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When language educators reflect on what they want their learners to be able to do, most would likely respond “use the language they have learned to communicate.” That goal is not achieved simply by providing students with more content and structures over time, however.


So, how do we get there? What actions can language educators take that will pave the way for students to become confident communicators in the target language?


Here are some considerations for maximizing the conditions for creating confident communicators. They fall under two categories: creating a language-rich learning environment and providing daily opportunities for students to build skills for communication.


Creating a language-rich learning environment:

  • 1 – Surround students with language: words and phrases everywhere—on words walls, desk mats, desk strips, and anchor charts.


















Word walls, desk mats, and desk strips:

Anchor charts:


  • 2 – Add communicative fillers and conversational gambits to learners’ repertories to make their interactions in the target language more natural and authentic.


Communicative fillers and conversational gambits:


  • 3 – Increase student understanding and ownership of proficiency.






















Proficiency resources:

Proficiency tools:


  • 4 – Scaffold and support student learning through the use of graphic organizers and sentence frames.












Graphic organizers (Pinterest):

Graphic organizers (website):


  • 5 – Leverage the power of wait time for students to process input and formulate their responses.

Wait time and think time resources:


Provide daily opportunities for students to build skills for communication:

  • 1 – Begin class with a question, expression, or chat topic of the day.

Expression lists:


  • 2 – Use instructional routines like information gap, inside-outside circles, turn and talk, find someone who, and other interpersonal strategies.

“Walk and Talk”

Interpersonal strategies:


  • 3 – Design interactive activities and games that have a communicative purpose.

Interactive activities:



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