My colleague and friend Melanie Bruyers just sent me this quote by Bill VanPatten. It encapsulates what I strive to do with my level 1s and I think many who observed my Learning Lab at iFLT15 would agree:

Inasmuch as it is possible, teachers should strive to create (albeit artificial) a mini speech community in the classroom where language is used for the purpose of getting to know one another and for admittance into the social group created in the classroom. In other words, create motivation where there might otherwise be none. Learners must perceive that in order to survive, make friends, understand one another and perform regular social functions in the classroom (in sum, not be marginalized), they will have to use the L2.
This at least partially helps to articulate the incredible importance of personalizing the classroom by talking WITH not AT our students.

Van Patten, Bill. (1986) Second Language Acquisition Research and the Learning/Teaching of

Spanish: Some Research Findings and Implications Hispania Vol. 69, No. 1, pp. 202-


Mini Speech Communities
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