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August 11, 2015

Mexico

Tips for bilingual classrooms

Research has shown that learners perform more effectively and exhibit greater progress when they are immersed in the target language. Here are some tips on how we can make their experiences much more meaningful:

1 Speak English!

Undeniably, learners follow by example. You cannot expect them to produce the language if you are switching to L1 constantly. Be firm and provide learners solutions to their language barriers. Remember to adjust to their proficiency level.

2 Surround yourself

Every space in the classroom is a learning opportunity. Rules, quotes, learners` work and other visual material that stimulate learning is always a good idea. Periodic reference to such materials maintains a high level of awareness and motivation.

3 Cultural immersion

Languages carry with them a heavy cultural load that we often overlook. Some cultural aspects can be greatly exploited. Exposing them to this culture and talking about it may trigger an underlying enthusiasm or interest.

4 Social phrases

Students often find American or British phrases amusing, comical or perky. Identify some and suggest students to use them instead of typical lackluster language.

5 Functionality

Can I borrow a pencil? Make sure you address all their language needs on your first sessions. Everyday recurrent classroom interaction must be performed in the target language. Be firm on maintaining this requirement.

6 Role play daily

There are a number of situations that learners can associate with. Plan some of them your students can carry out throughout the course. Be flexible if they wish to do them again or perfect their dramatization.

7 Recognize and praise effort

As a teacher, we have to address both ends. Students who stand out from the rest due to their complete dedication should be recognized through a number of instances such as performance charts, top speakers, etc. Verbal recognition throughout the class is a must.

8 Acknowledge and reward

Constant motivational reinforcement guarantees future participations and compliance. Find tangible incentives students can touch or feel. Extra points, extra recess time, movie day, etc…

9 Remember Memory

Tapping our memorizations skills is not totally negative. Providing learners with language that is suggested to be memorized and understood enriches their vocabulary and enables the less proficient to feel a sense of achievement. Songs, poems, phrases, quotes, etc…

10 Prompts

Language learners often struggle starting to speak, Weekly exercises that prompt production and interaction should be established as a habitual task.

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