Russian Language Journal


foreign language, instructors, learners, communication


In July 2012, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) adopted a position statement calling for instructors and learners to use the target language (TL) for 90% plus of instructional time. ACTFL’s recommendation applies to all levels of instruction (K-16) and makes no distinctions for the degree of difference of the TL from the learners’ first language (L1). Implementing this recommendation means that no more than five minutes of a 50-minute class hour should take place in the L1 of the learners, whether that class is the first day of high school Russian or a college class at an advanced level. For beginning Russian classes at the college level, this recommendation raises the question of how to conduct 45 minutes of instruction in the TL in a way that is comprehensible to the learners. Implementing this recommendation may be particularly challenging for new teachers and beginning teaching assistants, especially if their language skills may not yet be solidly at an advanced level.