Children learn new languages best when...
**Teachers consistently conduct instruction in the target language with minimal use of the native language. The target language and the native language are kept distinctly separate.
**Teachers recognize learners as active constructors of meaning rather than passive receivers of vocabulary and information. They scaffold instruction so that learners become increasingly independent in their use of the written and spoken language.
**Learning occurs in meaningful, communicative contexts that carry significance for the student. For your learner, these contexts include social and cultural situations, subject content instruction, and experiences with activities such as art, crafts, sports, and hobbies.
**Instruction is affectively engaging, made meaningful and memorable through the use of story form and activities such as storytelling, music, games, rituals, drama, and celebrations.
**Learning is organized in terms of concrete experiences; visuals, props, realia, and hands-on activities are integral components of instruction.
**Learners are surrounded with meaningful language, both oral and written, from the beginning through advanced stages of language acquisition. Expectations for language production, very limited for beginners, increase as learners move from early to intermediate and more advanced stages.
**Assessment of learning is frequent, regular and ongoing in a manner that is consistent with targeted standards, program goals, and teaching strategies.
**Curriculum and instruction are organized according to a communicative syllabus rather than a grammatical syllabus. Grammar is presented through and for usage rather than analysis; grammar for its own sake is not the object of instruction. Instructions are focused on communication.
**Activities are geared to the young learner’s interests, cognitive level, motor skills level, and experiential background. They are designed to appeal to a variety of learning styles, to address multiple intelligences, and to incorporate frequent opportunities for physical activity.
**Learners have the opportunity to use the new language in meaningful ways beyond the classroom.
**Learners use their growing awareness of language and language learning strategies to gain increasing independence and self-direction as learners.
(Helena Curtain and Carol Ann Dahlberg, 2001