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

Spanish: Hearing Authentic Voices
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 do you incorporate interpersonal communication into lessons whose theme and language content are derived from a textbook?
  • How do you lead beginning students toward elaboration in the target language?
  • How do you create a welcoming atmosphere for native speaker guests?
  • How do you shift the focus from grammar to communication in beginning levels of instruction?
  • How do you judge which errors to correct and which to let go?

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.

  • Fruits of the Americas (Spanish) shows beginning students expressing personal preferences and interacting with the products of a culture.
  • How We Spend Our Free Time (Arabic) illustrates a teacher's approach to help students activate vocabulary they have been learning and make cultural comparisons.
  • Family and Home (French) demonstrates beginning students moving toward interpersonal communication.

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.

  • To encourage students to learn how to talk about their world, design lessons with interpersonal communication as the end goal. This will help motivate students to learn new information and will make that information more memorable. Plan your lessons so that students move deliberately and sequentially from working with language structures and vocabulary to talking about their own leisure activities, such as going to the mall, watching movies, or playing certain sports. The students can then focus their practice on personal information and continue to elaborate on it during oral and written tasks.
  • When planning an interaction between students and native speakers, work with both groups to prepare them for the exchange. Students can write questions in advance or listen to authentic speech on audio- or videotape. For native speakers, outline the topics your students have been working on and alert them that you may need to mediate the discussion. For example, if the native speakers are fellow students -- rather than adults who are used to working with learners -- you may need to remind them to slow down their delivery or use simpler terms. However, as native speakers begin to make regular appearances in your classroom, your role as mediator can lessen. Students at all levels enjoy interacting with native speakers to test their language competency and to learn about other cultures; the key is preparing both groups for a positive experience.

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