Skip to main content Skip to main content

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:

  • How might teachers demonstrate sensitivity when teaching vocabulary about family or other topics related to students’ personal lives?
  • In elementary or middle school classes, new students may enter the program with no previous foreign language education. How do you integrate beginners into the learning cycle without causing continuing students to lose momentum?
  • What activities do you use to help students move toward interpersonal communication?
  • How do you design activities that are effective for different kinds of learners, such as kinesthetic learners and visual learners?

Watch the Video

As you watch “Family and Home,” take notes on Ms. Terry’s instructional strategies, particularly how she plans activities, distributes materials, and deals with sensitive issues related to students’ families. 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:

  • What methods does Ms. Terry use to illustrate the vocabulary? When does she lead the activities and when do students work together?
  • How does Ms. Terry address potentially sensitive issues when teaching vocabulary related to the family?
  • What is the purpose of the “What’s missing?” activity? How is this activity different from having students identify what they see? How do students react to this activity?
  • How does Ms. Terry model language during discussions with students?

Look Closer

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

Video Segment: Working in Pairs

You’ll find this segment approximately 16 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Students place cutouts of imaginary family members on a picture of a house, based on sentences provided by their partner.

  • Describe the partner activity from the students’ perspective. What language task does the student with the “A” card have? The student with the “B” card?
  • How does the activity reinforce language learning? How does working with their partner’s sentences, instead of their own, enhance the activity for students?
  • What materials does Ms. Terry prepare for the activity? How do these materials contribute to student success in carrying out the task?


Video Segment: Learning To Read

You’ll find this segment approximately 22 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Students arrange sentence strips (sentence parts written on strips of paper) in different combinations on a board to create different sentences.

  • How does Ms. Terry organize the sentence-strip activity?
  • How does the activity develop students’ oral and reading comprehension skills?
  • How does Ms. Terry assess student comprehension of the sentences?
  • How is this activity similar to strategies used by elementary school language arts teachers?

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