100% TL: Just Add Caffeine


Today marked the end of my first week teaching my Spanish 3 class 100% in TL (Target Language).  Here is some background info on me and my class:

-I commute an hour to school each way every day.
-I have 14 students in my Spanish 3 class.
-I have no TPRS experience or experience teaching entirely in TL.
-I use a “traditional” textbook (Avancemos).
-This is my second year with this set of students.

OK, now that you’ve got an idea of what we’re working with, here’s how it’s going.  I’m going to break this down into “Lessons I’ve Learned (So Far)”.

Lesson #1: 100% TL Requires 100% Energy
It’s no secret that teaching takes a lot of energy.  Teaching 100% TL takes even more energy!  I started out Monday with a lot of excitement and energy.  This carried me through Tuesday.  Wednesday I crashed.  I had no energy.  I was tired.  It was not the best day of teaching.  Today (Thursday) I fueled up with some caffeine.  Today was a great day.  I’m not saying you have to run on caffeine but it sure helps!

Lesson #2: Me using TL = Students using TL
I did not tell my students that they have to use 100% TL (yet).  In fact, I made it clear that I did not expect them to flip a switch and be 100% TL right away.  What I’m finding is that they are speaking much more TL than they ever have!  That happens in the form of them trying to piece things together in their head as they speak one word at a time and them using Spanglish.  A great example from yesterday is, “¿Qué abouto fuimos?” (What “about” fuimos?).  The student wanted to know if he had spelled the word “fuimos” correctly.  Rather than just asking in English, he took what he knew and Spanglished the rest!  This is a student that has always struggled academically and had to work hard for everything he’s learned.  Awesome!

Lesson #3: Student Confidence is Soaring
I’ve seen student confidence soar this week.  I attribute this to the fact that for the first time students are really having to rely on their Spanish skills and they are amazed to see what they can do!  Vocabulary recognition and use has been at an all time high as well!

Lesson #4: Holy Engagement Batman!
Students are much more engaged in class because they have to be if they want to know what’s going on!  We’ve had a lot of laughs from me making mistakes, them making mistakes, my crazy drawings/sounds/actions to help understanding and all kinds of other stuff.  I can say this has been one of the most fun weeks teaching for me.  I overheard a student from one of my Spanish 2 classes (not 100% TL) talking about my Spanish 3 class and that the Spanish 3 students are saying that class goes much faster now.  This is awesome because we are doing way less in terms of actual activities but their brains are way more engaged!

That’s what I have for now.  I started this experiment in the middle of a unit so it will be interesting to see how I approach my next unit differently.  I am fortunate to have such an amazing group of students to go on this journey with!

I have so much to learn!  I’m pretty much winging this entire thing so all my conclusions so far could be delusions!  If you do this or have done this and are willing to help, find me on Twitter @lisajmch.  I’d love to chat and learn!

Until Next Time,
Maestra McH


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