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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:

  • How do you develop verbal communication skills in high school students who are in Level III or beyond?
  • How do you balance teaching language structures and content in a standards-based classroom?
  • When teaching content about communities, what kinds of authentic materials might you use? What final project might you design?

Watch the Video

As you watch “Comparing Communities,” take notes on Ms. Tulou’s instructional strategies, particularly how she integrates the study of grammar into readings of children’s stories and discussions about different communities. 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 strategies does Ms. Tulou use to move students toward the goal of “expanding” language?
  • In what ways does Ms. Tulou make the grammar topic (conditional tense) meaningful for students? How does she address different learning styles when teaching grammar?
  • What observations can you make about students’ awareness of their own learning? How does Ms. Tulou’s approach to instruction contribute to this awareness?
  • How has Ms. Tulou given the lesson a social studies/civics focus?

Look Closer

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

Video Segment: Acquiring Information

You’ll find this segment approximately 6 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 2 minutes.

Students read an article about the community of Hull to identify activities that they would like to do if they visited there.

  • What prior knowledge do students bring to the interpretive reading task? What is the prereading activity?
  • What scanning task do students perform? What is its purpose?
  • What reading strategies does Ms. Tulou encourage students to use?
  • Analyze the student pairs’ problem solving. In the first pair, how does the student help her partner understand patinage (skating)? What is the result? How does Ms. Tulou help another pair of students negotiate the meaning of baignade (bathing)?

Video Segment: Practicing New Grammar

You’ll find this segment approximately 14 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 3 minutes.

After completing a worksheet that prompts use of the conditional tense, students use the new tense to share personal preferences with one another.

  • How does the activity’s design focus on the use of the conditional tense while allowing for conversation?
  • Observe the student pairs and try to identify their use of the conditional tense in conversation. How prominent is the use of the new tense?
  • In the second featured pair (boy in blue shirt, girl in black shirt), what elements of real conversation do you hear?
  • Describe the balance between grammatical practice and interpersonal communication.

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