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Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: Workshop

This video workshop introduces middle school teachers to diverse American writers and presents dynamic instructional strategies.

A video workshop for K-12 teachers; 8 half-hour video programs, workshop guide, and website.

The Teaching Foreign Languages workshop will help K-12 foreign language teachers improve their practice by making connections between the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning and current research in foreign language education. Workshop components include eight lively half-hour video programs with leading researchers and practicing teachers discussing how the standards play out in day-to-day classroom situations, a workshop guide available online and in print, and interactive activities on the web.

Become a student yourself as you watch the videos, complete a range of activities designed to stimulate your teaching, and prepare to conduct action research in your own classroom. You will come away with a deeper understanding of the national foreign language standards, and with ideas for implementing effective assessment strategies and working with learners across a range of language and skill levels.

About this Workshop

The eight video programs feature the work of leading researchers and the reflections of practicing teachers in a lively round-table discussion format. Classroom examples from the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 video library are shown throughout the workshop videos to illustrate the ideas being discussed. The companion workshop guide provides a stimulating learning experience for individual teachers or professional development study groups.

Become a student yourself as you watch the videos, complete a range of activities in the guide, and prepare to conduct research in your own classroom. Watch the Overview video in the first unit.

To learn more about the workshop videos and guide, continue reading the About This Workshop section. Here you will access:

  • summaries of each workshop session;
  • descriptions of each guide component;
  • information about obtaining course credit;
  • suggestions for using the guide alone or with a study group;
  • tips for facilitating a workshop;
  • an introduction to each of the video participants;
  • a description of each of the National Standards;
  • technical notes to help you fully experience the content, interactivity, and design of the web guide; and
  • an introduction to the action research process that you will undertake as part of this course.

Individual Workshop Descriptions

1. Meaningful Interpretation
In this session, you will look at ways of building your students’ interpretive skills to move them beyond literal comprehension toward deeper interpretation of authentic texts. You will examine how to create effective interpretive tasks that tap into students’ background knowledge while fostering critical thinking skills, and how to select appropriate authentic texts — such as art, film, folktales, advertisements, and books — based on their cultural and interdisciplinary content.
2. Person to Person
Focusing on interpersonal communication, this session addresses the importance of classroom conversations. You will explore how different teaching approaches encourage or discourage meaningful interaction, and then analyze the patterns of communication that exist in your classroom. You will then develop or add to your repertoire of effective communication strategies and plan for classroom interactions that help students improve their communication skills while they learn content.
3. Delivering the Message
In this session, you will examine how to plan and organize effective presentational tasks for students that help them focus on a particular audience. You will look at ways to help students build strategies for completing written and oral presentational tasks, and explore how you might spiral tasks to make them appropriate for students at different proficiency levels.
4. Subjects Matter
This session addresses strategies for promoting language learning within the context of other curriculum areas, such as science and language arts. You will explore ways to effectively integrate content into language learning and choose the appropriate content according to your students’ various ages and proficiency levels.
5. Rooted in Culture
In this session, you will focus on how to integrate cultural concepts into your foreign language teaching or extend the cultural content in your existing lessons. You will also analyze ways to move your students from a basic understanding of cultural products and practices toward a deeper sense of cultural perspectives, both in the target culture and in their own culture.
6. Valuing Diversity in Learners
This session addresses how to respond to the diversity of learners in a foreign language classroom. You will reflect on student differences that can affect foreign language instruction and learning — such as varying literacy and language skills, cultural backgrounds and experiences, and learning disabilities and approaches — and consider strategies for helping all students progress in their learning.
7. Planning for Assessment
This session examines how assessment can be embedded in relevant, meaningful, and authentic performance tasks throughout the year. You will explore ways of planning and carrying out assessments that inform both you and your students about their progress. You will also look at ways to provide students with feedback that helps them track their progress.
8. Engaging With Communities
In this session, you will identify opportunities for students to use the target language with native or fluent speakers. In exploring such community interactions (including in-person, telephone, and electronic interactions), you will examine ways to prepare the students and the native speakers prior to their interactions, monitor and assist during the interactions, and debrief the interactions afterwards to ensure a successful experience for all.


Workshop Guide Production
Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Workshop is a production of WGBH Interactive and WGBH Educational Productions for Annenberg Media.

Copyright 2004 WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved.

