Teaching languages is easier than we think and even easier than many claim to deny. The evolution of the different methodologies in the teaching of second languages has been important, but at the same time it has been filling us with ideas, approaches, activities and points of view that when accumulated, are a difficult weight to carry when we try to plan our lessons in an effective and efficient manner. We easily forget that the main objective of any language is to communicate, that communication occurs in contexts in which it is important to deliver and receive messages. And that when we try to teach languages to children and youngsters, those messages must be interesting and relevant to them.
What kinds of situations are we presenting to our students to encourage communication? It is enough just to look in a textbook to see that the proposed communication activities are not very interesting because they are based on generalizations that have nothing to do with the lives of our students. The vast majority of these “communicative activities” are based on the possible need that students will have when using the second language in a context that is also hypothetical. Here’s the problem! We are hypothesizing instead of working with their own reality!
I say it over and over again, teaching languages is not as complicated as some theorists want to make it seem. Teaching languages is as simple and uncomplicated as the human need to communicate what affects our lives on a daily basis.
We must banish once and for all fiction, hypothetical situations and any kind of activity that involves pretending if we really want to prepare our students for the real world.
I present here two examples where communication becomes real both in class and in the life of one of my students:
In this very popular video among students and language teachers, I propose some situations that I make real in my class to motivate student participation.
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In this audio you can hear an audio message that one of my students sent me telling me about how he felt he was using his Spanish in a real life situation.
Watch a webinar I presented recently on how to make your WL classroom relevant and real HERE
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