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Banning L1 from the classroom
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Voldermort



Joined: 14 Apr 2004
Posts: 597

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:46 pm    Post subject: Banning L1 from the classroom Reply with quote

I have a class of 4 students, 12/13 yrs, who I have been teaching for 3 years now. We are at the stage where we no longer need to use L1. The problem I'm having is with them always speaking to each other in L1.

To tackle this I've decided to ban L1 from the classroom, but I can't for the life of me think of a way to do it. Me constantly telling them to use English isn't working. I'm looking for a form of punishment/reward system that I could try out with them.

Any ideas?
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choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3325
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rewards only, no need for punishment.
there's a prize to be had at the end of each month.
let 'em know in advance what it is?
beginning of the month, they all start with 100 points.
lose 1-5 points each time they speak in L1, number
of points depends on severity of the infraction.
end of the month, highest points gets the prize.
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zactherat



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you are talking about, OP that shall not be named, is prohibition, which has been proven to be an ineffective motivator.
I say abandon the "L1 is a forbidden zone" idea.

choudoufu wrote:
rewards only, no need for punishment.


Yes!

choudoufu wrote:
lose 1-5 points each time they speak in L1, number
of points depends on severity of the infraction.


Nooo! That's a punishment

I think it's totally impractical to try to stop someone from socializing in certain languages, against their will. If they are still getting better at English, there's no reason to stop them sniping at each other (or whatever) in Chinese every now and then, is there?

I have seen points systems work, but my problem with this concept as a motivator in linguistic development is that it isn't representative of real life, and as such doesn't lead to fluency. Personally I try to work towards a situation where the reward is verbal praise. A successful teacher's words must carry power! Sometimes this means you have to be seen to represent something higher than your own humble endeavor.

Get to the stage where your approval is desirable, and challenge students to better each other. Drop their L1 and still 'carry themselves'.

Aim for the stage where students' own self-approval is a motivator - if you like allegories, imagine Baron Muchausen pulling himself out of the swamp by his own hair.


*edited re: below, didn't mean to be offensive - was aimed at the funny guy above


Last edited by zactherat on Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:35 am; edited 2 times in total
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Miajiayou



Joined: 30 Apr 2011
Posts: 283
Location: Nanjing

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the beginning of the lesson, give them little pieces of paper to write their names and doodle on. When they speak L1, take their paper away. If at the end of whatever amount of time you don't have any papers with their name, give a reward. This has worked for me very well!
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2577
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My advice to starting out teachers is 'Don't pick fights you can't win'.
Go the 'reward' route and try to make the lesson content so interesting that a bit of L1 isn't a biggie.
Four students: I'm picking they're from wealthy backgrounds and as such used to getting their own way.
A bit of sniping and oneupmanship in L1 is typical behaviour among this group - boys especially.
OP report back please. interesting topic.
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kev7161



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
Posts: 5801
Location: Suzhou, China

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Make a bar chart (say, from 0 to 10) with each student's name on it. Keep note of who uses the most English (or who uses the least L1) in class (maybe also the most and BEST English). At the end of each week award the "winner" one or two spaces on the bar chart. The first one to reach 10 wins a prize. Be careful and try not to favor one student over the other - - try to be as fair and honest as you can. A typical child of the age you describe should become very competitive and want to win, regardless of what the prize is - - they just want bragging rights.

Once you reach 10 and award a prize, start all over again. You could even put them together as competing pairs so each couple can help each other win the top spot.
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lemak



Joined: 19 Nov 2011
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With kids I used to put a time on the board - usually 5 minutes before the end of class. If class finished at 3.50 I'd write 3.45 for example. For every time you hear Chinese (In my case it was Korean) add one minute.
Their reward becomes smaller. They tend to look at it as a game, and also self-police quite effectively. In my experience it worked well, and generally within two days or so of implementing it would never hear another word of L-1.
I used to explain to them also that they could speak their native language 23 hours a day....I'm only asking them to speak English for less than one. it's not a huge sacrifice.
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Voldermort



Joined: 14 Apr 2004
Posts: 597

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the ideas.

I'm going to give Kev's method a try. Since there are only four students in the class I will award between 1 and 4 points to each student each week. These points will be added to a bar chart. When the 50 point mark is achieved a first and second prize will be awarded.

Now, the question is what about the prize. I don't do classroom games and these kids are from wealthy families so a new pencil-box just won't cut it. I wonder if the book store sells coupons?

