Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: Workshop
View & Analyze the Video
In “Engaging With Communities,” Patsy Lightbown, Professor Emeritus of Concordia University in Montreal, discusses ways of providing students with opportunities to interact with communities both inside and outside the foreign language classroom. Professor Lightbown also joins a round-table discussion on ways of engaging students in community experiences and on the role of heritage speakers in a foreign language classroom. The discussion is moderated by University of Pittsburgh professor Richard Donato and includes teachers Pablo Muirhead of Shorewood, Wisconsin, and Davita Alston of Newark, Delaware. The video also features excerpts from Mr. Muirhead’s and Ms. Alston’s classes, as well as other classes across different grade levels and languages.* The video addresses the following questions:
- What is community?
- How can teachers access community within and beyond the classroom?
- What roles can heritage speakers play in the classroom?
*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.
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- Why is it important to give students — even beginners — the opportunity to use the language beyond the classroom?
- The Communities goal area often leads teachers to think of field trips or travel abroad. What additional opportunities for connecting with communities does the group discuss?
- What kinds of language and cultural issues are likely to arise as students communicate with native speakers?
2. How can teachers access community within and beyond the classroom?
- What kinds of activities can prepare students for successful interactions with native speakers?
- What is the teacher’s role during interactions with native speakers in the classroom? On field trips? Via email or other technology?
- What kinds of issues might you explore when debriefing after such interactions?
- How has technology changed the kinds of community-building activities that are possible in foreign language classrooms today?
- What issues might come up in a class that has both heritage speakers and second-language learners? How might you address these issues through your teaching practice?
- How can teachers begin to assess what heritage speakers actually know about the target language and their heritage community? What are the challenges of making a complete and accurate assessment?
- What can teachers do to help ensure that heritage speakers are challenged to grow their language abilities and cultural knowledge so that they can use them in community interactions? At the same time, how can teachers maintain the comfort level of traditional learners so that they are not overwhelmed in the presence of heritage speakers?
- In what ways can teachers remain sensitive to the needs of heritage speakers in their classes?
8.1 Before You Watch
To begin this workshop session, you will tap your prior knowledge and experience and then read current research on the benefits of giving students opportunities to interact with the target language community.
Overview 0 Overview
This six-minute video introduces you to the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Workshop series and provides you with a virtual tour of the Web guide. Watch the video to familiarize yourself with what you will be doing as a participant in the workshop, or to launch a study group using the workshop.
workshop 1 Meaningful Interpretation
This session looks at how the interpretation of texts (including documents, paintings, movies, audio recordings, and more) can go beyond literal comprehension and tap into students' background knowledge while fostering critical-thinking skills.
workshop 2 Person to Person
Focusing on interpersonal communication, session participants discuss how students use language to make themselves understood and to understand others. The session also explores how different teaching approaches encourage or discourage meaningful student interaction.
workshop 3 Delivering the Message
Looking at the presentational mode of communication, this session shows how students and teachers consider a variety of audiences as they create and deliver written presentations.
workshop 4 Subjects Matter
Foreign language teachers promote language learning within the context of other curriculum areas, such as geography, science, and language arts. A look at the research helps teachers address the balance between grammatical form and content in the language classroom.
workshop 5 Rooted in Culture
This session looks at the ways teachers can investigate cultural products and practices with their students and how this will help the students develop a deeper sense of the cultural perspective.
workshop 6 Valuing Diversity in Learners
Students come to the language classroom with a range of literacy and language skills, as well as varying cultural backgrounds and experiences. This session looks at how teachers can help students individually progress, as well as use students' unique skills to contribute to the growth of the class as a whole.
workshop 7 Planning for Assessment
Assessment can be embedded in relevant, meaningful, and authentic performance tasks throughout the year, as well as in culminating activities. The session also addresses the value of ongoing feedback to learners.