I've read over half the student journals from the first couple of weeks. Some contain just a few sentences that I can hardly make out while others are filled with well written prose and a few minor errors.
Yesterday, one of the more fluent students introduced the idea of students' paying each time they speak Spanish in class. I kept quiet and let the class hash it out. The conversation generated more English than I'd heard out of most of the students since we started just over two weeks ago. In the end, the class decided they might be able to implement this rule later, but for now it would be best to just remind each other to speak English in class. The student who initiated the rule said he would be in class the next day at 8 am to help anyone who wanted to show up.
My mind is beginning to draw parallels between students in this class and those from the previous one. In terms of classroom behavior, I see some real Doppelgängers. For example, J. who, just like G. on the last course, distracts himself with a small grammar he carries with him as soon as the whole class sets out on a task as individuals. And, like G. he's being teased continuously for a funny mistake he made the first week. I wonder: Do people like J. and G. set themselves up for it then take it in stride or is it all brought on by forces they cannot control. Maybe both?
Then there's A., who, just like I. from the last course, likes to listen, write things down then practice at home. She doesn't mind being alone and prefers to talk only during the break, usually one-to-one with me.
I could go on and on. It's spooky! Maybe old age is setting in now as I begin to pigeonhole everyone. Of course, we teachers fit into students' boxes neatly as well.
So, after nearly three weeks of class, the students have more or less self-regulated themselves to the point of asking that everyone have a go in English without translation first, scaffolded by classmates. The primary reason seems to be that they will be taking a credit class in late September, where the lectures and assigned reading will be only in English.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]