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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 is the role of a textbook in your teaching? How do you decide when to supplement or replace textbook activities or content?
  • What opportunities do you give students to practice the target language with native speakers?
  • How do you design exercises that begin with a focus on grammar and build toward interpersonal communication?

Watch the Video

As you watch “Hearing Authentic Voices,” take notes on Ms. Alston’s instructional strategies, particularly how she encourages students to extend their language and how she organizes the native speakers’ visit to the classroom. 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. Alston encourage students to extend their answers beyond single words and short phrases?
  • What do you observe about students’ energy level and degree of participation in the activities?
  • How does Ms. Alston design group and pairs activities to assure success?
  • How does Ms. Alston prepare the native speakers for the classroom visit? What is her role during their visit?

Look Closer

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

Video Segment: Brainstorming

You’ll find this segment approximately 8 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 5 minutes.

In groups of four, students list what they like to do in their spare time, then share their lists with the class.

  • What roles are assigned to students in the group activity? What is the purpose of assigning these roles?
  • What is Ms. Alston’s role during the group work?
  • What kinds of interactions occur among the students?
  • How is the group work wrapped up?

Video Segment: Interacting With Native Speakers

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

Students who are native Spanish speakers visit the class to talk about what they do with their spare time.

  • How does Ms. Alston put the native speakers at ease?
  • How does Ms. Alston facilitate understanding between the native speakers and the students in her class? How do the native speakers show that they understand the students?
  • What cultural information do the students learn?
  • What value does the interaction with native speakers have beyond this lesson?

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