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Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: Workshop

Delivering the Message Before you Watch

To begin this workshop session, you will tap your prior knowledge and experience and then read current research on how specific writing concepts and strategies can be applied to presentational tasks.

Reflect on Your Experience

Consider the types of written and oral presentational tasks that you have designed for students, then answer the following questions. You may want to save your answers in order to reflect on them again at the end of the session.

  1. What kinds of presentational activities serve to engage students? How do you plan for students’ engagement when designing a presentational activity in which students are presenters? In which students are the audience?
  1. What kinds of audiences could be the focus of a student presentation? What is the effect of identifying an audience other than the teacher?
  1. What goal might you have for a presentational activity in your class? In which part of a lesson or unit do you typically include oral or written presentations by students? What activities do you try to build into a unit to help students be successful in producing the presentational product?

Examine the Research

Examine the Research

Read the article listed below, then answer the following questions.


“Teaching Foreign Language Writing”
Part 1 (PDF, 639 K) Part 2 (PDF, 629 K) Part 3 (PDF, 528 K)
This article talks about the importance of teaching foreign language writing at all levels of language study.

Scott, Virginia Mitchell. “Teaching Foreign Language Writing.” In Rethinking Foreign Language Writing, 140-170. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1996.

Reading Questions

  1. This article focuses on writing. What aspects of the article also hold true for oral presentations? What differences would have to be addressed?
  1. What advantages do you see in using “prompts” to focus a writing task? An oral task? What kinds of prewriting strategies do you tend to use for your writing tasks? For your oral tasks?
  1. How has a process approach to writing helped make students more successful at writing than they may have been with previous models? Why are the drafting and revising stages important in presentational communication?
  1. Analyze the three examples of a writing task that has been spiraled for students at different proficiency levels (“Teaching Foreign Language Writing,” Figs. 2-4). How does the task differ from one level to the next? How is it the same? How does modifying the task enable you to use the same content at each level? What types of presentational tasks are appropriate for beginning students? How might you increase the expectation of what students will produce at the intermediate and pre-advanced stages?
  1. The article lists 10 suggestions for teaching writing from the beginning stages of language study. Which three suggestions strike you as particularly relevant to your teaching situation? Why?


Submit your written responses to the Reading Questions.

Optional Article
You may elect to read the following article for a deeper understanding of the effects of error correction on students’ writing progress.

“Effects of the Red Pen” (PDF, 589 K)
This article details a study that suggests student achievement is enhanced by free-writing exercises, and that teacher corrections do not significantly improve writing skills.

Semke, H. “Effects of the Red Pen.” Foreign Language Annals 17 (1984): 195-202.