The Massachusetts Common Core of Learning, adopted by the State Board of Education in July, 1994 states, "All students should read, write, and converse in at least one language in addition to English." The World Languages Framework affirms this belief. Students should graduate from high school able to read, write, and converse in a world language in order to participate in the multilingual, interdependent communities of the twenty-first century.
The World Languages Framework sets as a priority the ability to use language for purposeful communication, or language proficiency. To develop proficiency, this framework recommends a sequence of language learning that starts in kindergarten and continues through grade twelve and beyond. It also describes an instructional methodology that provides opportunities for students to experience and use their world languages in meaningful ways.
A proficiency-based curriculum moves beyond simply reading and writing the language. It emphasizes active communicative experiences in addition to traditional grammar practice, memorization, and translation. For example, the K-4 student uses language to play games and listen to stories from the culture(s) where the language is used; in grades 5-8, students use language to write letters to penpals and explore contributions of culturally diverse groups in the United States; and high school students develop language skills as they debate world issues, participate in larger communities, and explore career possibilities.
Culture is a central component of the World Languages discipline. This framework asserts that culture should be integrated in all learning and teaching experiences. For example, by reading literature, newspapers, and magazines that reflect the culture of the language being studied, and by exploring customs, cuisine, celebrations, and artistic traditions, students experience language in culturally meaningful contexts. Studying and experiencing the culture in which the language is used broadens and enriches learning and teaching.
When we learn more than one language, we open doors to new ways of thinking and doing, believing and communicating, and through the process we learn more about ourselves. The World Languages discipline is about making connections.
Guiding Principles of the Learning and Teaching
of World Languages
- I. The World Languages discipline is an essential part of all students' education.
- II. All students should be able to read, write, and converse in at least one language in addition to English.
- III. World languages programs should start in Kindergarten and continue uniterrupted through grade 12 and beyond.
- IV. The primary goal of a World Languages program is communicative proficiency.
- V. World Languages programs should reflect the developmental nature of language acquisition.
- VI. World Languages programs should integrate studying and experiencing the culture(s) in which a world language is used.
- VII. The World Languages discipline connects with all the other disciplines.
- VIII. The learner is at the center of effective World Languages instruction.
Habits of Mind
- Imaginative Thinking
- Reflective Thinking
- Risk Taking
- Sharing Knowledge
- Thinking for Yourself
World Languages Content
Through conversing, reading, writing, listening, viewing, and presenting, students will...
- greet and respond to greetings
- introduce and respond to introductions
- ask and answer questions
- make and respond to requests
- express likes, dislikes, and feelings
- express needs
- express agreement and disagreement
- give and follow directions
- provide and obtain information and knowledge
- obtain new information and knowledge
- describe, compare, and contrast
- explain, interpret
- solve problems
- read and discuss authentic literature
- identify cultural and linguistic characteristics
- compare and contrast cultural and linguistic characteristics, identifying similarities and differences
- react appropriately in a social situation
- examine and analyze cultural contributions of diverse groups
- use a world language to connect with other disciplines such as Arts, English Language Arts, Health, Science, Technology and Mathematics, Social Studies
- participate in community activities
- identify careers where knowing more than one language is useful