Language teachers can find themselves perplexed and sometimes stressed about their use of the target language in class. Of course, we all aspire to using it (and having the students use it) as much as possible, but slipping into English to save time or to ease frustration is something we all find ourselves doing, sometimes more than we want.
Denise and I have found staying in the TL a bit easier since we began implementing the REAL LANGUAGE right away program, and we thought we would write a two-part blog post to explain our 1) accountability system 2) the aspects of our program that help us to empower the students to maximize their TL use
So, first, the accountability system! Students earn tickets (in French, we call them billets and in Spanish, boletos) that allow them to earn extra credit. Five tickets earn them one extra credit point, and it is the students’ job to keep track of their tickets and turn them in at the end of the marking period. However, if we hear a student speaking English, their name goes on our list, and they either lose one point or they need to pay us five tickets.
We are very generous with the tickets, and students can earn them for a variety of reasons. If I see a group of students working well together while practicing, I might slip them a ticket. If they volunteer to perform a dialogue in front of the class, they get a ticket. It’s a great reward for winning a game, answering a question correctly, or singing a song with enthusiasm.
Once the student earns his billet, he writes his name on the back right away and stores it in an envelope in his folder. (Also, to keep students from counterfeiting, we print the billets on the color printer or on colored paper. Another trick is to photocopy them and stamp them with a rubber stamp.)
For those of you looking to increase your students' use of the target language or wanting to find a fresh way to motivate your students, please give this system a try! We have some free billets for you in French, Spanish and Mandarin-- click here to access them!