As long as our SLA students know how we expect them to participate, most classroom management issues and behavior problems that arise can be addressed with a whisper, a teacher location change, an awkward pause, or a Ganga head tilt.

These expectations and procedures should be clearly communicated so that students may have the best chance at success. However, maintaining the target language while explaining your guidelines to novices can be tricky if your goal is comprehension. Since translation and English have received a little vindication lately, I though it would be a safe time to advocate for an English display of our expectations. This allows us to keep speaking Spanish while pointing at the translation when students need a reminder, when we are about to try something new, or when we have some inkling that an activity is going to get crazy.

This year I printed a huge banner for our class with many of our class norms. Some of these were adapted from Ben Slavic‘s classroom rules, some are common sense, and others just feel right. There are more items that pop up in a day, but I tried to limit the list to increase the importance of what I care about most for SLA, and to pre-fight the battles I most commonly encounter:

Do kids really need permission to ‘Have Fun’ and ‘Participate with Passion’? Oh, yes they do! Many classes require a lot more silence and stillness than a language class, so letting loose can be a new experience.

Is there some scientific explanation for why a few students must use the bathroom during every single FVR session? Yes. It’s called the Fight-or-flight Response, but I’m NOT having it!

Do I want to listen to the long lists excuses every day as to why the students need more copies of whatever? No way, José. “Take all the copies you need, kids. We have bigger problems to deal with!”

‘Share Creative Story Ideas’? Don’t we love it when every single OWI and TPRS brainstorm session includes Fortnite, Kim Kardashian, Trump, and Sponge Bob? No. No, we don’t.

Procedures are unique for every classroom, and a student expectations list can be as personal as a teaching philosophy. However, if we happen to agree, feel free to download these versions that I made using Pages. If not, I probably wont even agree with myself next week, so…

Happy Teaching, Locos.



Tell me something!

    • Hola! ‘Random’ is an adjective that means ‘lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern’. I used it as a noun, and I mean that students should discard everything that I don’t specifically say is necessary. I don’t want them sleeping on their backpacks, hiding behind folders, doing other homework, or drawing on our dry-erase boards. I didn’t want a negative statement (Don’t), and I if I made a list of random things it could never cover all of the possible distractions.

      Thanks for the question!

  • Sarah this awesome! Right now I’m struggling with junior high kids who aren’t used to actively participating in class or listening when other people speak a different language (I’m at a new school this year and they’re new to CI). This is a great reminder to keep on hammering away at the classroom norms and to have FUN! Last week was awful, I got so down on myself. But when I talk to the kids in the hall, they actually like what we’re doing enjoy saying things in class. Just have to get over that hump of having 10 different loud conversations while class is going on.

    • I. Get. You.
      I have a hard time managing my squirrelly freshmen, so I can’t imagine what a hard time I’d have with rowdy middle school students!
      I just posted an OWI video, and there are clips from 4 different class hours. As I was editing and reflecting I couldn’t believe how much more learning was happening in the classes where the students were not talking over each other and shouting simultaneously. On the other hand, the groups who were more introverted were sometimes lacking the engagement needed for SLA.
      Maintaining engagement while managing the chaos is such a hard balance, Derek!

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