Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Foreign Languages K–12

A Library of Classroom Practices

World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. The United States must educate students who are equipped linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American 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. Children who come to school from non-English-speaking backgrounds should also have opportunities to develop further proficiencies in their first language.

Statement of Philosophy — World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

In 1993, four professional organizations (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, American Association of Teachers of French, American Association of Teachers of German, and American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese) began development of national standards for foreign language learning. The organizations appointed a task force, representing a variety of languages, levels of instruction, program models, and geographic regions, to define the content standards -- what students should know and be able to do -- in foreign language education in grades K–12.

In 1996, with extensive input from the broader professional community, the task force published Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century. The document identifies five goal areas: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities—called the Five Cs. Each goal area contains two to three content standards that describe the knowledge and abilities all students should have by the end of high school. The Standards are designed to inform state and local standards and curriculum frameworks of the recommended approaches and expectations for each school or district. In 1999, with help from seven additional professional organizations, the task force expanded the document to include language-specific standards. This became the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century. In 2015, the original Standards were revised to the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. The revisions emphasize how learning world languages supports literacy development and real-world applications.

The classrooms in the Teaching Foreign Languages K–12 library present examples of the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages in action. The Introduction page of each lesson's Web or print guide lists the Standards addressed by that lesson—those that are most evident in the lesson or that students in beginning language classes are taking first steps toward developing. Standards that are only briefly touched upon in a lesson are not listed for that lesson.

To learn more about the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, view "Standards and the Five Cs." The video provides an introduction to and illustration of the goal areas and Standards, using clips from classrooms in the Teaching Foreign Languages K–12 library. Use the Standards and the Five Cs Web or print guide to inspire group discussion and personal reflection as you view the video.

For purchasing information of the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, go to General Resources.

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