First of all, know what to expect of yourself and your students— please keep in mind that understanding precedes production. Students may need many hours/days/weeks of exposure to comprehensible input before they start producing (speaking). This is the conclusion of renowned researcher Dr. Stephen Krashen:
“Language acquisition does not require extensive use of conscious grammatical rules, and does not require tedious drill. It does not occur overnight, however. Real language acquisition develops slowly, and speaking skills emerge significantly later than listening skills, even when conditions are perfect. The best methods are therefore those that supply “comprehensible input” in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are “ready”, recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production.” (from Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition).
Initially (and this period could last for some time!) students should focus on internalizing the vocabulary and structures and responding appropriately to commands. Like a small child, listening and understanding come first… speech, when it does emerge, will contain some errors (think of a toddler learning to speak), but errors are worked out as the child/student continues to interact in a language-rich environment.
Second, please avail yourself of many additional opportunities for listening and interaction in the language. I highly recommend that you try a variety of the links on my Excelerate SPANISH facebook page. You will find FUN and helpful resources there such as:
http://www.sharedtalk.com/ (please supervise online chat! but what a great resource!)
Be creative! Seek out Spanish language podcasts, news articles, poetry, music, etc. Please share great finds on the Excelerate SPANISH facebook page.
If ever you run into a problem or have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am happy to answer them and to provide support. I’m here for you. I will only succeed when you do!
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