Alexandria professors Martha Davis, Laura Franklin and Dali Tan greeted participants with “Ni hao!” as they entered their session titled, “Target Language: 90% Plus,” at the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) Conference on October 26. With Davis and Franklin as her students, Tan demonstrated how the exclusive use of the target language of instruction – in this case, Mandarin Chinese – helps students develop proficiency in a new language. She relied on gestures, visuals, repetition and positive feedback to guide the audience in exchanging greetings.
Franklin, who is a regional representative on the board of directors of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), shared ACTFL’s statement on the importance of 90 percent plus use of the target language by teachers and students at all levels of instruction.
Davis moderated the discussion portion of the session in which participants shared their strategies for keeping students speaking the target language, expressed concerns and asked for suggestions in helping to implement ACTFL’s goal in their classrooms.
The faculty members also thank Dean Jimmie McClellan for funding for their participation in the FLAVA Conference, which an estimated 600 K-16 language educators from Virginia and beyond were expected to attend.