This will require a little more thought. Should I give out four prizes and reset all to 0 or give out one prize and reset only that one student thereby giving the quieter girls a chance to get an equally good prize?
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Learning English in English only seems pretty tough for locals as most of studentsí basics come from classrooms where Chinese is greatly used to learn English. Better students are routinely paired with worse ones to make sure everyone understands and passes tests. Some habits are hard to break and this one is, in my opinion, one of them. Whether we can crack this standard remains to be seen. Attempts to separate unequal students and match the more capable ones together may yield some results in our classrooms. However, I sense opposition from some schools around.
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use vocabulary lists relative to the student's level. The higher levels might have important words scattered throughout the book and I highlight them for the students.

Then, the goal I have is that they use only English when making sentences, but they can talk to each other about the vocabulary words in their native language. Eventually, they learn that saying the vocabulary word in English is easier than always translating it from their native language first.

The reason why they are not using the target language is because they probably don't want to translate and they don't want to figure out the pattern sentence you are working on. Give them the pattern sentence, and then all they have to do is plug in an appropriate vocabulary word. Remove the pattern sentence when most are comfortable and see if they can construct the sentences on their own first before getting help from others.

Actually, saying the word in their native language is probably a good learning tool at first and probably something their local teacher is doing to review. When you try to stop them from using their native language entirely they will get confused and not follow the lesson. This leads to frustration.
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Voldermort



Joined: 14 Apr 2004
Posts: 597

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chinatimes wrote:
I use vocabulary lists relative to the student's level. The higher levels might have important words scattered throughout the book and I highlight them for the students.

Then, the goal I have is that they use only English when making sentences, but they can talk to each other about the vocabulary words in their native language. Eventually, they learn that saying the vocabulary word in English is easier than always translating it from their native language first.

The reason why they are not using the target language is because they probably don't want to translate and they don't want to figure out the pattern sentence you are working on. Give them the pattern sentence, and then all they have to do is plug in an appropriate vocabulary word. Remove the pattern sentence when most are comfortable and see if they can construct the sentences on their own first before getting help from others.

Actually, saying the word in their native language is probably a good learning tool at first and probably something their local teacher is doing to review. When you try to stop them from using their native language entirely they will get confused and not follow the lesson. This leads to frustration.

I understand where you're coming from but that isn't the problem I'm having in the class. I've taught these students from scratch using L1 and during the last year weaned them off it. I now use only L2 and when communicating with me they do the same. There are of course a few slip ups.

They do a lot of translating and pattern practice in the class, so they have very few problems getting their point across. The problem is when they talk among themselves. Simple things like "How do you spell ...?", "What's the meaning of ...?" etc. I really want them to start using L2 instead.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you taught them classroom language? And recycled it? Assuming you have, and they still revert to L1, then maybe it would be better to just accept that this is how they are going to learn. At least they should be able to benefit from classroom language lessons when speaking with you or another teacher.

So long as they are focused on the lesson and target language, using L1 to clarify spelling etc among themselves, it may not be as bad as it seems.
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Voldermort



Joined: 14 Apr 2004
Posts: 597

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Have you taught them classroom language? And recycled it? Assuming you have, and they still revert to L1, then maybe it would be better to just accept that this is how they are going to learn. At least they should be able to benefit from classroom language lessons when speaking with you or another teacher.

So long as they are focused on the lesson and target language, using L1 to clarify spelling etc among themselves, it may not be as bad as it seems.


Perhaps you missed my previous post. Between teacher and student all language used is L2. Between student and student all language is L1. This is the behavior I'm trying to adjust. Their English level is at the stage where they no longer need to fall back on L1.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I did read it. But, for teens especially, it might be enough just to expect them to speak to you in English, apart from set speaking tasks.
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Between student and student all language is L1.


I think that is kind of unreasonable, considering they leave your class and speak L1 for the rest of the day and before your class.

Perhaps, you can set up a location plan where students pretend they are in an English speaking city or country and must use only English. Make up some character, Patrick from Ireland, Angus from Australia ( Razz ), and then say, "Patrick doesn't understand you guys, can you keep it in English?"

The fact you taught them in L1 to begin with establishes they don't need L2 to communicate with you. It's like if I wanted "mango" juice, I would just ask you, "Hey, do you know if they sell orange juice around here?" I wouldn't be motivated to bring up a more difficult word. I would just go to the store you said orange juice was at and see if mango juice was there also.
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