Presents essential skills and knowledge foreign language teachers need to consider themselves part of the profession.
1. Joining the profession
2. ACTFL Guidelines, National Standards
3. Communicative Language Teaching
4. Professional Development
What you need to know
According to Dr. Garza, the three essential things you need to be a language teachers are:
A knowledge of the spoken and written language.
A knowledge of how language in general is put together.
A knowledge of pedagogy.
How much of each do you possess? What do you need to work on?
In other fields, what does it mean to be a professional?
What does it mean to be a professional language teacher?
Do you agree with Dr. Abrams?
Currently, what professional activities do you participate in? How often do you talk to other teachers about your own teaching? Where do you get new ideas for your classroom practice?
A number of different teaching approaches have waxed and waned in popularity.
How did you learn a second/foreign language? What characterized the teaching approach? Did you find it successful? Enjoyable?
ACTFL = American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Establishing national standards
1978: President’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies
Recommended the establishment of nationally recognized performance standards, along with funding to achieve this effort
1970s: FSI and ETS cooperated with other groups to establish a proficiency procedure; The Common Yardstick
1981: ACTFL – “A Design for Measuring and Communicating Foreign Language Proficiency”
Resulted in ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines
To define and measure language ability in speaking, listening, reading and writing
Set of interrelated criteria used to evaluate elicited samples of language
Read through the ACTFL proficiency levels (e.g., Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior) and estimate your own linguistic proficiency. Note that you may be stronger in one skill than in another (e.g., stronger in reading than in speaking).
National Standards (est. 1996)
“ Language and communication are at the heart of human experience. The United States must educate students who are equipped linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully in a pluralistic society and abroad. This imperative envisions a future in which ALL students will develop and maintain proficiency in English and at least one other language, modern or classical.”
(Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, 2006, p. 7).
National Standards – Goal Areas
National Standards – Discussion
As a teacher of foreign languages:
What do these Standards mean to you?
How can you see yourself incorporating them into your classes?
What challenges might you predict in trying to fit the Standards in?
Communicative Language Teaching
What do you understand “communicative language teaching” to be?
Do you agree with Dr. Abrams that the grammar, the lexicon, etc. are all “subservient” to the speech act? Explain.
Communicative Language Teaching
Do you agree with Dr. Garza that it is important to incorporate authentic language texts in our classrooms? Explain.
What advantages and disadvantages are there to using authentic texts? How can we overcome the latter?
Integrating the four skills
Why do you think that integration poses a particular challenge for beginning teachers? Do they lack practice in integrating language skills or is this simply a more intellectually challenging endeavor?
How well do your lesson plans form a cohesive pedagogical sequence?
How can we achieve such a sequence?
Putting methods into practice
Developing your teaching skills is an iterative process that requires multiple attempts at mastering a new practice: