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Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: Workshop

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Video Summary

In “Delivering the Message,” Professor Paul Kei Matsuda of the University of New Hampshire addresses how a consideration of the audience impacts presentational activities. Professor Matsuda also joins a round-table discussion on effective strategies for designing and assessing presentational tasks, moderated by University of Pittsburgh professor Richard Donato, and including teachers Jane Shuffelton of Rochester, New York, and Marylee DiGennaro of North Haven, Connecticut. The video also features excerpts from Ms. Shuffelton’s and Ms. DiGennaro’s classes, as well as other classes across different grade levels and languages.* The video addresses the following questions:

  • Who is the audience?
  • How does audience influence oral and written presentations?
  • How does feedback improve presentational communication?

*The classroom excerpts featured in this video are from the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 video library. To learn more about the featured lessons, go to the Library Videos Chart.

Watch the Video

Watch the video “Delivering the Message,” and take notes as you watch. Consider pausing at the end of each section to answer the questions before moving on to the next section. If you are working in a group, discuss your responses; if you are working alone, reflect on them in your journal.

1. Who is the audience?
In this section, Professor Matsuda describes different types of audiences that students might have for their presentational tasks. The group then discusses ways in which presentational tasks could take place.
  • What makes presentational communication different from interpersonal communication, even if the audience is the teacher and/or other students? What role do interpretive and interpersonal communication play in preparing students for the presentational mode of communication?
  • What kinds of audiences, other than the classroom participants, did the classroom excerpts show? What other kinds of audiences have you targeted in presentational activities in your class?
  • Ms. DiGennaro likens presentational communication to the giving and receiving of a gift. Using examples from the classroom excerpts and/or your own classroom, expand on this metaphor to show the importance of making students aware of their audience. What other metaphor(s) might be used to describe this communication mode?


2. How does audience influence oral and written presentations?
In this section, Professor Matsuda discusses presentational writing as a process. The group then addresses the effect of audience on student motivation and on writing.
  • What is the effect of a distant audience (such as a pen pal) on student motivation to write or to speak?
  • How does the identification of audience influence the three stages of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, and revising?
  • In the video excerpt, how does Ms. Lori Langer de Ramirez use audience to focus the writing task for her students?


3. How does feedback improve presentational communication?
In this section, Professor Matsuda stresses the importance of providing feedback that goes beyond the grammatical aspect of the text. The group then discusses ways that they assess presentational tasks, including the use of rubrics.
  • What aspects of a presentation do you focus on when providing feedback? What, if any, challenges have you faced in assessing and providing feedback on these aspects? What other key characteristics of presentational communication would you evaluate?
  • What are the characteristics of a good rubric? How would you align letter grades and rubrics?
  • What role would audience play in the design of a rubric? How does an awareness of the audience influence the degree of accuracy you expect from students?