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Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices

View & Analyze the Video

As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.

Before You Watch

Respond to the following questions:

  • What are the benefits of having students work with authentic, linguistically challenging materials?
  • How do you design group work to ensure successful communication?
  • What is the teacher’s role during group work?

Watch the Video

As you watch “Creating Travel Advice,” take notes on Ms. Pettigrew’s instructional strategies, particularly how she communicates with her students and how students communicate with one another. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning in this lesson.

Reflect on the Video

Review your notes, and then respond to the following questions:

  • How does Ms. Pettigrew encourage communication as she interacts with students?
  • How do students use their authentic materials during the discussion? What content from other disciplines is in the materials? What challenges do the materials present?
  • What instructional approaches does Ms. Pettigrew use to make the materials accessible?

Look Closer

Take a second look at Ms. Pettigrew’s class to focus on specific teaching strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.

Video Segment: Understanding a Letter

You’ll find this segment approximately 8 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 3 minutes.

Students read a letter from a Chilean teacher requesting travel advice for her students.

  • Why does Ms. Pettigrew ask students to read the letter twice? What is the purpose of the first reading? The second reading?
  • How do these reading strategies promote interpretive communication?
  • How does the letter establish a context for the remaining activities?

Video Segment: Group Interactions

You’ll find this segment approximately 11 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

The groups refer to their research to come up with travel recommendations for the Chilean students.

  • How do students interact with one another?
  • How does Ms. Pettigrew create an environment in which students feel comfortable working with one another?
  • How does working in a group advance students’ understanding of the materials? Do you think students would have reached the same level of understanding if each had worked alone?

Video Segment: Correcting Errors in Meaning

You’ll find this segment approximately 21 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.

The groups report their recommendations to the class. As Jesús presents his group’s opinions, Ms. Pettigrew asks questions to clarify what he means.

  • What communicative errors does Jesús make during his report to the class?
  • How does Ms. Pettigrew help him clarify his miscommunication?
  • How does Jesús react to Ms. Pettigrew’s comments?
  • Jesús says “I need” (Necesito) when what he means is “The students need” (Necesitan). He then clarifies the subject of the phrase (the students/los estudiantes), but still makes a verb-form error (necesitas/second-person singular instead of necesitan/third-person plural). Why do you think Ms. Pettigrew lets this error go?
  • Ms. Pettigrew explains her guidelines for correction. How does she follow her guidelines in this segment?

Series Directory

Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. 2003. 2016.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-731-2