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Archived Information

World Languages
Curriculum Framework
Making Connections

World Languages Content

Participating Strand

Lifelong learners use language to participate in local and international communities.

How can we make connections between the World Languages classroom and the real world?

We've all had students greet each other and exchange names in the second language in our classrooms. We've assigned roles of client and storekeeper, hotel clerk and guest to practice different units of vocabulary. Role-playing and simulating real life activities can give our students valuable opportunities to practice their second language skills. But who can forget the thrill of our own first attempts at communicating with "real people," the native speakers who actually use the language? These encounters made all our classroom lessons suddenly have meaning for us. We stumbled over our words, glaring errors blanketed our attempts at self-expression, our arms flailed gestures as if it would help -- and the visitors actually understood us! Suddenly there was a purpose to all those hours in a classroom.

Imagine replicating that meaningfulness on a continual basis. Study of the target language becomes even more vibrant when teachers and students transcend the restrictions of a traditional classroom. By inviting native speakers into the classroom through face-to-face, written, or recorded encounters and taking our students out of the classroom on field trips into the community or on field trips via technology, we enrich the experience of learning and teaching a world language.

Students should experience more than one means of expressing the language. One teacher cannot demonstrate the many language varieties within a language alone. Through making use of community resources, (face to face whenever possible, or via technology), students become aware of the varieties among dialects, rates of speech, styles of expression, and their accompanying cultural implications.

In this strand we seek to make connections between the World Languages classroom and the real world not just because it makes the lessons more meaningful but because it also encourages the lifelong participation of students in the community. This strand encourages present and future real-world uses of the language by focusing students' attention on (1) interaction with native speakers from the community, and (2) professional and vocational applications of the language in local and international communities.


At the end of a PreK-4 sequence (Stage 1 proficiency)...

PreK-4 Learning Standards

Students will use selected words, phrases, and expressions with no major repeated patterns of error to :

  1. participate in community activities
  2. identify careers where knowing more than one language is useful

Examples

  1. PreK-2: Students contact native users of the target language inside and outside of the classroom.*
    3-4: Groups of students can prepare informative posters about regions where the target language is used, for display at the local library.
  2. PreK-2: Students label job titles of community helpers in target language.
    3-4: Learners identify some Latin and Greek words used in certain fields such as medicine, law, and science.

*How it looks in (or out of) the classroom

Students exchange drawings that depict everyday life in their town or city with students from a target language community. They learn a vocabulary for talking about the things which appear in their counterparts' drawings. They learn to observe and discuss such things as clothing, shelter, foods, jobs in the drawings they receive from afar. As writing skills increase, they each write a sentence-length note and compile the sentences as a letter to their counterpart class. They send and receive "time capsules" including such items as school photos, empty school milk cartons, a homework assignment notebook, an assortment of unusual pencils.


At the end of a PreK-8 sequence (Stage 2 proficiency)...

Grades 5-8 Learning Standards

Students will use sentences and strings of sentences, and recombinations of words, phrases, and expressions, with frequency of errors proportionate to the complexity of the communicative task to:

  1. participate in community activities
  2. identify and describe careers where knowing more than one language is useful

Examples

  1. Students meet with ESL students whose first language is the language of study.*
    Learners might exchange letters, newsletters, greeting cards, or video or audio tapes with native users of the target language.
  2. Groups of students read want ads in local and target culture newspapers and write "letters" to respond to the ads.
    Learners categorize job related vocabularies according to specific jobs.

*How it looks in (or out of) the classroom

Students in an urban center create their own "two-way bilingual" exchange by meeting twice a month (in person or via technology link) with a class of ESL students whose native language is the target language. Each meeting consists of planned activities and interviews, one-half of the time being reserved for speaking in English, and the other half in the other language. Parents from both groups of students are encouraged to visit and share their experiences using both languages. They create intercultural dialogue interviews which go "on air" over the school's closed circuit TV or public address system as a weekly "talk" show. (This example also serves for Adult Basic Education programs.)


At the end of a PreK-10 sequence (Stage 3 proficiency)...

Grades 9-10 Learning Standards

Students will use sentences and strings of sentences, and paragraph-length messages with frequency of errors proportionate to the complexity of the communicative task to:

  1. participate in community activities
  2. identify and describe careers where knowing more than one language is useful

Examples

  1. Individuals interview community members about a specific topic of community interest through mail, e:mail, a survey in the newspaper, face-to-face interview, taped or videotaped interview.*
    A whole class listens to a presentation by a native speaker about his or her career.
  2. Students identify the major skills needed for a variety of jobs where knowing a language in addition to English is an asset, and write an essay telling why knowing the language is important in that career.
    Students fill out a job application in target language for a job that interests them.

*How it looks in (or out of) the classroom

High school students of all world languages work with community members to compile a collection of stories from several generations of immigrants with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds in the community. To gather the stories, the students put up notices requesting interviews in the public library, local periodicals, the community center, a local nursing home, area universities, etc. Students then conduct the interviews face-to-face and record the stories or exchange written correspondence. Once the stories are collected, they work through an editing process, then the stories are compiled into a collection to distribute to the community. The stories are presented in the world language with an English translation. Photographs and illustrations done by the students accompany the writing. (Also adaptable for Adult Basic Education.)


At the end of a PreK-12 sequence (Stage 4 proficiency)...

Grades 11-12 Learning Standards

Students will use sentences, strings of sentences, paragraph-length, and essay-length messages, with some errors which don't interfere with meaning to:

  1. participate in community activities
  2. identify and describe careers where knowing more than one language is useful
Examples
  1. Students can write a letter to the editor, an editorial, or an op-ed piece in the target language for a newspaper or magazine.
    Learners volunteer in a community service project such as working as an aide in a hospital.
    Students conduct a community needs assessment for a social services agency, for example, local services availability to victims of domestic violence.
    A student works as a helper in an elementary World Language class, reading stories, leading games, etc.*
  2. Students write formal job descriptions for a variety of jobs where knowing a language in addition to English is an asset.
    Individuals perform a job related skill with a native speaker, for example, an oil change, a hospital admission.
    Group of students can design and write a brochure or trade manual for a vocational area.

*How it looks in (or out of) the classroom

Eleventh and twelfth graders receive course credit for working one full quarter in a nearby elementary school as World Language classroom aides. They work with children in small groups on such projects as: games, puppet dialogues, story reading, story telling and writing, letter writing and illustrating, videotaping, writing by e-mail, math and science skills in target language, map drawing, dance and music.






Last Updated: January 1, 1996
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