Spontaneous Speaking in the Target Language


What does an IACS student sound like?

When people ask me to tell them more about our program, I encourage them to go to a workshop, visit a class room and listen to one of our students. Here is a chance to listen in to someone at the very beginning of her language acquisition journey.

Here is the context: I was headed to the ACTFL convention in San Antonio and at the last minute thought it would be helpful to have some audio. So, this student was around and I asked her if she had a few minutes to talk; neither of us had planned to do it. She is in 6th grade and has been in Spanish class for less than 3 months. Take a few minutes to watch this. What do you notice? What do you hear?

Did you watch it? Don’t cheat and read this without watching it! I want to know what you hear first.

A few things I noticed: 1. She is more nervous about the camera than the fact that I’m talking to her in Spanish. (I might be able to tell this because I know her) 2. She doesn’t break down, give up, or resort to English even when she is talking about something that is less familiar/unpracticed. She does pause and there is silence, but I’d say that’s acceptable for a Novice student in her third month. 3. She is listing and using words to communicate which is appropriate for a Novice level speaker (I’m not hearing sentences! But, that is not a Novice descriptor or goal).

This is the type of conversation that gets me excited about our program! She can’t conjugate verbs or tell you whether her adjectives agree, but she can understand and respond in a spontaneous conversation with a person accustomed to dealing with language learners (Novice Guidelines). She doesn’t know a lot ABOUT Spanish. But, she is USING it.

What do you notice?

Do you want to hear a second year student next?