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It would be a rare occasion, indeed, for any of our students, if while traveling abroad, are asked to sit down and write a paragraph about themselves in Spanish, Chinese or German. It is much more plausible that they will be called upon to introduce themselves, ask for or receive directions or tell about their home and personal experiences. However, one of the greatest challenges of any world language teacher is to create the environment and activities that will give students the opportunity to speak to each other in the target language in an authentic manner. Here are some strategies to facilitate student to student communication. All should be conducted in a “Target Language Only Zone” as described in number 1.
1. “Target Language Only Zone” – As a French and Spanish teacher, I had a sign in the front of the room that I would flip when all languages other than the one we were studying were outlawed. This one rule accomplished a couple of different things:
a) If students were only speaking French, it was very quiet in the room and it was easier for me to monitor the quality of the communication taking place.
b) I didn’t have to argue with the students as to whether they were on topic or not. It didn’t matter, the more they used the language, the better. If students finished the task early, they were free to chat with each other, as long as it was in the target language. Click here for number two.