Another brief post by Wolfgang Butzkamm, this time on the Sandwich Technique, a useful tool towards what could be called Butzkamm’s mission statement: “We have to understand the apparent paradox that by using the mother tongue skillfully we will eventually manage to conduct whole lessons in the foreign language only”.
by Wolfgang Butzkamm, Aachen University (RWTH), Germany
Let me share with you what I think is the most important single technique in foreign language teaching, i.e. the sandwich technique. It is a prominent feature of C.J. Dodson’s bilingual method (1967) and was probably invented by him. When modeling a dialogue sentence for students to repeat, the teacher not only gives an oral mother tongue equivalent for unknown words or phrases, but repeats the foreign language phrase before students imitate it: L2 => L1 => L2.
German teacher of English: Let me try. Lass mich mal versuchen. Let me try.
Students: Let me try.
With this simple trick, interference from the mother tongue is avoided and students can fully concentrate on repeating the foreign phrase correctly. This bilingual technique makes it easier to establish the foreign language as the working language of the classroom. By and by, the teacher introduces…
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