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How To Keep Young Language Learners Focused On Conversation

beginning spanish curriculumWhen launching a beginning Spanish curriculum in your classroom, getting your students to focus can be the most difficult part. This is especially true when it comes to conversation practice. Elementary Spanish instruction can feel like a constant battle of refocusing the students on the target language, but there are ways to do so. When planning an activity, take the following steps to establish conversation focus and keep it strong.

Step 1: Warm them up.
Before you launch into your kids Spanish curriculum for the day, it’s always best to switch their brains over to the target language. Children are naturally built to acquire language skills, and this is especially true through songs, games, repetition, and imitation. And these are perfect warm-up activities before starting speaking practice.

Step 2: Choose activities that require conversation.
Remember that children might not readily launch into speaking unless the activity warrants it. This is why it’s important to scatter conversation-specific activities throughout your lessons. When they
explicitly know that they are meant to be speaking Spanish, they will do so more readily.

Step 3: Explain the activity within a time frame.
If the students know how long they will be spending on a certain activity, they may be more likely to focus. Otherwise, they might think it will drag on, and they could start to speak in English or do something else halfway through. Managing expectations is key.

Step 4: Give gentle reminders.
It’s inevitable that some students will get off track. During the activity, move around the room and refocus certain students when necessary. This way, you can keep the room on topic as much as possible.

Step 5: Make the lesson dynamic.
Once the students complete the conversation activity, move on to something that uses a completely different language skill. This could be listening to a Spanish storybook or making a craft. By using different senses throughout the beginning Spanish curriculum, you can keep their attentions sharp.

As with teaching any new skill, teaching a language takes patience. With time, your students will get more comfortable with conversation practice. By coming up with encouraging and creative ways to foster these skills, you will help your students learn at an efficient pace.

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