100% in the Target Language?


Teaching 100% in the TL? 

This year I am struggling with staying 100 % in the target language. Although I slow down and try as much as possible to make the input comprehensible, I still hear students asking- what did she say?  Many students are still shy to ask questions, they want to look "cool" in front of their peers. Many times I just feeling like tirando la toalla and just giving them simple instructions in English. However, I am manteniendo la calma; I don't know for how much longer. I have thought about stopping and making it mandatory for them to ask me questions, but I have doubts about this method as well. How much of class is directed in the target langauge?   

Teaching Grammar?

My other question concerns teaching grammar and providing instructions for projects.  I rarely teach grammar, but when I do mini lessons or give them "flipped" homework, they come to class with questions about the grammar. I struggle with should I stick in the target language or do I provide instructions in clear English? The problem with the former is that I think that it provides a heavier cognitive burden and now the brain has to work overtime to overcome a language barrier in order to get their question answered. I see so many blogs and people discussing 100% usage of the target language, but I am questioning its utility in some cases.

I had originally written this blog post after a rough day at school. I had a girl ditch class that day because she claimed she does not understand what I am saying. This was disheartening.  I had many students looking confused and I was just at my wit's end. I felt that there was something that I should be doing as a teacher to facilitate comprehension. I called my friend Sonja. She is a CI teacher from the Chicagoland area. She illuminated me. She gave me some real brass-tacks advice on how to use the target language appropriately in the class. One of the simple techniques she recommended was writing structures in addition to words in English on the board and then referring to them throughout the class in in the TL. I implemented the very next day in Spanish class to much success. 

What are some techniques you use to facilitate comprehension in the TL?