Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Foreign Languages K–12

A Library of Classroom Practices

Arabic: Making Plans
Connect to Your Teaching

Reflect on Your Practice

As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.

  • How can you design activities to encourage students to produce longer chunks of language (sentence- and paragraph-level discourse)?
  • How do you sequence learning? Do you start with the skills you want the students to be able to demonstrate and design projects and activities around them? Or do you plan the culminating project and work backwards, thinking of what skills that will necessitate? What are the benefits and disadvantages of each approach?
  • How can you use heritage speakers and more advanced students as resources in your classroom? How can you differentiate curriculum to ensure that they are also benefiting from activities in class?

Watch Other Videos

Watch other videos in the Teaching Foreign Languages K–12 library for more examples of teaching methodologies like those you've just seen. Note: All videos in this series are subtitled in English.

  • U.S. and Italian Homes (Italian) illustrates a sequence of activities, including a card game and emails to peers who speak the target language, that builds competence and prepares students for real-life situations.
  • Daily Routines (Japanese) features the teacher's use of visuals to enhance student learning, gradual release of responsibility, interpersonal communication, and students negotiating meaning with one another.
  • Hearing Authentic Voices (Spanish) shows how the teacher encourages students to extend their answers beyond single words and short phrases.

Put It Into Practice

Try these ideas in your classroom. Where it’s not already evident, reflect on how to adapt an idea that targets one performance range for application to other performance ranges.

  • Encourage activities that necessitate authentic communication among students in the class or between students and native speakers on the Internet. Mr. Joundeya facilitated an email dialog between his students and Sami, a "friend" from Lebanon. If your school has an approved online forum for students, consider creating a space for your Arabic class(es) and ask students to write posts connected to the theme they're studying and to comment on each other's posts. For example, in a unit on hobbies, students could upload pictures of themselves engaged in their hobbies and write about what they're doing in the picture. Then the students could comment on each other's posts with compliments and connections to their own lives. Projects among students in the class itself can foster a supportive language-learning community; projects that involve native speakers can encourage cross-cultural communication. Decide which is more in line with your own needs and abilities.

  • Extend the activity with a conversation during which you try to come to an agreement over a situation, an idea, or a difference of opinion. Offer a prompt, such as: "You want to go out to the movies with your friends this Friday, but your mom won't let you. With a partner, come up with an authentic dialogue about this situation. Why doesn't she want you to go? How can you convince her to let you go?"

  • Encourage students to negotiate with each other by giving them "information gap" activities. For example, each student is given a sheet of paper that lists a schedule and an activity that he or she wants to do. Students then stand up and walk around and talk to as many different students as they can in a given time to try to plan an outing together. Each student has to find another student who has a schedule that matches up with his or hers.

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