Here’s a very raw, and very improvised, video of me teaching a mini-lesson (4 mins) in the target language. Topic: Cinco De Mayo. I asked one of my students to record me. It wasn’t planned…and here’s what came out:
A brief and (overly-simplified) history of the Battle of Puebla on Cinco De Mayo (links to a youtube video)
Things to notice: (tips for staying in the target language)
- I write a lot on the board. Sometimes cognates are very difficult to pick up on if you only hear them spoken out loud. A foreign language teacher can incorrectly assume that students will understand a cognate because they can picture how it is written and spelled in their heads. But the phonetic differences between the languages can make it difficult, for a student, to pick up on helpful cognates. Write cognates down so learners can have a better chance of using cognates to formulate an understanding of what’s being said.
- I try to use as few words as possible. You’ll notice I use a lot of sound effects to convey emotion and meaning. If you know a word is hard to understand…try to skip it. Try not to say it. Convey meaning without words. If you say too many words that are incomprehensible to the students, they will give up very quickly.
- I make obvious mistakes that students can correct. This is effective for several reasons. It’s funny (It’s good for students to laugh. Laughing makes the L2 environment less stressful and intimidating) It helps you repeat/review. (meaningful repetition is essential for language acquisition)
- What other techniques do you observe that I use? Leave comments below.
- What techniques do you use to keep students engaged while you are in the TL? Leave comments below.
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