There is a Love and Logic principle that I have been trying lately. It mostly comes up when students ask me a question about Spanish outside of class or during brief independent work. When they ask me a question about what something means, I usually respond with, “What do you think?” I don’t say this in a sarcastic tone, but a friendly tone that encourages them to really think about it again.
I would say that 8 out of 10 times the students know the answer already, they just need a little push to think on their own. This is such an important skill that leads to deeper processing of the language. It causes them to dig deep into what has been acquired and draw it out of the well. I wonder what kind of meaning is being established during this time? Maybe more than we know.
This should not be confused with giving translations for words during storytelling. This is the quickest and easiest way to define new words and is necessary for the sake of time. We challenge students to think for themselves in times of independent work, whether it is inside or outside of the classroom.
I find that when I give my students the answers all the time, they become handicapped. Enabling students to think for themselves is something that needs to be encouraged in our schools today. We are not there to give all the answers, but to encourage students to develop their own process of thinking. In terms of teaching a World Language, this is also important because we are teaching students to go through their index of words. It is a way of empowering them to be active agents in their own learning.