Lionel Messi & A Quick Tip For Staying In The Target Language

A student came into my class wearing a Lionel Messi shirt today.

lionel messi shirt

It was a great chance for me to make incomprehensible L2 meaningful for my novice students. Here’s what I did:

I wrote the following sentences on the board in the target language. (Note: The words in bold were incomprehensible L2 words for my students.)

Lionel Messi…

  • is not from Philadelphia.
  • is not from Mexico.
  • is not from Puerto Rico.
  • IS from Argentina.

Lionel Messi…

  • does not play baseball.
  • does not play American Football.
  • DOES play football/soccer.

The students understood everything that I was communicating.


1- I leveraged **Constructed Situational Input – As soon as I said Lionel Messi (and wrote the sentences on the board) I constructed a situation in which everyone knew what I was talking about. (**See this post for an explanation of how this works.)

2- I paired comprehensible L2 with incomprehensible L2 to help make it meaningful. My students knew the L2 nouns but NOT the L2 verbs. I made the meaning of the L2 verbs very obvious by using *VAGUE PAIR ELIMINATION. (*See point #5 in this post for a definition.)

Simple, right?

Have fun staying in the target language! It helps to avoid duct-taping L2 fruit on the foreign language proficiency tree!

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – – @calhwrd

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