How Recycling the Target Language Enhance Your Teaching

How Recycling the Target Language Enhance Your Teaching 

Written by: Charles, Nancy, Yolanda, Joy, Nicole

Proofread by: Charles

Ideas contributed by Charles, Deborah, Daniela, Nicole, Nancy, Yolanda, Joy, Karen

As a language teacher, either in brick and mortar or online learning contexts, we are kind of reaching a consensus that encouraging students to recycle target language is a crucial part of teaching. But interestingly enough, recycling is not only a task required by teachers but a demand which also comes from students and families. It seems that both educators and learners, more or less, acknowledge the importance of recycling, as a key to solidify new concepts until acquisition occurs.


With such an "obsession" with recycling in the field of language teaching, do we truly understand what "Recycling" means? And what are the best ways to reuse, renew and recycle target language in the Qkids classroom? Let's look behind the scenes:

What is Recycling?

In ESL classrooms, Recycling can simply be defined as reusing target language in orchestrated activities, tasks, and contexts or through different skills. During this process, the recycled language is re-introduced and re-used with variations of content and emphasis, aiming to facilitate comprehension and support skill-building.

But be noted, we are not referring to  "Repetition" when we are talking about "Recycling". It deserves to be mentioned here because "Recycling" is often mistaken for "Repetition", which significantly influences how language is recycled. Recycling, as opposed to repetition, is characterized by its core of meaningful and purposeful practices.

What is Target Language?

Target language is the focus of a lesson, an activity, or taking curriculum as a whole, a unit, including keywords, phrases, and sentence patterns. Before class, teachers can get themselves prepared by checking the target language in Curriculum and Class Details in the teacher portal. During class, the target language can also be found in Lesson Details in section 0 and the Reference.

As a Qkids teacher, you probably understand the importance of diversifying your teaching methods. After all, it has been understood for a while now that many people learn differently. To help you be more productive and flexible, here are some approaches for you to know what you can do while recycling the target language:


1. Repetition

There is no denying that repetition is commonly used to help recycle target language in teaching. Considering students' short attention span, repetition can be organized in multiple fun ways to help practice reinforce target language as well as keeping them focused and interested. Uses of rhythm, chanting and whisper voice are the most common ways we can adopt to teach.


2. Break Down Sounds

Learning doesn't always go well. Normally, students will have difficulty in producing certain sounds, syllables, words, and phrases. That is where teachers come in to help recall and reinforce what students have learned and what they are learning. Teachers can offer timely support by breaking down sounds with the use of body language (show fingers, clap) to chunk and provide hints of recycling the target language.


3. Purposeful Guiding Questions

The target language can be further recycled with purposeful guiding questions. Target-based questions and extensions can be offered based on students' capacity. But always remember to prompt students to answer with our target language. Here is an example,

T: What is it?

S: Door! (Students answer immediately after and effortlessly)

T: What color is the door?

S: Yellow. (Sometimes Ts stop here without further practice on the targets)

T: Let's say "It's a yellow door".

S: It's a yellow door.

(Don't forget to have students answer in a sentence with more practice on the target word "door".)


4. Tools for Visual Aids

While words can be abstract and hard to retain, visuals tend to be more concrete and easier to recall while supporting students in recycling the target language. Same as the traditional classroom, Qkids teachers can enrich a lesson by using ways of visual aids such as flashcards/props/images that help students to reinforce their memory of the target language from what they see. Moreover, Qkids classroom provides many handy tools like stickers, spotlight, textboard, which is also helpful for teachers to use when recalling and providing hints of the target language. 


5. Feedback & Emphasis

Feedback and emphasis produce positive effects on students during their learning process. It gives students more specifics as to what can be corrected, improved, or reinforced while they are practicing the target language. It's pretty common to see young learners making mistakes or showing disfluencies in language learning, especially when teachers try to prompt for recycling without modeling or extra help in advance. Therefore, teachers need to keep using and recycling the correct form in response to students' needs and strengths. 


6. Creativity

Given that students are different in terms of language proficiency, learning preference, personality, interests, etc. It may not always be effective by using the above approaches of recycling the target language. Thus, we encourage teachers to combine the approaches and add variety according to students' learning needs and strengths-based on teachers' minute-by-minute assessments. Here is a simple example to give a taste of what creativity may look like: 

In Words Magnify, T uses textboard/markers to cover the word part and only shows the picture part of each card, then ask Ss to recall what it is on each card. 


Approaches could be endless. Welcome to brainstorm with us!

But then again, with the approaches, do you wonder what the proper moments are for teachers to "recycle" in a Qkids lesson? Is there anything we should avoid to support meaningful and interactive learning while recycling? The following may give you some inspiration:

By keeping a focus on recycling the target language, you will find your lessons be even more effective! Now, take these tips and enjoy your lessons!


Qkids Family

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  1. Great article! I appreciate the reminders about when and how to properly recycle the target language. Really helpful tips :)


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