Script behaviors to promote language acquisition
As I have gained more experience in my transition to comprehensible input (CI) in the classroom, one of the things that seems to have worked best was having some kind of “safety net” (something I discovered on MagisterP’s blog) to assure that both me and my students would have a way to stay engaged in our target language. An effective practice, based on what I was reading at the time, was to post these expressions in your classroom for all to see. These phrases and words can serve as a script to encourage speaking in Latin right away.
The first category, to help initiate this transition, would be the use of “safety nets” which are phrases that can be used throughout class when an obstacle is met. For instance, if a student wants to request how to say something in Latin, the expression “quomodo dicitur…?” should be used (although quō verbō dicitur…? is probably more correct). If a student doesn’t understand the meaning of a word, instead of asking in English, the expression “quid significat…?” can be used. These are two very important phrases that all students should be armed and ready with whenever conducting class (along with licetne mihi īre ad latrinam/balneum…, certe). I have a document with these safety nets ready to go for you here.
General Expressions: Inquiries, Responses, etc.
For the rest of your class time, while engaged in either Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) or using Total Physical Response (TPS), having these interrogatives posted and some potential responses is helpful in giving students a script to work from. Repeated use also breeds confidence and helps build that classroom culture you are looking to establish. I have another document ready here. A couple of suggestions:
- Print out these “mini-posters” onto some cardstock – bright colors are good as you can help them gain even more attention (but could be aesthetically challenging!)
- Post them in a localized area of the class; you don’t want students spinning around in their desks looking for the section of the room for various starters to help guide them in their conversations
- Consider being strategic where you post your safety nets and phrases; for example, post quando? next to your classroom clock – this will help anchor it into the minds of your student each time they look to see the time (which will become less frequent as they stay more engaged and enjoy your class more!)
Using these starter phrases and safety nets will help structure communication in your class and encourage further speaking of Latin (or any target language).