Reflect on Your Practice
As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.
- What technology do you routinely use in your classroom? What special units have you designed that rely on technological support? What opportunities are there in your school for finding support for and collaborating on technological presentations?
- How do you engage students with art forms from other cultures?
- What opportunities do you present to students to learn about the variety of cultures in which your target language is spoken?
Watch Other Videos
Watch other videos in the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 library for more examples of teaching methodologies like those you've just seen. Note: All videos in this series are subtitled in English.
Russian Cities, Russian Stories (Russian) illustrates a reading-to-writing strategy used with folktales, and Routes to Culture (Spanish) shows students experiencing culture through authentic musical instruments and traditional music.
Put It Into Practice
Try these ideas in your classroom.
- Collaborate with language arts teachers at your school to develop graphic organizers that can be used in both languages. This will help students see that interpreting texts is the same regardless of the language. Ms. Granville used the popular language arts strategy of story mapping (problem/action/resolution) to focus on key vocabulary and spelling and to push students' language and thinking skills to a higher level. For more advanced students, work with English literature teachers to create more sophisticated organizers that focus on story elements such as plot, conflict, and dénouement.
- Share folktales with students to give them cultural perspectives while teaching new vocabulary and reinforcing key grammatical structures. Ms. Granville's story contained references to agriculture (often a topic in folktales), colloquial language (patate), a realistic situation using past-tense actions, and a moral that reflected on the characters valued or mocked in Cajun culture. Because many folktales are written in a traditional language style that can be hard for students to read, you might need to retell them, as Ms. Granville did, in ways that make them comprehensible to students. (This is perfectly appropriate, since folktales began as an oral genre.) Save the presentation elements as a set so that you can reuse them in subsequent years or with students at other levels.