What Students Want

How do we learn languages?  This is quite a loaded question.  Perhaps the biggest factor according to recent research shows a connection between the age when we begin our second language journey and our ultimate proficiency level.

But what do people of all ages have in common?  From what I have experienced,  people, no matter their age, are especially motivated when they are able to communicate verbally or non-verbally.    Comprehending what we hear (or read) and speaking in a second language invigorates us to learn more.

Hopefully this sounds like common sense.  However, when working with teenagers,  I need to remind myself that they really do want to be able to speak.  Through anonymous surveys, students mentioned speaking as a high priority, and the majority stated that they enjoyed skits and acting out stories.

What tools do we have at our disposal to communicate clearly with students?

Gestures,  simplifying our speech by focusing on high frequency vocabulary,  repetitive routines, music with lyrics, TPRS stories, and comprehensible input-based activities, and skits have greatly improved students´ rate of acquisition.

More details about these strategies will be coming soon.

 

 

2 comments

  1. I think scaffolding is also a neat technique…it builds confidence to be able to say a relatively long sentence, by repeating the phrasal chunks.

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  2. Yes, I think it is a necessary technique when we are working with older students. Younger learners also need this, but I think less. They tend to absorb more language without worrying if they are understanding everything.

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