The K-12 Foreign Language Teacher: Ambassador to a New World (TE073-W03)

Nicole T. Librandi      Telephone:  545-2676
Middlebury College      email:
Winter Term 2003 Office hours: TH, 1:30-4:30 (except 1/30; instead, 1/31 9-noon)
Sunderland ILC 2      Office: BIH 601 A-007
M-Th, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

 The foreign language teacher can serve as an ambassador for the learner to a world distinct in linguistic, emotional and cultural experiences from the familiar.  The teacher can create via the classroom, an environment of collaboration, cooperation and inquiry rich with social interactions.  We will consider, through reading, class discussions and writing, the “best practices” of the K-12 foreign language teacher. Against the backdrop of the national standards, we will examine theories and concepts which underlie language acquisition and learning, and analyze the design of learning environments and experiences which provide opportunities to learn foreign language.

Course goals:

To familiarize prospective K-12 foreign language teachers with:
…theories and concepts which underlie language learning
…”best practices” of foreign language teachers
…methods and approaches to teaching and assessment
…planning, presenting and critiquing foreign language teaching and teaching materials
…making connections: international, national and statewide professional organizations, collaboratives, web resources, listservs, publishers, etc….

Required texts:

Lightbown, Patsy M. and Nina Spada, (2000) How Languages are Learned, Revised Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Shrum, Judith L. and Eileen W. Glisan, (2000) Teacher's Handbook: Contextualized Language Instruction , Second Edition, Thompson Learning:Heinle & Heinle.

Coursepack (additional materials will be added as needed):

Survey: “What do you think?”, from L & S
“Habits of Mind”
“Strategies to extend student thinking”
“Reflection in Practice….”
“Best practices in Foreign Language Instruction”
Peterson, Thane, “The Importance of Being Multilingual”, BusinessWeek Online,
September 4, 2002
Excerpt from: Simon, Paul (1980) The Tongue-Tied American: Confronting the Foreign
Language Crisis, New York: Continuum, pp 1-10, 179-191.
Doggett, Gina, “Eight Approaches to Language Teaching”, Mosaic, 1,3 (Spring 1994), pp.
Padilla, Amado , “Rewarding Bilingualism”, Language Magazine, October 200
Arena, Louis A. “Strategic Interaction: a Unique Approach to Learning Italian”,
Ambassador Magazine, 1997.
Excerpts from:  Nicholsen-Nelson, Kristen (1998) Developing Multiple Intelligences,
New York: Scholastic, pp 1-13, 43.
Excerpt from: The Five Cs: The Standard for Foreign Language Learning WorkText.
“Do you remember….”
State of Vermont, Department of Education, Regulations Governing the Licensing of
Educators and the Preparation of Educational Professionals, 1998, Montpelier, pp. 96-97.
ACTFL  Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners (1998)

Additional handouts…more to come:

“Guidelines for text selection”, from Omaggio Hadley
Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities (1996)
Most commonly spoken/taught languages

Materials available at Starr Library:

 References listed in handout “Important references cited in Glisan & Shrum (for presentations and case studies)”; books are on reserve as noted; journal articles must be retrieved from stacks or accessed online if indicated.

Language teaching texts; see following sections for languages noted:

French  PC 2420
German PF 3111.S25
Italian  PC 1112
Japanese PL 539.3K58, jp5846.9G3
Russian PG 2112.K5
Spanish PC 4121.C776

(see also recent archived textbook reviews at

Additional resources to be put on reserve:

Appendices from Glisan & Shrum

FLES Breakfast Swap (Teaching ideas)

Hadley, Alice Omaggio, (2001) Teaching Language in Context, Third Edition. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Sample lesson plans from TE073-W02

Internet resources:

 Through the internet, you can access a seemingly limitless supply of ideas and materials which may be extremely useful to you as you plan lessons and think about the field of foreign language teaching.  We will add more as we go along…:
 The online source for supplementary information (appendices, video clips, etc.) for the course text. (Username: worlsite, Password: Scott)
Via this site, you can access just about all the professional FL teaching organizations, and through those sites, follow links in each of the languages….to the rest of the world!
This site will also provide links to many professional organizations involved in FL teaching; the text is one of the “bibles” for foreign language teachers
One of the BEST listservs for FL professionals…great discussion threads and archives
 An invaluable source of ideas, professional connections, research, useful teaching materials; also access to online journal, Language Learning and Technology
 One of the national resource centers for FLT….an invaluable resource for teachers
 A source for curricula and standards in all states
 Website for the Center for Applied Linguistics, another invaluable resource; from there, you can access another Listserv: Nanduti
 An offshoot of the FLTEACH listserv; really an email list which archives and shares games and activities

Evaluation criteria:

Preparation and participation   25%
Case study/episode presentations  20%
Classroom observation and interview  10%
Text analysis & review    10%
Website and Listserv reports   10%
Final project     25%

Preparation and participation
Active participation in class discussions is essential in this course.  It is expected that students have chosen this course because of a strong interest in exploring the possibility of teaching a foreign language, and that they will contribute to the theoretical discussions as well as to the practical presentations.
Class discussions will be based upon the readings listed for that day; students are expected to have completed the reading assignments listed for each class.
For each of the assigned readings, prepare notes which include the following:

(1) Of the ideas included in the chapter, which are most relevant for you? Explain why.
(2) How would you relate the ideas in the chapter with what you already know about teaching a foreign language?
(3) Prepare at least 3 questions whose answers help you to understand better what you have read and which are helpful in applying theory to a practical situation.

