Staying in the Target Language, A Leap of FaithBrooks
The Sonrisas Spanish curriculum follows the recommendation of ACTFL that the instructor stay in the target language at least 90% of the time. We dedicate a whole section in our teacher’s manuals to strategies to accomplish this goal, and there are many resources for teachers on staying in the target language. But beyond instructional strategies there is one very important thing to keep in mind about staying in the target language—it’s a leap of faith. You must take that leap.
Despite your doubts, despite your fears, despite what parents may think, you can do it. You can teach your class entirely in Spanish. When you do, and when you set that expectation for your students, the results are amazing. Sure, doing this takes a lot of preparation, careful planning, and lots of effort, but it is worth it. Real world communication comes from building spontaneous interpersonal skills, and these are built most effectively through authentic, meaningful interactions. The reassuring thing is that the challenges that you face staying in Spanish are exactly the types of interactions that allow you to provide and model meaningful interpersonal exchanges. Getting through challenging situations is a big part of becoming proficient in a second language. When your students see you do, and when they do it with you, they get a deep and valuable learning experience. You can do it. Take that leap of faith. Stay in Spanish. When you do, your students grow.