When things are fun for kids, they are interested in doing them and are motivated to focus. However, not everything we teach kids has to be fun, because
in life not everything is fun, and we need
to be able to accomplish those things too.
But, there are ways to add enough fun to
learning that kids will want to do it and be
motivated to make the effort. Here are the
ways that I make language learning fun for
my students and how you can too!
Fun Starts with Attitude
I always show enthusiasm for Spanish when
I teach. I know some kids aren’t super interested in learning Spanish, and I don’t force
my attitudes on them. I accept each student for his or her interests and try to make
learning fun anyway so that even those less
naturally interested find class fun and, in
turn, get something out of it.
I exude an attitude of encouragement
without pressured expectation. That doesn’t
mean I don’t push my students to excel, but
I pay close attention to let them progress
at a pace and in a way that is appropriate
for them. When they don’t feel a stressful
expectation on my part, they are able to
be at ease and are more open to enjoy the
I also try to present things as a fun challenge rather than assigned work. For example, to practice verb conjugations, I use a
bottle of bubbles and students volunteer to
conjugate a verb aloud before the last bubble pops. I tell them the week before I challenge them to learn particular verbs to see
if they can beat the bubbles the next week.
Last, I try to help parents relax about foreign language learning so they are able to
transmit a positive attitude to their kids. I
reassure them that by starting young, when
their kids are still in elementary or middle
school, they place time on their side. Their
children can go at the pace that works for
them. Once children reach high school, any
language learning they have had prior will
help them have a richer, more rewarding
experience. And the high school class or
curriculum will take care of the rest.
I find it best to teach concepts through va-
riety, so students learn the concepts from
different angles and have better under-
standing. For example, when I teach verb
conjugation, students make their own flash-
cards. They use those flashcards in many
ways. They make sentences with vocabulary
flashcards. They sort them into conjugation
groups, like “I” forms, “we” forms, and so
on. They observe the conjugation patterns.
They also play games to use the verbs in dif-
ferent ways. For example, they play Lucky
Roll, where they roll dice and have to fill in
squares for the verbs that match the num-
bers on the dice. Then they play a game like
Race Around the Spanish Speaking World,
where they have to answer different ques-
tions in Spanish using the conjugated verbs
for more advanced practice.
Variety is also important because it provides novelty. Our brains are actually hard-wired to respond to novelty. When something is new, our midbrains become active,
and we are stimulated to give attention to
the new thing. Because of this, the variety
of activities gets students’ attention and
motivates them, because the novelty is interesting and fun, and helps material stand
out and be better remembered.
Learn and Practice in Short Time
I provide a variety of activities in short time
chunks so students don’t feel overwhelmed,
Foreign Language Studies
How to Make Foreign
By Debbie Annett
vui vẻ διασκέδαση
There are ways to add enough fun to learning that kids will want to
do it and be motivated to make the effort.