In the past 24 hours, the subject of “how do you get kids speaking in the TL?” has come up twice; once with a colleague and then again on last night’s edition of #langchat.
There are definitely a lot of strategies that one could use – I’ve written before about my love for Class Dojo and after a brief hiatus from the system I brought it back just to see how my kids would respond and sure enough; they’re back to wanting to speak more and more French.
But then, it comes time to set up an interpersonal speaking activity in-class. Those are always frustrating for me because I can never monitor everyone at once and am never certain that everyone has participated in the way that I would like them to. Enter the “mystery student” tactic which is very simple and has worked well in all of my classes so far (though I wouldn’t use it every day or for every interpersonal activity just to keep it novel).
- I announce to the class that I am going to randomly select a student. I will not tell them in advance who the student is. Since I have every kid’s name written on an individual 3×5 notecard, I can choose randomly from the stack.
- After I choose the mystery student, I announce that I am only going to be listening to THAT student, to see if he or she remains in the TL for the entirety of the activity. I still mill about the room so they don’t know who the mystery student is, but my ear is always trained on that one kid.
- If the mystery student is successful, everyone will receive points (no more than 5) for the activity. His or her name is then revealed and everyone thanks him or her.
- If the mystery student is NOT successful, then no points are given (just nul, not 0/5) and the mystery student remains a mystery. Better luck next time!
Give it a try! Let me know how it works in your classroom!