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

Chinese: Exploring New Directions
Connect to Your Teaching

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

  • In a multilevel class, how can the more proficient students motivate the lower-level students to continue to learn the language?
  • What aspects of poetry compensate for beginning students' limited language understanding?
  • How do you go about collecting and connecting authentic materials to expand themes in lessons/units (for example, a poem or play turned into a film, or an article on a historical event used as background for a short story)?

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.

Interpreting Literature (Spanish) and Interpreting La Belle et la Bête (French) show students interpreting a cultural work -- a story and a film respectively.

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.

  • Use spiraling to address developing language proficiency and/or higher order thinking skills and to teach a multilevel class. To reach across three levels of instruction, Dr. Fu had to plan inventively with the theme "directions." She did so by spiraling from a very concrete task (giving directions) to an abstract one (exploring new directions in poetry). Spiraling a theme permits students to revisit the theme as their language proficiency expands. Think about how you might spiral themes like artwork from the target culture, a historical event, or a current event across different levels. What language and/or cultural tasks would be appropriate for each level?
  • When selecting literature for students to interpret, choose works whose background or setting is accessible to students. Reading literary works requires a balance of language proficiency and experience, and in many languages, contemporary literature is linguistically more accessible than traditional pieces. Dr. Fu selected her literary pieces based partly on the language of the piece. She chose contemporary poems rather than ancient ones because the language in the contemporary poems was colloquial and the lexical and grammatical structures were simple. This holds true for many languages. The goal is to challenge students to interpret poems or other literary pieces but not frustrate them. That requires editing the tasks you give them, not the text.

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