Unit 2: Strategies for Target Language use


Back to Mini-Course Main Page

Back to Unit 1

Keep calm and use your strategies for achieving 90% target language use in the classroom.

Unit 2 Overview

So you know that 90% target language use in the foreign language classroom is ideal. You know that it is possible, but HOW? Many teachers do not even know where to begin. This unit will help you understand how to apply strategies in the classroom to help you achieve your goal.

Unit Objectives

1. Learners will be able to identify strategies for keeping instruction in the target language.
2. Learners will be able to define the terms "Comprehensible Input" and "Circumlocution".
3. Learners will determine which strategies to use in their own lesson.
4. Learners will modify their own lesson plans to include strategies for TL instruction.


10 Strategies for Staying in the Target Language

There are many strategies that teachers can use to keep instruction in the target language. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Create a climate of cooperation and respect where students feel free to take risks
2. Use Comprehensible Input (visualization, gestures, non-verbal clues, prior knowledge)
3. Teach learning strategies such as circumlocution, graphic organizers, and mnemonics.
4. Reward errors and celebrate self-correction
5. Plan lessons so that there is little down time for students to speak English
6. Use activities such as speed interviews to allow students to rapidly repeat structures
7. Use extrinsic motivation strategies and move towards intrinsic motivation
8. Teach grammar inductively (Provide examples of a grammar point and have students figure out meaning)
9. Post high frequency words and phrases around the classroom to help students
10. Connect curriculum to authentic lives of students

These are just a few strategies that may help keep you and your students speaking in the target language.

Read and Watch

1. First Read Keeping it in the Target Language.

2. Read the article from ACTFL [Going for 90% Plus: How to stay in the Target Language]

3. Next visit the webpage: Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A library of Classroom Practices.
Choose a video from the library to watch. Try to choose a video in the target language that you teach. If the language is not available choose a different languages.

While you are watching the video keep the following questions in mind.

1. Is the teacher successful in using the target language in the classroom? To what degree?
2. What strategies does the teacher use to keep conversation in the target language?
3. If the teacher uses any English in their lesson, what purpose did the code-switching play?

Journal Entry #2

Write a journal entry in which you reflect on your own classroom practices. Please think about the following questions in your journal entry.
1. What strategies are you already using in the classroom?
2. What strategies are you excited to try out?
3. How do you think that your students will respond?

Design Project

Look at the lesson plan you chose from Unit 1.

  • How can you incorporate target language use into the design of your lesson?

On to Lesson 3


1. Crous, D. (2012. October) Going for 90% Plus: Keeping it in the Target Language. The Language Educator, 22-27. Retrieved from: https://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/TLE_pdf/TLE_Oct12_Article.pdf

2. Moeller, A., Roberts, A. (2013) Keeping it in the Target Language. MultiTasks, MultiSkills, MultiConnections. Faculty Publications: Department of Teaching, Learning and Education. Paper 178. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/teachlearnfacpub/178.