From 2004 to 2012 I found it very difficult to stay in the target language. In the classroom I was creative, strict, and entertaining. However, my target language use was limited to 5%-25% of class time. (see video example)
Any TL (target language) I did use was generally…
- …during a beginning of the class routine.
- …isolated phrases throughout the lesson.
- …lyrics to a song.
Most of my directions to the class were always given in English. I would feel guilty about not using more of the TL. I knew my supervisors would expect it. I assumed my colleagues would disapprove of me if they saw how little I used the target language. When I knew a formal observation was approaching I’d try to use more of the TL so the students wouldn’t be so ‘thrown off’ if I started only speaking in the TL when my supervisor was in the room.
Why didn’t I use the target language during at least 90% of my instructional time?
- I was afraid of the students misbehaving.
- I was afraid of students giving up and calling out, “I don’t understand a word of what you’re saying.”
- I felt like I could cover material faster if I spoke mostly in English. (And there was a lot of material to cover)
- Whenever I asked another teacher “how do you effectively manage behavior AND stay in the target language?,” I felt like I never got a satisfying answer.
How about you? Why do you find it challenging to use the TL in the foreign language classroom? Leave comments below.
My ‘TL’ Story (Part 1): Why I Didn’t Use The Target Language