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Old 08-04-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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How do you teach a foreign language? Do you use an immersion method or focus on drills and translation? Do you use a mixture of both? What grade do you teach? Do you use the internet?

I'm curious to see how it's changed since I was in high school early last decade. I always felt good with my reading and writing, but nervous about speaking.
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:14 PM
 
Location: In the north country fair
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It really depends on the curriculum that is in place at the school as well as the state standards (for foreign lang teachers at public schools). IMHE, foreign lang teachers do not have a lot of say wrt curriculum; those decisions are made by admin and senior teachers/department heads. The curriculum also varies according to grade level. I have taught every grade level and employed various activities in a curriculum that emphasized culture and all aspects (reading, writing, listening, speaking) of the foreign lang. I never taught immersion b/c I wasn't allowed to [by admin].

That said, curriculums in both public and private schools vary. Some schools use an immersion approach, others more traditional methods and still others a combination of both. Grammar is still taught, the extent of which (again) depends on the school. I have seen bilingual schools where Spanish is taught as Language Arts rather than as a Foreign Language while others teach via TPRS.

The current trend seems to be towards immersion, where the teacher only speaks Spanish from day one, and where the approach is more hands-on than traditional textbook, although that method is still used in many schools as well. In a recent Foreign Lang Education class that I took, we were being taught to introduce [grammatical] concepts within a context rather than in isolation. Drills and rote memorization were considered ineffectual techniques of the past, and the emphasis was on oral expression.
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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What is TRPS?

I hope that the trend does go towards immersion, especially with the beginning levels.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Suburbia
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In the elementary grades (1-6), immersion.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Drills and rote memorization were considered ineffectual techniques of the past, and the emphasis was on oral expression.
Yup.

Drills and rote = flushed as soon as test is over.

Exposed to repeatedly over time in various situations = much better chance of sticking
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:14 PM
 
Location: In the north country fair
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altlover85 View Post
What is TRPS?

I hope that the trend does go towards immersion, especially with the beginning levels.
Total Physical Response Storytelling, now known as Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling:

Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Re: immersion, it all depends on the students. Some respond well to it while others do not. The key [with most students] is to keep stress levels low, which may or may not be the case in an immersion classroom. I prefer differentiated instruction and a focus on what works for each student rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. I learned Spanish as an adult and would never have done so in an immersion environment, which just frustrated me. As many foregn lang acqu specialists state, you can't just watch t.v. or listen to the radio in a foreign lang, and recreating immersion in the classroom is extremely difficult. We do this in my French classes and it is okay. B/c only French can be spoken, many will not speak up if they cannot say what they want to say in the target lang, which I think is counterproductive. I learned Spanish by getting one-on-one instruction from a lang school in a foreign country while living with a family after studying the grammar for a couple of years in a non-immersion setting. But everyone is different. One of the most effective ways to learn anything is to first figure out how you learn best.

Last edited by StarlaJane; 08-04-2010 at 03:24 PM..
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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In an immersion setting, could someone say qu'est-ce que vous direz "that phrase" en français? where that phrase equals what they want to say, but don't know how to say in French?

Forgive me if I got the phrase wrong. I'm trying to say "how do you say 'xyx' in French"?
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:09 PM
 
Location: In the north country fair
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altlover85 View Post
In an immersion setting, could someone say qu'est-ce que vous direz "that phrase" en français? where that phrase equals what they want to say, but don't know how to say in French?

Forgive me if I got the phrase wrong. I'm trying to say "how do you say 'xyx' in French"?
I did that a few times but it is difficult when you are in a classroom setting and have a lot of things that you don't know how to say in a given sentence(s), which is why one-on-one is so much more effective b/c you have the time to ask; the teacher is not having to attend to other students and keep the class flowing. You can't really just keep on saying, "Comment dit-on?" every time you don't know a word; it interrupts the flow of what you are trying to say and takes up an enormous amount of time (esp. away from other students), which is why large classes are so ineffectual. It just isn't practical in a classroom setting.

I had a great French teacher who made us post on BlackBoard so that we would be better prepared for class. She gave us a choice of several questions to be discussed the next class and we had to answer and post in French regarding at least one so that we would be prepared to discuss and wouldn't stumble over words in class. It was a great teaching tool helped a lot. You could print it out and bring it to class, although it sounded as if you were reading a speech if just read from it verbatim.
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:36 PM
 
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A good example of immersion French is the French in Action series, that dude goes balls to the wall (pardon my French heh) teaching beginners using immersion French with lots of visuals.

Example:


YouTube - ‪French in Action 2 part 3‬‎
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Sudcaroland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
A good example of immersion French is the French in Action series, that dude goes balls to the wall (pardon my French heh) teaching beginners using immersion French with lots of visuals.

Example:


YouTube - ‪French in Action 2 part 3‬‎

I'm not sure that without a clear grammatical explanation students will be able to understand the difference between "elle va à la fac" (she's going to college) and "elle va bien" (she's fine). Verbs such as "aller" are tricky!

This is why I don't think immersion is the best thing - language teaching should actually be a mix between immersion and explanation. That's what always worked best with my students.
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