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Teaching in Spanish and only in Spanish? Opinions?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by MrTeacher100, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. MrTeacher100

    MrTeacher100 New commenter

    Hiya All,

    Was just wondering what peoples opinions about teaching lessons in Spanish and only in Spanish? A few of my colleagues within MFL will only speak to students in Spanish (obviously just during lesson time). Do you think this aids language learning? Personally, while I recognise the benefits of students being surrounded by the language, I think it often wastes time in what are already short (50min) lessons.

    Thoughts Anyone?
    Vladimir likes this.
  2. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    Do you think this aids language learning?

    No, not unless the students are already pretty fluent.

    I think it often wastes time in what are already short (50min) lessons.

    Your thoughts are correct, again, unless the students are fluent enough and have enough language to understand what you are telling them.

    I thought the 100% TL fad was now just a distant memory. Blame ESL (and any other name it goes by) for it.

    Don't be a sheep just for the sake of it. Your instinct tells you it's wrong and it will also tell you when more TL is appropriate.
  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Yes, I think this is beneficial to language learning, if there is an incentive for students to try and understand what is being said. If there is no incentive, many will just switch off and not bother for 50 minutes. Some concepts (especially within grammar) are better explained in English, for clarity.
    Vladimir likes this.
  4. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Established commenter

    What sort of incentives? Can you give an(y) example(s), Kartoshka?
  5. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    If you don't bother to try and understand, and therefore don't know what the task is, and so you don't do it, you take it home as an extra piece of homework.
  6. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    But what if some pupils try and understand, but they cant? Do they then get the extra homework? How can you tell whether a pupil is trying to understand, or not? Do you allowed for differentiation in class, and if so, how are you going to deliver several different levels of TL in one class? What if you, the teacher, are responsible for the pupils' failing to understand? To they still get a bow-locking and extra homework? Seems a bit unfair to me.

    How are you going to check understanding? Let's say young ask one pupil to repeat what you have said in English. If he or she gets it, then the rest have understood that pupil's explanation in English! How will you single out those that have not understood. I am playing Devil's Advocate here somewhat, but in my opinion time is better spent on direct learning than bfaffing around with iffy comprehension tests of target language.
  7. aventura

    aventura New commenter

    We are trying out the AIM language learning methodology in our school. It is based on teaching kids though gestures integrally in Spanish, no English allowed as soon as they enter the classroom. So far they are responding well and they seem to remember the vocabulary in sentences rather than single words effectively, but it is exhausting!!!
  8. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Can you tell if pupils are engaged during your lessons? If they are trying to understand but can't, they will still appear engaged. If they aren't trying to understand, they will not appear engaged.

    Would you speak to a child learning English in the same way as a native English speaker? You would naturally and automatically simplify your language for the EAL speaker. Works the same in a foreign language. You would pitch the lesson to reach the majority of the class (whatever level that might be), and then differentiate up and/or down for those that need it.

    But why would you do that? Understanding and translating are two different skills.

    To check understanding, I would ask pupils if they understand. Those who understand can get started. Those who don't can have another explanation.

    I'm not a secondary teacher, so I'm also just throwing ideas in the mix here. But surely the whole point of language teaching in schools should be for children to understand the target language? It's all very well teaching to the test - here is a formulaic answer to a question - but it doesn't actually fit people to communicate in a foreign language (unless the foreigner knows the formulaic answers!).
  9. venkmani1991

    venkmani1991 New commenter

    I do 99% of the lesson in TL - it does help stronger students with listening skills and actually it reinforces my expectations. But, I make sure students have many opportunities for paired speaking and other activities so it isn't just me talking at them. I use a lot of Paul Ginnis' teaching methods to make students more independent / grown up in their attitudes towards learning.

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