Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practice (produced by WGBH Educational Foundation with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, created in conjunction with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), 2003, ISBN: 1-57680-731-2).

This video library illustrates effective instruction and assessment strategies for teaching foreign languages in US grades K-12 (primary, middle, and high school). The library includes language classrooms in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Chinese. All videos are subtitled in English and are appropriate for primary or secondary teachers of any foreign language and include a 30-minute introduction and 60-minute overview of ACTFL’s Standards for Foreign Language Learning and new assessment practices, as well as 27 classroom programs. In the half-hour classroom programs, teachers from schools across the country model interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication throughout a range of grade and competency levels. Concepts of culture, comparisons, connections to students’ lives, and the importance of community are also integrated into the lessons.

A website and print guide accompany the video programs, providing a complete professional development experience. Please click here to visit the website. Please note that you will need to complete a free registration form before viewing any of the sample videos. If you would like to order the video library, please refer to their list of international distributors for purchase information.

Teacher Feedback:

Assessment Strategies (description from website: This program offers a detailed look at efforts to improve assessment in the foreign language classroom. Three case studies feature foreign language teachers using innovative assessment methods such as the Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) model, Performance Tasks, and Backward Design. Each of these case studies follows a teacher as she works through the process with her students, from setting guidelines and modeling to giving immediate and helpful feedback on performances):

"They stress that students need o be able to do x, y or z….rather than to know x, y or z….in other words that teaching should be task based rather than grammar based and that the tasks should be authentic. They understand that the grammar comes with the task. The children are more motivated as a result. I also like their emphasis on finding out what the students do know rather than what they don't know. It is a very positive learning experience. They point out that instruction and assessment are not 2 different things….assessment should not be something you do after teaching is over. One speaker says "if we teach and test as if language learning is just translation in the head, you'll never develop that performance ability". I would say that this is a video that all language teachers should see".

Chicken Pox (description from website: French I, kindergarten: Jai Scott's French immersion class uses the topic of chicken pox, from an Arthur book and a French song, and total physical response (TPR) movements to learn new vocabulary for the parts of the body. The class practices emerging literacy skills by matching vocabulary labels to a drawing of a person):

"The kindergarten lesson on chicken pox was nicely taught but (as with the grade 2 lesson on the world and the solar system) I felt it had been quite rehearsed. I think watching the kindergarten video would worry a lot of teachers…they would feel inadequate by comparison because it shows an unrealistic level of language achievement in kindergarten children. Also I'm not so sure that the language is so necessary for kindergarten children. Nor did the children interact between themselves very much. I think children of this age need real every-day sort of language and interaction with each other. The ambiance was good in both lessons. With the grade 2 lesson there was a lot of movement which helps learning…and physical manipulation of words and map to focus on. I also liked the way she gave the children the chance to be teacher".

--Christine Prowse, King's Alfred School


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