This post contains a video recording of Sr. Howard creating a comprehensible L2 immersion environment.
I was wearing blue hair.
I had just finished running through a crowd of 600 students spraying them with “silly string.”
It was Read Across America Day. We had reached the end of a day FULL of Dr. Seuss activities. 100 first graders were sitting in the library watching a Cat In The Hat video; waiting for their classroom teachers to come and get them packed up to go home.
The teacher sitting next to me (who was also in costume) said, “Sr. Howard, the cartoon is almost done and we still have 10 minutes before their teachers come!” So I got a box of Guatemalan kickballs and got in front of the students to occupy them until it was time for dismissal.
This video is/was…:
- …NOT planned.
- …NOT meant to be a model lesson for how to teach in the target language.
- …NOT a recording of an activity that the students had ever seen before in class.
- …NOT suggesting that a teacher needs to wear blue hair in order to secure the attention of students.
The reason I’m posting this video…
…is to help foreign language teachers make a philosophical distinction between an L2 immersion environment and an L2 immersion environment that’s RICH with instances of PAIRING.
It’s one thing to teach in the target language. It’s another thing to teach in the target language in such a way that almost every student understands pretty much everything you’re saying.
If you want to teach effectively in the target language, you must make sure that your students understand pretty much everything you’re saying even though you are using a language with which they are unfamiliar.
In this video foreign language teachers will see that, even though the students (generally) don’t understand my language,:
- students do understand what I’m saying and what I want them to do.
- students are being exposed to the target language in meaningful ways.
- students have repeated opportunities to use meaningful bits of the target language. (Notice students are being exposed to subject pronouns, subjunctive conjugations, numbers, commands…etc.)
- nearly all of the 100 1st graders are on-task and engaged. (Side note: not bad, huh!? …especially considering that it was the end of the school day on Friday after a day FULL of Dr. Seuss activities on Read Across America day.)
Your voice is valuable! Share your target language teaching experiences!