Interpretive Mode – Build A Reluctant Student’s Confidence

Interpretive Mode…it’s a nice safe place for novice students to start their language learning journey.  It’s also a non-threatening way to introduce more experienced students to new aspects of L2.

If you want to be a confidence builder instead of a confidence crusher, let your novice students spend plenty of time in the interpretive mode.

Confidence is such an important thing for L2 learners to have.  However, if a foreign language teacher is not careful, she can easily extinguish any bit of confidence a novice speaker has gained.  Teachers must hold in balance the need to create communicative tasks that are challenging but not overwhelming.  Teachers should do everything they can to help their students succeed.

If you find that your students are consistently hesitating to participate during interpersonal mode activities, consider giving them more practice with the interpretive mode.

The interpretive mode can:

  • be less threatening than interpersonal and presentational mode activities.
  • allow shy students to participate without having to speak.
  • allow a teacher to build a reluctant student’s confidence by letting him be praised for correct answers without opening his mouth (which can be a risky thing).
  • help students get repeated practice, which they need to become familiar with new (and very unfamiliar sounding) L2 vocabulary

There are different ways for teachers to give their L2 students interpretive mode practice and stay in the TL:

1- Student chooses between a few different pictures after the teacher says or shows the L2 word/phrase.  (Video example)

2- Student chooses between a few different words/phrases after the teacher shows a picture. (Video example)

3- Student demonstrates the appropriate physical response to a word or phrase the teacher speaks.  (i.e. Teacher says ‘sit down’ and student responds by performing the physical action of sitting down.)

Don’t forget to make it fun!  All 3 of these methods can be turned into a game, movement/song routine, whole-class activity rather than an individual student activity.

What interpretive mode activities do you like using in your 90+% target language classroom?

 See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

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  1. Pingback: No Duct-Taping L2 Fruit On The Foreign Language Proficiency Tree | Tuesday's Tips For Staying in The Target Language

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