Here are my class rules for 2018-19. I worked with a version of these rules last year and they encompassed almost every interaction I had with my students.
Reasoning Behind the Rules
Before a student has a chance to question me on the rules, I like to give them the rationale behind each rule.
Rutinas: it is my job to ensure that every student has a place to learn that is safe. And, we only have so many minutes in a year to learn Spanish- let’s use it efficiently.
Español: We learn language through understanding what we hear and read. Simple as that.
I added “Try to use the words you know” because it creates a more academic setting where they are challenged to use the language WHEN they are ready. It also deters the slippery slope of students speaking English.
Comunidad: To paraphrase Krashen, our brains absorb language best when we are less stressed. That is why we spend a lot of time getting to know each other in this class. We need to feel comfortable in each other’s presence.
No seas quejón: whining can set a really uncomfortable tone for the class. I might say something like: “When you are whining, you are blocking the Spanish from reaching your brain.”
How to Teach and Enforce these Rules
- Post the rules.
- Address each rule as it comes up within the first weeks. Address it each time it comes up. This year I will not be showing full slide presentation of what the rules are.
- At the end of class, the class can earn 3 points. They earn 1 point if they completed routines with alacrity. 1 point if they stayed in Spanish AND allowed me to stay in Spanish. 1 point if they created a welcoming community. I will ask them to decide if they earned each point and I will ask them to explain to me why they think they earned it. I will agree or disagree by giving descriptive feedback. (This takes 2-3 minutes at the beginning of the year, but can take 30 seconds at the end of the year.)
- When individual students are not following the rule, I will stop, point to the rule, pause, smile, and continue my lesson.
- If an individual continues to not follow the rule, I will have a private conversation with them and talk to them about how their actions do affect the class and they affect their grade because (insert some student-friendly Krashen.)