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Language Association

IWLA Conference: Reenergizing, Reaffirming, and Reinforcing by Kayla Weis

17 Oct 2016 1:10 PM | Jason Noble

I love the IWLA Conference because it reminds me of the big, important ideas that may slip through the cracks when you get caught up in the day-to-day of teaching, lesson planning, making copies, etc. The keynote speaker, executive director of ACTFL Mary Abbott, discussed core practices that are key to language learning success, and I think that language teachers can’t look at these often enough. These core practices are as follows…

1. Using the target language 90% of the time. (Both students and teachers)

2. Using the target language for communicative activities... in other words, using the TL to communicate previously unknown information. Activities where students know beforehand what their partner will say are not communicative activities. Communicative activities have no "right" answer.

3. When teaching grammar, focus FIRST on how/why the form is used. Then, focus on conjugations and form. (Use the PACE model.)

4. Use authentic cultural resources. (I really need to do better on this one. I attended an open discussion forum (“EdCamp”) on this topic where teachers shared ideas, and I need to find where the notes from that session are posted.)

5. Use backwards design: First determine desired results, then evidence, then instruction.

6. Expand feedback to more than "buen trabajo/muy bien." Another fun fact I learned was that the best error correction strategy for speaking is to repeat the student's utterance up to the error and pause, waiting for the student to supply the correction. 

Well, there you go! Short, sweet, and hopefully helpful. :)

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