TEFL Tips: Cut out Spanish from your class

I’m not a massive fan of points, star charts and stickers to control my students behaviour and use of L1 in class, but there is one little trick that I’ve started to use recently which is a perfect way to eliminate excess Spanish.

Stop Spanish!
Photo by alrojo09
It’s funny how I spent a year busting my arse doing a DELTA to try to become a better teacher and increase the amount of English spoken in class, when all I needed to do was draw ten lines up in the top right hand corner of my board. I knew of this technique for cutting out L1 in class, but a little reminder after an observation a month ago has really helped increase the amount of English spoken in my classes. It’s really simple.

Here are the steps.

·        Tell your students you want an English only class.
·        Watch them squirm.
·        Draw ten lines up in the top corner of the board (right or left, whichever works best for you).
·        Then say “If you say Spanish, I will take off a line,” and rub out a line.
·        “If you say more Spanish, I will take off another line,” and rub out another line.
·        “After 5 lines then it’s double homework.”
·        Listen to the moaning and smile.
·        “If they all disappear then, lines.”
·        One student normally says “¿Que significa ‘lines’?”
·        Hold out your hand as if writing a line and repeat the word 'line' several times while moving your hand from left to right, all while smiling, of course.
·        Start the lesson.
·        Be extremely strict at first.
·        Make sure you give the double homework and don’t back down.
·        Ocassionally put lines back up if they’ve spoken a lot of English.

This works really well for all levels, but I haven't tried it with adults yet. Make sure they have expressions for asking you “How do you say x, in Spanish?” or “What does x mean?” Also I say that if they speak Spanish accidently, which does happen, but they quickly say it in English, then it’s fine. 

One final point. Some of my classes have really taken well to it, I mean really well, and there is no Spanish in class, which also means I can't set homework. Just make sure you don't shoot yourself in the foot.

Hope that helps.

Have you got any decent tips for cutting out L1 in class and increasing the amount of English spoken?

Labels: , , , ,