Modifying ACTFL’s 90% Guideline

ACTFL therefore recommends that language educators and their students use the target language as exclusively as possible (90% plus) at all levels of instruction during instructional time. “

ACTFL has a 90% guideline to indicate how much teachers should speak in the modern language in the classroom. However, I think that ACTFL should concentrate less on the teachers and more on the students. Basically, the question for a language classroom is “Who needs more language practice the teacher or the students?” if the students need more practice, then they should be the ones talking the most in the class, not the teacher.

I think that ACTFL should implement these student guidelines:

– Students’ modern language talking should be 70% of the total talk in each class.

– During each class students should talk at least once with at least five consecutive sentences.

– In each class, students should have at least one interactive  spontaneous speaking conversation with another student of three minutes.

– Each student should say at least 30 sentences in the modern language each class.

I do not believe that students simply saying grammar drills or doing vocabulary drills, no matter how fancy these drills are, constitutes real language use. I would not count those sentences as speaking the language. I would like students to move from practicing the language to using the language even at the beginning levels. I would them to communicate.

From now on, I will only post my modern language/ foreign language/ world language posts to my Improving Modern Language Learning  at   Within the next few weeks, I will move all old languages posts to there.

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.  My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (21+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:

My three formative assessment books:

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