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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 some advantages of using language-based games with advanced learners?
  • How can teachers transform current events into teachable moments when extensive preparation is not possible or useful?
  • What kinds of guidelines might you set for student-created skits or presentations?
  • How can teachers manage appropriate activities for students at different levels within the same class?

Watch the Video

As you watch “Performing With Confidence,” take notes on Ms. Heno’s instructional strategies, particularly how she has organized various activities for her AP French students. 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 do the warm-up games help students prepare for the AP Exam?
  • What sources do students use to get information about the upcoming French presidential election?
  • How does Ms. Heno probe for cultural comparisons between French elections and U.S. elections?
  • How do students prepare for the mock celebrity talk show? What guidelines are they given?
  • How does Ms. Heno make her dual-level class inclusive, not only for French IV and V students but for traditional, heritage, and native learners as well?

Look Closer

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

Video Segment: Comparing French and U.S. Governments

You’ll find the first part of this segment approximately 12 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 4 minutes. You’ll find the second part of this segment approximately 17 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 1 minute.

Ms. Heno and her students discuss the French system of government and elections, and compare them to those of the United States.

  • How does Ms. Heno lead the discussion on elections from a current-events perspective? How does she respond to students’ opinions?
  • What prior knowledge or misunderstandings about the U.S. system do students reveal?
  • What knowledge do students gain about French elections? How does Ms. Heno address any inaccuracies?
  • Given that the election coverage is ongoing, how does Ms. Heno end the discussion on this particular day?

Video Segment: Researching Current Events

You’ll find this segment approximately 15 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Students research a variety of sources to prepare for a discussion about the French presidential election.

  • What kinds of sources do students use for their research? How do these sources reflect students’ focus on current events? What other sources could students use?
  • How do the students reading the magazine interact with each other and interpret what they are reading?

Video Segment: Performing in a Talk Show

You’ll find this segment approximately 18 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 6 minutes.

Students take on the roles of celebrities and journalists in a mock talk show.

  • Identify the different roles Ms. Heno has created so that all students are involved. What communicative tasks are assigned to each role?
  • How does the student host balance her prepared remarks (presentational) with her spontaneous interaction with the celebrities and journalists (interpersonal)?
  • How do the celebrities communicate with the journalists? With one another?
  • How have the journalists prepared? What kind of spontaneity do they exhibit in their interactions with the celebrities?
  • What is the level of student enjoyment? How does it facilitate interpersonal communication at intermediate/advanced levels of proficiency?

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