Encouraging Early Production Language Learners to Participate in Class

Once new language learners get more acclimated to the new language and the society around them, they move onto what is known as “Early-Production.” They understand the most basic instructions.  They usually respond with one or two words.  They seem (and probably do) understand more than they can express.  Here are some strategies you can try with them:

Questioning Strategies

1. Ask literal questions that address the 4 basic W’s: who, what, when, and where.

2. Ask questions with 1-3 word answers.

3. Ask questions with either/or options.

4. Ask student to list, name, tell which one, categorize, draw, label, and create.

General Teaching Strategies

1. Label objects around the room in the new language.

2. Provide books and audiobooks with patterned, sentence structures and pictures.

3. Recast by modeling correct grammar when responding instead of correcting students during oral production.

4. Continue using gestures, realia, graphic organizers, total physical response, and visual supports.

5. Provide wait time for students to get their thoughts together. They are still likely translating in their minds.

6. Provide positive reinforcement when students attempt to use the language.

Have you tried any of these methods with your students?  Do you have any other methods that have worked?

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