Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Language and Meaning

If a foreign language student is languishing in class and all of a sudden is immersed in the country of the target language, I am willing to bet that same students starts to pick up the language immediately. What is the difference?, all of a sudden there is meaning attached to the words. So many times I see students who are just saying words and don't really mean what they are saying; they are just going through the motions. I recently did an activity which I saw to be successful because it involved meaning. 

The students had to think of a situation where they would use Che cosa fai? What are you doing? After doing this for a number of expressions, they would  tell  each other the situation and they would have to respond with the Italian.  For example, the situation is this.... you are walking in the mall and the person ahead of you drops their wallet... you could say to them aspetta. (wait).   This way they were using their imagination and responding with higher level thinking. I believe it was successful not only from their test scores but because I had a couple of students tell me that the situation helped them to remember the Italian.