SO, YOU'VE MADE THE COMMITMENT TO TEACH 90% IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE IN YOUR CLASSROOM- great! There's just one thing (ok, a lot of things, but let's focus on this one :) )... how are you going to develop and maintain positive relationships with your students if you aren't speaking very much English? This was my greatest concern when I switched over to 90% (and then 100%)... but it was a fear I most definitely did NOT have to worry about! Of course, it took some time to figure that out, so to save you, my dear teacher reader, some of that time, here are some things that work for me with my students!
*NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION IS KEY: Often overlooked or forgotten as a factor in creating and maintaining relationships is how we interact with our students- the tone of my voice, my facial gestures/ expressions, my body language- regardless of the language I am speaking, my students can tell how I feel about them based on how I look and sound to them. If I am smiling at them, hugging them or patting them on the back, using a friendly, caring tone, being patient with them, this goes a LONG way toward building relationships with my students. We do this unconsciously- the good news here is that you are ALREADY doing things to build a relationship with your students that don't involve language- keep doing them!
*POSITIVE ENCOURAGEMENT AND CLASS CELEBRATION: It is part of my job to create a safe and encouraging environment for my students to learn in. Celebrating success is vital to this, especially as, in a 90% classroom, students often feel challenged or unsure. Being very vigilant as a teacher to students who need a little extra "you can do it!" and "look, you HAVE done it!" is crucial, without overlooking the rest of the students who also need a morale boost on a regular basis. Whether it's a class applause, a high five, a thumbs up, however you choose to celebrate in class, do it consistently and often. Students will feel cared about and on your radar- who doesn't feel good about someone who is looking out for us?
*STRATEGIC USE OF ENGLISH: In a 90% TL classroom, it becomes really important to strategically plan when you are going to use English (this is a real shift in planning, in my opinion). Purposely use some of that 10% English time to reach out to a kiddo or the whole class, strengthening bonds and forging new ones.
READ OUR POST ABOUT TEACHING 90% IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE AS A PARTNERSHIP HERE!