20 Ways to Get Your Students Speaking French or Spanish

20 Ways to Get Your Students Speaking in the Target Language, Part 1

Know what makes my language teacher heart break?

When I tell people that I am a French and Spanish teacher and they proceed to tell me that they took X number of years of French/Spanish/Italian, etc, but can’t say anything.  Or they rattle off a few lines of a useless dialogue that they memorized, but that’s all they know.

What is the #1 reason why this happens?

Teachers don’t speak in the target language and they don’t make their students speak in the target language.   If that’s you, don’t worry, I’m not blaming you – I’m here to help.

So now you’re probably thinking:

“Sherry, I know it’s really important to get my students speaking in the target language, but every time I try to do it, it’s soooo haaarrrrrddd!

“But wait!” you say, “The school year already began.  I can’t start now.”  


Don’t worry, this blog series has everything you need to be successful in your classroom:

* 7 tips to get you started

* 20 strategies to get students speaking in the target language

* 50 free World Language games and resources

* Facebook World Language Teachers’ Lounge Support Group

Whenever you want to make a change in your classroom, you just have to go in the next day with a plan for how you’re going to accomplish the change that you want to make.  Be sure to explain to your students that certain rules will be changing and how and when the new rules will go into effect.  Here are 3 pointers to get you started:

Pointer #1:

20 strategies to get your French, Spanish students speaking in the target language

If you want to have an immersion classroom, YOU have to speak in the target language, no matter what.

Yes, this is tricky, but it will pay off in huge dividends in terms of language learning in your classroom.  Exception:  In case of an emergency, revert to another language if necessary (ex.  a student gets hurt.)

Pointer #2:

20 strategies to get your French, Spanish students speaking in the target language, World Language Cafe

Teach your students basic phrases to use to ask important things:

  • Can I go to the bathroom?
  • How do you say . . . ?
  • What does ________ mean?
  • It’s something that you use to . . .
  • It’s a person who . . .

You may want to post these around the classroom and point to them if your students need help remembering what to say.

Pointer #3:

20 strategies to get your French, Spanish students speaking in the target language

Show your students what you mean when you say that they must only use the target language.  Walk outside the classroom and pretend that you’re talking to a friend, loudly in English in the hallway.  Then as soon as your foot crosses the doorway, start speaking in the target language.  Then walk out again and speak loudly in English and then walk in again and speak in the target language.  This creates a great visual reminder of the rule.

Yay!  Now you are prepared to implement the 20 strategies to get your students speaking in the target language.  Click on the link to move on to the next post which tells you the really good stuff, the 20 strategies.

Have any more suggestions that I should add to this article?

Email me at:  worldlanguagecafe@gmail.com.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Hope to meet you soon in our World Language Teachers’ Lounge!

The World Language Cafe

Happy Teaching!



  1. Awesome blog! I love reading ideas about what other teachers are doing.

  2. Great ideas THANK YOU for sharing 🙂

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