Case study/episode presentations   Due dates: Per schedule
Each chapter in TH includes two episodes and case studies.  For each class, a student will be designated to present an episode or a case study. A 1-2 page typed reflection on the Case Study or the Episode is due on the day of the presentation.

Classroom observation and interview   Due date: 1/16
Arrange to visit and observe a foreign language classroom either at Middlebury or at an area school (elementary, middle or high). Also arrange for an interview with the teacher. A list of teachers will be provided. Report on your observation and submit a 2-3 page typed reflection on the observation and interview, based on a format to be provided.

Text analysis & review     Due date: 1/13
Choose a text and evaluate it using the format provided, be prepared to discuss your evaluation in class, submit a 2-3 page typed summation.

 Website review      Due date: 1/23
Choose two websites, one listed in the syllabus, and one you find on your own. Using the format provided, review the sites.

Listserv reports      Due date: 1/23
Subscribe to an on-line discussion group in Foreign Language teaching, report periodically about the topics discussed. Post at least two messages to the list.

Unit Plan Project      Due date: 1/17 (Outline)
        Due date: 1/28-29
During the final two days of class, each student will present a lesson developed as part of a Unit Plan.  The format and components of this project will be provided and discussed in class.
Mon. 1/6 An overview of the fieldPersonal language learning experiences
Course objectives and materialsAssignments
Tues 1/7 Contextualized input, output and interaction in SLL
Overview of SLL research
Collaborate on Episode 
Discuss Observation and Interview format
TH, Chapter 1L&S, Chapter 1
Articles: Simon,           Doggett
Prepare Case study;
Wed 1/8 Standards for Foreign language learning
Contextualization of teaching language
The text as source of linguistic material
TH, Chapter 2L&S, Chapter 2 Prepare episode & case study
Thur 1/9 Relationships among national, state and local standards documents
Content-based instruction 
Planning of a unit: organization of content, criteria for establishing objectives
Feedback on TE073A
TH, Chapter 3
Article:   Peterson 
Prepare episode & case study
Mon1/13 Critical period for language learning
The Elementary School learner
Models for Elementary School Programs
Teaching techniques
The Connections Standard
Discussion on Unit Plan
TH, Chapter 4
Article from: Language Two
Prepare episode & case studyText review
Tues 1/14 The Middle School learner
Models for Middle School Programs
Cultures, Comparisons Standards
TH, Chapter 5 Prepare episode &  case study
Wed1/15 Three communicative modes
Standards highlight: the Interpretive Mode
Interactive model for listening and reading
Authentic oral and written texts
TH, Chapter 6L&S, Chapter 4 Prepare episode & case study
Th1/16 Explicit/implicit grammar explanations
Story-based language learning
Guided participation 
The Pace Model
TH, Chapter 7L&S, Chapter 5 Prepare episode & case studyPresent class observation and interview reflection
Mon1/20 ACTFL Oral proficiency scale
Stategies to facilitate oral interactions
Interpersonal communication
Presentational communication
Task-based instruction
Cooperative learning and activities
Effect of feedback on performance
TH , Chapter 8L&S, Chapter 6 Prepare episode & case studySubmit Unit Plan outline
Tues1/21 Writing as a tool for communicating
Nature of writing process
Writing and learning
Proficiency and writing
Peer revision
Evaluation of writing
TH, Chapter 9 Prepare episode & case study
Wed1/22 Diversity: cultural, ethnic, racial
Multiple intelligences
Learning styles
Learning strategies
Students with disabilities"As-risk" students
Gifted students
Heritage language learners
The Communities Goal Area and Standards
TH, Chap 10L&S, Chap 3 Prepare episode & case study
Th1/23 Assessment: a theoretical and practical framework
Assessment: purpose, format, audience
Authentic assessment, rubrics, portfolios
Contextualized tests
Performance-based assessment
Alternative assessment
TH, Chap 11 L&S, Chap 7 Prepare episode & case studySubmit Website and Listserv reviews
Mon1/27 Technology-enhanced language learning
Traditional technologies used in new ways
New technologies: email, listservs, Internet, CAI
Future technologies
TH, Chap 12 Prepare episode & case study
Tues1/28 Unit presentations (3-hour class; 10-1) Unit presentations Unit presentations
Wed1/29 Unit presentations (3-hour class; 10-1) Unit presentations Unit presentations