind each time you use it:

  • You add or forfeit a bean or marble from a jar—when the jar is full/empty, students get a reward of some kind (candy, class party, donuts, a “vacation” from homework, etc.)
  • You write the word TAREA on the board, and for each time you use English, you have to erase a letter. When the word is gone, students get out of doing a certain number of problems on the homework assignment, or they get to assign you homework. ;-)
  • Students write a list of school-appropriate commands on strips of paper in the target language and put them in a jar. They select an official policeman for the class. The policeman writes you a ticket (in the TL) for every English-speaking violation. During the last 5 minutes of class, you have to “pay” your tickets before you can leave the room. You do so by drawing a strip of paper from the jar and doing whatever it says (dance the Irkel, sing a song, hop around the room on one foot, or whatever).

Scaffold Activities Carefully - The following template might help you to do so: - chericem1 chericem1

Separate Your Use of English From the TL - One strategy for increasing the amount of target language you use in class without increasing the cognitive load on students' brains is to consciously separate your use of the two languages.

  • Flag - Make yourself stand under the American flag each time you want to use English.

  • Sign - Flip a sign from English to Spanish (or whatever your target language is) each time you want to change languages.

  • Spanish Only Days - Designate particular days as "Spanish Only" (or whatever your target language is). Require yourself and your students to communicate solely in the target language on those days. Be sure to plan your instructions, carefully scaffold activities, and plan tasks with which students can be very successful on those days in order to motivate them to use their Spanish during other days of the week as well.

  • Online Bomb Timer - Teacher sets online timer for 2 minutes per activity. When students have a question they want the teacher to answer in English, the teacher starts the timer and then answers the question quickly. Teacher stops timer when finished. When the 2 min. have been used (i.e., when the bomb goes off), the teacher has to answer all additional questions in the target language. Students are careful to save their time. (Idea from Travis Miller)

  • Time Limit - Set a kitchen timer for a designated amount of time (i.e., increments of 10 to 20 minutes) and force yourself to stay in the target language until the timer goes off.

  • U.S. Embassy - Designate a particular area of the room (perhaps 3 feet on either side of your door) as the American Embassy by marking it with masking tape on the floor, with colored ribbon or tape, with a carpet or a mat (secured to the floor so it is not a safety hazard), etc. Require anyone (yourself included) who wants to speak in English to do so from within the confines of the "embassy."

Word Walls - Post key words and common phrases around the room to support students in understanding what they hear and in using Spanish to accomplish common classroom tasks

Activities for Teaching Circumlocution

- Exercises in Spanish, compiled from a variety of sources (especially Dr. Judy Berry-Bravo) that are designed to help students practice circumlocuting

- A brief list of prefixes and suffixes in Spanish and their English equivalents that can be used as a tool for giving students an extensive "instant" vocabulary of cognates.

Facilitating Speaking & Writing: Teaching Circumlocution

Circumlocution Practice Activities

Circumlocution Using Familiar Odd Objects - Posting from FLTEACH

- A sample paired activity (in Spanish) designed to help students develop their circumlocution skills. Many of the items on the lists are concepts or objects that don't exist in the target cultures.

The following activity by Deborah Espitia can be adapted for any topic and is designed to encourage students to speak in the target language. The materials are provided here in English and in Spanish for your convenience:

Todo en Espanol Sign - you have it on your board and flip when it is time to only speak in spanish. You will need to have a penalty if they or you speak in English. This is a good way to do TL only because the students know that english is permitted at certain times and that they can come back to it. But it works great for Communicative activities. - gerouxje gerouxje

Reading & Resources

Halliwell, S., & Jones, B. (1991). On target: teaching in the target language. Pathfinder 5. A CILT Series for Language Teachers. Retrieved September 26, 2009, from

Knop, Constance. Increasing the use of the target language in classroom interaction.

Target Language Teaching - A wiki with lots of useful ideas and activities by Shelli Brown

Tips for Teaching in the Target Language

Speaking Assessments

Linguafolio Grid - VERY nice, one-page matrix of "Can Do" statements that outlines what students should be able to do at low, mid, and high for novice, intermediate, advanced, and superior in the interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes - chericem1 chericem1

Target Language Refinement

(Resources for Maintaining Your Target Language Proficiency)

Mejora de la lengua

Target Language Refinement Plan (TLRP)

Target Language Refinement Plan (TLRP) Resources

Target Language Teaching - KathrynHin KathrynHin - A page created by Kathryn Hinbern with useful tips, organizational position statements, and policy updates

TL Use - Observations from TE 407 students

See also: Assessment, Classroom Management, Community Outreach, Curriculum Development, Proficiency,
Staying in the Target Language

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