Reflect on Your Practice
As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.
- How aware are your students of the rationale behind your instructional approach? How do you keep them informed?
- How do you determine when and how to intervene in pair and group work?
- When a grammatical form or concept is the focus of a lesson, what device (or hook) do you use to help students understand usage? How do you put the grammar practice in a context that's interesting to students?
- How do you choose children's literature that is authentic but also accessible in terms of language level and style?
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.
Routes to Culture (Spanish) illustrates students expanding conversation beyond sentence level, and Chicken Pox (French) demonstrates the reading of children's literature with kindergarten students.
Put It Into Practice
Try these ideas in your classroom.
- Incorporate authentic readings into thematic units to provide students with new information and develop their reading strategies. Ms. Tulou's students read Web articles about the community of Hull. They did not have to read and understand every word; rather, they developed their ability to scan for specific information. You can extend this activity by giving students the opportunity to work on independent readings similar to ones they do as a class. For example, following a lesson like the one above, students could select another community in a French-speaking country and look for articles describing that community. They could then go through the text and identify activities that they would like to do if they visited that community. This would allow them to test their ability to read independently while gathering new information to share with classmates.
- Look for opportunities to include authentic children's literature when studying particular grammatical structures. Stories that use repetition and a parallel structure can reinforce grammatical lessons while conveying meaning in a way that appeals to students of all ages. The book Si j'étais un animal (If I were an animal) repeatedly uses an if-clause construction that gave Ms. Tulou's students additional examples of the conditional form in action. Students also created their own variations of the text by writing additional sentences in the same style. The activity can be further extended by having students create new illustrated pages for the book or write their own book using the same grammatical structure. For example, continuing with the community theme, students could write books titled If I Lived in Outer Space or If I Were the Mayor.