Providing a rich diet of non-targeted language is the most effcient way to propel students to develop long-lasting proficiency in our languages. Non-targeted stories bring many other benefits to our classes besides just language gains: more trust, more engagement, less planning and far less nervousness for us, not to mention more interesting stories.
What if we are compelled to adhere to a grammatical syllabus, yet we still want the above benefits? One way to do that is to teach grammar or tell stories that target grammar and vocabulary approximately 25% of the time and work with non-targeted, richer, more engaging input the other 75% of the time. Of course, those percentages could be altered to meet individual needs.
Doing this will allow us to expose students to repetitions of the elements of the grammatical syllabus while still providing a rich and varied diet of comprehensible input to our students, which they must have if they are to authentically acquire the language.
We will find that much of the grammar we are supposed to be teaching from the grammatical syllabus will come up all the time in the non-targeted work anyway, and the gains in good will that we will feel from the students during the non-targeted work will make the entirety of our work with them more secure.
Our students will be more patient with us during targeted stories or the other mandated, task-oriented learning activities because they have good feelings from the time spent working together as a team with the only goal being to bring their ideas to life in L2.