If you are a member of ACTFL (American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages), you may have read the article in the October 2012 issue of The Language Educator, written by Douglass Crouse, regarding "ACTFL's recommendation that communication in the target language comprises at least 90% of instructional time." The article provides several educator's perspectives on how they accomplish this goal and a list of resources to learn more and connect with colleagues about teaching in the target language and language acquisition. (You may even notice a familiar face in the article.☺)
If you are not a member of ACTFL, you can access this article on the below link in which they make several sample articles available to non-members.
October 2012 - The Language Educator - Going for 90% Plus: How to Stay in the Target Language.
In one part of the article, Crouse states that the 90% goal needs to be accomplished through Comprehensible Input. I found this to be true in my teaching. Several years ago I was feeling good about the fact that the 2nd semester started in January and I didn't speak any English to my Spanish 1 students until the end of April or beginning of May. Looking back, I now realize that I was missing a key element - Comprehensible Input. It wasn't beneficial to the students if I was speaking the TL if the students weren't comprehending it. After a great deal of reading about different strategies and methods on Comprehensible Input and attending several workshops and conferences on TPRS, I have a better understanding on how to accomplish this in my classroom. My goal of speaking in the TL through Comprehensible Input is one of my top priorities this year.
Someone once wrote, "there are two times that students are not learning the language: 1-when you are are not speaking in the TL, and 2-when they don't understand what you are saying in the TL.
Several nights ago I saw the following tweet with the #spanishteachers hashtag that reminded me how frustrated students are when we don't make the language comprehensible. I'm posting his tweet on my blog to remind me that the type of teacher the student is referring to in the tweet is what I need to guard against if I sincerely want my students to understand what I'm saying and enjoy acquiring the language.