Introduce New Vocabulary AND Stay In The Target Language (part 2 – “circling”)

You don’t have to use L1 to introduce new vocabulary to foreign language students.  Instead, stay in the target language by using any of the following techniques:

I recently watched a FLENJ webinar with Joshua Cabral as the presenter.  He talked about “circling” as a great way for introducing new vocabulary AND staying in the target language.  The big point of his whole webinar was how to make language acquisition meaningful.  (It was really good.  See my notes/reflections here.)

Joshua Cabral would ask, “why have students repeat a new vocabulary word 5 times when you can introduce the same word 5 times meaningfully by using the “circling” strategy?”

“Circling” is a thoroughly developed, well documented TPRS strategy.  I don’t have the skill to introduce the strategy comprehensively.  But Joshua’s brief, simple tips can go a long way in helping a foreign language teacher introduce new vocabulary by staying in the target language.

  1. Show a picture of the vocabulary word you are introducing. (i.e. an airplane)
  2. Ask a question that get’s a “yes” or “no” answer. (i.e. “Is this an airplane?”)
  3. Ask an either/or question.  (i.e. “Is this an airplane or a train?”)
  4. Ask a question requiring a negative response. (i.e. “This is a train, right?”)
  5. Ask a question that requires a one-word answer. (i.e. “What color is the airplane?”)
  6. Ask an open ended question.  (i.e. “Where can you travel in an airplane?”)

Joshua also says that:

  • Circling gets students to think in the target language.
  • When new words are presented in context the chances for retention/acquisition increase.
  • You don’t have to use all 5 circling questions types all the time.  You know your students.  Use any or all of them and develop a routine that words well for your students to discover new L2 words in meaningfully and in context.

Joshua wrote a post on this topic here.

Remember: when you introduce new vocabulary by staying in the target language it provides students with so many opportunities to learn L2 easily (and even accidentally.  Stay in the target language and they will learn things that you haven’t even tried to help them learn.  Stay in the target language and you’ll help them produce “L2 Fruit” independently, creatively and for years to come.

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

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – – @calhwrd

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