Director, Educational Productions
Denise Blumenthal

Executive Producer
Ted Sicker

Senior Producer
Arthur Smith

Curriculum Developer
Anna Brooks

Content Developer
June K. Phillips, Weber State University

Content Developer (Action Research)
Richard Donato, University of Pittsburgh

Martha G. Abbott, Fairfax County Public Schools
Pablo Muirhead, Shorewood High School
Paul Sandrock, Wisconsin Department of Instruction
Jane Shuffelton, Brighton High School

Lisa Rosenthal
Christian Wise

Michael McCrary

With the assistance of
Mary Susan Blout
Jill Farinelli
Jill Unger

Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century reprinted courtesy of the National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, a program of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Copyright 1999. All rights reserved.

Workshop Video Production
Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Workshop is produced by WGBH Educational Productions for Annenberg Media.

Copyright 2004 WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved.

Richard Donato
University of Pittsburgh

Alvino E. Fantini
School for International Training

Marjorie Hall Haley
George Mason University

Joan Kelly Hall
Pennsylvania State University

Patsy M. Lightbown
Concordia University, Montreal

Paul Kei Matsuda
University of New Hampshire

Virginia Scott
Vanderbilt University

Allison Zmuda
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

Participating Teachers
Davita Alston
Shue-Medill Middle School

Yo Azama
North Salinas High School

Barbara Pope Bennett
Benjamin Banneker Senior High School

Leslie Birkland
Lake Washington High School

Lauri Dabbieri
Westfield High School

Marylee DiGennaro
North Haven High School

Paris Granville
Pleasant Hill Middle School

Lori Langer de Ramirez
Herricks High School

Pablo Muirhead
Shorewood High School

Michel Pasquier
Herricks High School

John Pedini
Driscoll School

Fran Pettigrew
McLean High School

Elizabeth Runnalls
Nanuet Senior High School

Jai Scott
Ecole Kenwood Alternative Elementary School

Jane Shuffelton
Brighton High School

Debra Terry
Rebecca M. Johnson Elementary School

Core Advisors
Martha G. Abbott
Fairfax County Public Schools

June K. Phillips
Weber State University

General Advisors
Ruta Couet
South Carolina Department of Education

Marjorie Hall Haley
George Mason University

Janis Jensen
New Jersey Department of Education

Yu-Lan Lin
Boston Public Schools

Kathleen M. Riordan
Springfield Public Schools

Paul Sandrock
Wisconsin Department of Instruction

Duarte M. Silva
California Foreign Language Project

Collaborating Partner
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

John Browne
Philip Gay

Associate Producers
Sara Ferguson
Jayne Sportelli

Dickran H. Manoogian
Glenn Hunsberger

Web Content
Arthur R. Smith
Anna Brooks

Production Manager
Mary Ellen Gardiner

Production Assistants
Michael Kilmurray
Jill Unger

Studio Director
Philip Gay

Scenic Design
Coburn Bennett
John Murphy

Stage Manager
Ron Milton

Steve Baracsi

Cate Conklin

John Swenson

Lighting Director
Chas Norton

Beth Cosentino

Jeff Gentile
Bob Martin
Mike Mulvey
Howard Powell

Louise Daniels Miller

Online Editor
Glenn Hunsberger

Sound Mix
Dan Lesiw

Graphic Design
Gaye Korbet
Bruce Walker

Additional Graphics
The Japan Forum Photo Data Bank
The Japan Foundation
Minna no Kyozai Site
Photo Panel Bank Series
Series IV, No. 002 (© by the Japan Foundation)
Series IV, No. 004 (© by the Japan Foundation)
Series IV, No. 005 (© by the Japan Foundation)
Series IV, No. 006 (© by the Japan Foundation)
Series IV, No. 100 (© by the Japan Foundation)

David Grimes

Additional Music
“A Nos Actes Manqués”
a/c: Jean-Jacques Goldman, pub: JRG Editions Musicales, Music Video: dir: Bernard Schmitt, SONY Music Entertainment (France). Words and music from the album Fredericks Goldman Jones (1991).

“Zydeco Sont Pas Salé”
from ARHOOLIE CD 301 – Clifton Chenier ( and composed by Clifton Chenier, by Tradition Music Co. (BMI) adm. by BUG Music Co.

Alisha Jansky

Office Coordinator
Justin Brown

Business Manager
Maria Constantinides

Executive Producer
Amy Tonkonogy

For Annenberg Media

Project Officer
Michele McLeod

Editorial Consultant
Libby Riker