Core Practice #3 of World Language Teaching

Lucas Hoffman, Sylvania Southview HS, OFLA President-elect

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This is part three in a series of articles about the nationally developed core practices of world language teaching. In the fall article, I wrote about the ACTFL position statement on 90% target language use (core practice #1). Over winter, I shared research-based strategies on giving more appropriate feedback to student (core practice #6). Since summer can be a reflective time that allows us to hit a reset button in teaching practice, I’d like to share about core practice #3.

Core Practice #3: Design lessons with Functional Goals and Objectives using the Backward Design model.

What does this mean for you?

Plan with the end in mind. World language classrooms are performance classrooms. How will students show that they can communicate in the target language in a culturally appropriate way at the end of the unit? To be clear, this core practice reinforces the major shift in modern language teaching away from vocabulary lists and grammar towards communicative language teaching. In other words, teachers need to have a goal that students learn to use the language about learning the language. Goals could be aligned to the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements.

What does this mean for your students?

Students win! In the proficiency-based and performance-based classrooms, student grades will reflect positively when we assess what students can do with language rather than what they don’t know (in terms of knowledge about the language).

Some examples or resources to consider:

Laura Terrill’s Selfie Unit;

TELL Project Planning Self-Assessment;

The Keys to Planning for Learning;

Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment;

OFLA Rubrics;

ODE Rubrics;

What is the take-away?

Keep the end in mind before you get started planning. Here are some questions to consider as you implement backward design planning.

Are you using an IPA?

Or another type of performance assessment?

Or how else might you assess student performance in the target language?

What is the cultural context for this assessment?

What rubric will you use to assess your students? How will you communicate this to your students?

What learning targets or Can-Do statements do you plan to teach over this unit? What learning activities and learning checks will you implement to check for student comprehension and performance in the language? How else do they require students to communicate in real ways?

Lastly, what are the building blocks for this unit? What vocabulary and grammar do you need to teach to help your students communicate effectively?

Want more information about LILL (Leadership Initiative for Language Learning) or the core practices?

If you are interested in learning more about these core practices, check out the ongoing conversation on Twitter. Other fellow LILL participants have started the work of sharing out about the six core practices. For example, see Wisconsin LILL participant Andrea Behn’s thoughts here.

More information on the LILL Institute can be found here.

Are you interested in collaborating with others on a national video project to encourage these core practices? Check out the new LangTalks project.

This entry was posted in Executive News, General, No. 3 - Summer 2016, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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