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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 modeling interactions before students do them on their own?
  • What instructional purpose do long-term projects serve in the foreign language classroom?
  • How much independent research can beginning students be expected to do? What proportion of the information gathered should be in the target language? What proportion of English-language information is acceptable?
  • What factors should be considered when asking students to do projects at home?


Watch the Video

As you watch “Touring a French City,” take notes on Ms. Neuman’s instructional strategies, particularly how she organizes and models activities involving the student-built French city. 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 language skills do students acquire through this project?
  • What cultural knowledge do students acquire through this project? What cultural stereotypes must be addressed with projects such as this one?
  • Describe the students’ oral proficiency in terms of their ability to provide information, extend the length of each interaction, and express reactions.


Look Closer

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

Video Segment: Describing the City

You’ll find this segment approximately 7 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Student pairs describe the city buildings to one another.

  • Beginning with Ms. Neuman’s model conversation about the buildings, describe the stages in which students assume control of communication in this activity.
  • What kinds of language functions are students demonstrating (for example, naming, providing information, describing, and expressing opinions)?
  • When talking about the buildings, what proportion of students’ remarks are rehearsed and what proportion are spontaneous?
  • How do students respond to this activity?


Video Segment: Giving Directions

You’ll find this segment approximately 14 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 6 minutes.

As tour guides and tourists, students practice giving and following directions while walking through their city.

  • How does Ms. Neuman model this activity?
  • How do the name tags facilitate student interaction and movement through the city?
  • How does this activity appeal to multiple learning styles and intelligences?
  • How does this activity allow Ms. Neuman to assess student success in giving directions? In following directions?

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.
  • ISBN: 1-57680-731-2