Linguacafe pict.pngLinguaCafé

LinguaCafé is an interpersonal activity that works best as part of a routine. The routine of it lowers anxiety over time.

How it works:

Students are instructed to create a "Café-like" experience. Following the following guidelines:

1. Greeting: Students must greet their partner.
  • Students are usually expected to stay in a certain area but can walk around choosing partners to converse with.

2. Target Language: Must stay in the target language.
  • A warning may be given; however if it continues, they are to sit down away from the Café.
  • Most students wanted to be engaged with the rest of the class. Eventually even the most reluctant students do not want to sit down

3. Interaction: Any level conversation is allowed.
  • One word, complete sentences, reading from notes or not.
  • The reason of allowing students to use notes reduces anxiety, encourages practice with reading and pronunciation of more challenging words and to be honest, considering an authentic interaction, personally I have used notes/dictionaries in countries where I did not speak the language.

4. Close the Conversation: ¡Adiós!
  • Students are encourages and expected to change partners frequently. Having students close the conversation is a great tool to shift to another partner.


  • Safe Environment: LinguaCafé creates a safe environment for students to practice.

  • Interculturality: Encourages interculturality in the classroom! Students who may not normally interact often do so during LinguaCafé.

  • Role Models: Students make great role models for their ability levels.

  • Reluctant Speakers: Using puppets can encourage and support reluctant speakers.

  • Formative Assessment/Feedback: The facilitator can do formative assessments during the activity, encourage purposeful pairing, provide corrective feedback in a natural setting.

  • New Music! New authentic music is played in the back ground to help "train" students as to when LinguaCafé is starting and ending. It also relaxes students and transitions them in and out of the activity with out additional instruction allowing students and the facilitator to stay in the target language.

Prompts: can be used to focus the conversations for students with more vocabulary and functional chunks.

  • Earliest Language Learners: These could be lower level or new students. Encourage them to point out colors, count, introduce themselves. Sometimes the reenact activities from the class, so consider activities during class time that can be transferable to LinguaCafé. For example: Simon says-like activities.

  • Funny Prompts: Humor is a great way to reduce anxiety. One of my favorite prompts is the following:
    • "You are at a birthday party for one of your friends and I (your Spanish teacher) show up! I would like to practice speaking Spanish with you at the party. Of course, you just want to hang out with your friends, so think of a polite way to excuse yourself!"
    • Try some more realistic prompts that they may actually encounter outside of school rather than out of the country. This way, when they find themselves in that situation they will tell you all about it!! Or if you see them in the grocery store and start speaking Spanish, you know they really don't have to "Wash their hair".