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Archived Information

Foreign Language Curriculum Frameworks

Communities Strand

Massachusetts is home to people who speak many languages, and there are many opportunities for students to practice their language learning in the communities in which they live. In addition to the customary definition of community as a group of people living in the same locality, the word is also used to denote any group having common interests. Therefore a group of students learning the same language can be considered a community. Opportunities for participating in language activities within and across such communities exist throughout Massachusetts, regardless of the geographic location or ethnic composition of the school.

Computer technology, media sources, and letter writing allow students to participate in the community of speakers and learners of the target language or with students learning the same language in the same or neighboring towns or districts. Face-to-face interaction and exchanges of information may occur in communities where native speakers of the target language reside or between classes learning the same language.

The Communities Strand and Modern Languages

Students become highly motivated to learn a second language when they see immediate applications in the real world for the skills they are learning in the foreign language classroom. In helping students to connect their classroom knowledge to real-life experiences teachers bring together elements from all of the other Strands. Students can use their ability to communicate in the target language coupled with their understanding of culture to participate within and between schools, locally and globally. This participation will inevitably involve connections to other disciplines, and will help students to develop further insights through comparisons to their own language and culture.

From the very beginning stages of a PreK-12 program, students can participate in their communities by performing songs and dances at local festivals or telling stories to other groups of students. Students at the same level can exchange biographical information, and advanced students can assist beginners. Students can also use their skills to participate in school and community service projects. This has the added benefit of encouraging civic participation in the communities in which they live. It will also benefit students to become aware of the varieties among dialects, rates of speech, and styles of expression among native speakers of a language, and the accompanying cultural implications.

Teachers also need to educate students about the possibilities of using their second language in future careers. There is a demand within Massachusetts and the United States for workers who can communicate effectively in a language other than English. Such career opportunities exist in the private and public sector in workplaces such as hospitals and other healthcare organizations, retail organizations, travel agencies, hotels and restaurants, publishing and broadcasting companies, police and fire departments, social service agencies, libraries, cultural institutions, PreK-12 schools, and higher education institutions. The worldwide economy is dependent on technology and information services. As United States businesses expand domestic and international markets, their employees will benefit greatly from knowing another language. These skills will allow them to obtain information directly from other countries, and to engage in face-to-face negotiations in political and business situations.

Knowledge of other languages and cultures also opens the door to many types of leisure activities. On their television screens and on their computer monitors, Americans have a direct link with other cultures. The person who has learned another language can read the literature of other cultures directly, not just in translation. As Americans travel to other countries and interact with speakers of other languages, they realize that competence in more than one language and knowledge of other cultures empower them to experience more fully the artistic and cultural creations of those cultures.

The Communities Strand and Classical Languages

"The Communities Strand focuses on the application of the knowledge of Latin or Greek to wider linguistic and cultural communities extending from school to later life. Knowledge of Latin and Greek enables students to develop a full understanding and appreciation of classical influences in today's world as they encounter new language learning situations and other cultures. Students understand the link between classical languages and certain professional fields through their specialized terminology. Understanding Greco-Roman culture provides students with a basis for interpreting events in the modern world. The tools of technology and telecommunication provide links to the resources of the worldwide classical community."9



Learning Standard 8

Students will use languages other than English within and beyond the school setting. Students of classical languages will recognize elements of classical languages and ancient cultures in the world around them, and they will share insights derived from their study of classical languages with others within and beyond the classroom setting.

Proficiency Level

Learning Standard Components
*applies to classical language learning

Stage 1:

at the end of

  • grade 4 in a PreK-4 sequence
  • grade 8 in a 6-8 sequence
  • grade 10 in a 8-10 sequence

Using selected words, phrases, and expressions with no major repeated patterns of error, students will

  1. Apply knowledge of the target language and culture beyond the classroom setting*

Examples of this include:

  • conversing with speakers of the target language; or
  • reading and writing e-mail or letters; or
  • making and exchanging drawings or photographs, and discussing them orally or in letters and e-mail with students in another community in Massachusetts, the United States, or another country*

Stage 2:

at the end of

  • grade 8 in a PreK-8 sequence
  • grade 10 in a 6-10 sequence

Using sentences and strings of sentences, and recombinations of learned words, phrases, and expressions, with frequency of errors proportionate to the complexity of the communicative task, students will

  1. Apply knowledge of the target language and culture beyond the classroom setting*
Examples of this include:
  • conversing with speakers of the target language; or
  • reading and writing e-mail or letters; or
  • making and exchanging videotapes, newsletters, photographs, and artwork and discussing them orally or in letters and e-mail with students in another community in Massachusetts, the United States, or another country*

Stage 3:

at the end of

  • grade 10 in a PreK-10 sequence
  • grade 12 in a 6- 12 sequence

Using sentences and strings of sentences, fluid sentence-length and paragraph-length messages, in the target language, with frequency of errors proportionate to the complexity of the communicative task, students will

  1. Apply knowledge of the target language and culture beyond the classroom setting*

Examples of this include:

  • interviewing one person about his or her occupation or interests
  • locating community, state, and national organizations that support the study of languages and cultures and report on their programs and events
  • researching and presenting information about a linguistic or cultural group in Massachusetts in the present time

Stage 4:

at the end of

  • grade 12 in a PreK- 12 sequence

Using sentences and strings of sentences, fluid sentence-length and paragraph-length, and essay-length messages with some patterns of errors that do not interfere with meaning, students will

  1. Apply knowledge of the target language and culture beyond the classroom setting*
Examples of this include:
  • locating speakers or scholars of the target language in the community, region, or state and establishing ongoing communication through correspondence, multiple interviews or conversations, internships, or volunteer activities
  • locating newspapers, magazines, newsletters, television or radio stations, or websites that use languages other than English and contributing letters, articles, or other materials in the target language
  • describing work and volunteer opportunities requiring second language skills in international government relations, international businesses, and international non-profit organizations


Communities: Sample Stage 3 Learning Scenario

Let's celebrate!

Strand/Standard:Connections, Learning Standard 8
Grade Level:Grades 9 - 10, Spanish, Italian, German, French
Assessment Criteria:

Use Stage 3 Proficiency to:

  • Apply knowledge of the target language and culture beyond the classroom setting
Activity summary:Students make arrangements to set up a booth at traditional festivals (Blessing of the Fleet, Cinco de Mayo, Feast of St. Anthony, Oktoberfest, Bastille Day) where they sell food and/or crafts typical of the target culture. Since many people who attend these festivals speak the target language, students attempt to use it to conduct as many transactions as possible. If it is appropriate, students could also perform a dance, sing a song, or tell a story from the target culture.
Materials needed:Art materials, groceries to prepare food
How students work: As a class group.


Connections: Sample Stage 4 Learning Scenario

Nutrition in Japan

Strand/Standard:Communities, Learning Standard 8
Grade Level:Grades 11-12, ESL, Spanish, Khmer, Vietnamese
Assessment Criteria:

Use Stage 4 Proficiency to:

  • Apply knowledge of the target language and culture beyond the classroom setting
Activity summary:Students volunteer their time in a community service center performing non-critical translations to aid communication between speakers of these languages and the staff of the centers. In some cases, students might be enrolled in a school-to-work program.
Materials needed:Job-related resources, dictionaries
How students work: Individually or in groups




Last Updated: January 1, 1999
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