Today's post is long overdue, so here we go! After several e-mails in which I explained/forwarded the method I use to keep students in the target language, I decided to write a post so that I can refer back to it when the topic comes up. Blogging serves a beautiful purpose!
I would like to thank French teacher, Janet Hachen, of the Upstate in South Carolina, for first presenting this PAIE-MOI! (Pay me!) system at the South Carolina chapter of the AATF's fall workshop back in 2011. After attending her presentation, I implemented the plan in my classroom the following week and have been using it ever since. Merci mille fois, Janet!
Before I share my thoughts on this method, please visit my professional wiki and click on the file entitled, 'French-Only Policy,' in order to get a better understanding of how it works.
It goes without saying that students' oral proficiency has improved, dare I say, tremendously since the implementation of the paie-moi system. They speak with more ease AND some language learners even crack jokes (...usually at my expence, but it's all good!). Of course, this type of plan only works because I greatly prepare students with useful 'classroom navigation' expressions at the start of year one AND I strategically plan daily learning experiences. By the way, classroom management issues are reduced significantly when students are actively engaged in target language tasks. What a great incentive to make the change!
Some language educators with whom I've corresponded have an 'English zone' in their classroom where they put down masking or duct tape in the shape of a box. Students can enter the zone along with the teacher and pose a question or make a comment in English. This comes in handy on occasion, especially for the first year students, because they sometimes have long explanations/questions that would take too long to write down. (My 'English zone' is just outside my door in the hallway because I feel comfortable using that space.)
Remember, with this system, students may write things in English on mini white boards, tablets, or elsewhere. Trust me, this ends rather quickly because students seem to prefer speaking, even if it's in the target language. Yay!
It should also be noted that this method really holds the teacher accountable for 90%+ use of the target language, as well, because baking brownies for a class takes away some of that precious personal time! Now that I speak French from bell to bell, the often frustrating days of going back and forth between the native and target language are a thing of the past.
Now, some of you might not think the paie-moi plan would work in your classroom. Here are some other ideas that might suit you better. Special thanks to @HCPSLanguages from my Twitter PLN for sharing these resources!
From the October 2012 edition of ACTFL's magazine, The Language Educator:
"Going for 90%+: How to Stay in the Target Language" by Douglass Crouse
Check out this wiki page for several ideas that have been shared by world language educators!
Before you go, please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Do you have a TL-only system in your classroom? How does it work? Do you know of other resources that would help WL teachers make the switch?
Best wishes for a new year of 90%+ target language use in your classroom!
Cristy Vogel a.k.a. @msfrenchteach