Methods of Teaching Foreign Language FALL 2003

Instructor: Dr. Ronald Takalo
Office: Noteboom College, # 4
Office Hours: Tues. – Thurs. 11:00-12:00
Phone: 707-7050  (Home: 737-3066 -- hasta las 9:00 p.m., por favor)
Class Time: T-Th 1:45-3:00
Location: Noteboom B (basement)

Textbooks:   Teaching Foreign Language Skills, by Wilga Rivers.  The Gift of the Stranger, by Smith, Carvill

Catalog Description:  Study of the methods and approaches most commonly used in secondary foreign-language teaching. Discussion of recent research and methodology in adolescent foreign-language acquisition. Observation and micro-teaching.  Does not count toward the major or minor. Prerequisite: Spanish 202 or equivalent proficiency.

FEEDBACK TO STUDENTS. It is the policy of the Modern Foreign Language Dept. to return assignments and papers according to the following guidelines:

essays:   3 classes
major papers  5 classes
daily assignments  1-2 classes
quizzes, small tests 1-2 classes
major tests, mid-terms 4-5 classes

Spanish 202 or equivalent proficiency.

The student will
      1.  learn the history of methods
      2. begin to construct a Christian approach to methodology
      3. learn how to critique research and methods
      4. become involved in on-going areas of methodology such as listserves and reading journals


 1. Oral participation.  . Participation includes coming prepared to class, volunteering, paying attention to class activities, and maintaining a generally positive attitude.

 2. Attendance.  Oral proficiency is impossible without daily attendance and much practice.  Up to two absences will be allowed without grade penalty.  Every subsequent absence will cause the student’s grade to be lowered one “notch,” i.e. from an A- to a B+, etc. Furthermore, it is important that students arrive on time, ready to participate. Therefore, two late arrivals will equal one absence. If a quiz (vocabulary or grammar) is missed because of an “excused” absence, no make-up quiz is needed – the grade of the student’s next quiz (vocabulary or grammar, respectively) will be counted as double. If a quiz is missed because of an unexcused absence, a 0 will be entered into the grade book. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the professor of an “excused” absence prior to class time, either by phone, e-mail, or written note.

 3. Ten hours of field experience.  Each student will be expected to complete ten hours by observing, working with students, and doing at least some class presentations.

       4. Reading Assignments from text:  Each reading assignment from the text will be conducted in the following manner.  These are due each Tuesday, starting Tuesday, August 28.  The assignment will be as follows. Read the text chapters and/or pages assigned, and write a one-page summary, emphasizing the important points. Then number any points you think need to be clarified (e.g., what does a term mean, how does one do a certain procedure, what does the author mean (give a short quote), etc. Then make a list of topics from the chapter that you think are worthy of further discussion in class. This assignment is to be e-mailed to the prof by 9:00 a.m. the day they are due, via e-mail attachment (my e-mail address is <>. In case of computer problems (yours or the college’s) this is to be on my door by 9:00 a.m.

       5.   Student presentations and paper.  The first presentation, via powerpoint, is due Tuesday, Oct. 7, to be presented in class.  The presentation is an in-depth presentation of one of the major methodologies (TPR, TPRS, AL-M, Grammar-Translation, Dartmouth (Rassias) Method, Natural Approach).  Each student is to choose one by class on Tuesday, Sept. 9. Paper: a critique of the major methods (10 pages) summarizing each method, and demonstrating critical thinking by pointing out the positives and negatives of each, and concluding which one or ones you would like to use when you start teaching.  Due Tuesday, December 2 One grade off each day late.

       6.  Attend Iowa World Language Association meeting, Des Moines, Oct. 3-4, 2003

        7.  Join FLTEACH (listserve) and file a report of the threads you have been following, and the question/answers you had, due Tuesday, Sept. 22, and Oct.  and Nov.

Evaluation Criteria:

  1. Power point presentation 15%
  2. Quizzes  10%
  3. Paper 15%
  4. Homework 10%
  5. Chapter Tests  30%
  6. FINAL EXAM:  20%
  TOTAL         100%

Grading Procedure:

Final grade will be based on a straight percentage of the evaluation criteria:
 A = 93-100% B- = 80-82% D+ = 67-69%
 A- = 90-92% C+ = 77-79% D = 63-66%
 B+ = 87-89% C = 73-76% D- = 60-62%
 B = 83-86% C- = 70-72% F = 0-59%

Course Schedule:

Class Date Topics Pages
#1 Tuesday, August 26 Pre-test of terms and concepts of for. language learning.Discussion of goals and class procedures, setting upfield experience. FLTEACH sign up.
#2 Thursday, August 28 Homework due, Chap. 1 (see above for procedure) Class discussion based on homework questions pp. 1-24

#3 Tuesday, Sept. 2 Discussion of FLTEACH. Video: Rassias in China.
#4 Thursday, Sept. 4 Homework due.  Class discussion. Sign up for power point presentations. See above. Lecture: James Asher’s TPR and demo pp. 25-61

#5 Tuesday, Sept. 9 Video: TPRS. Discussion. Sign up for powerpoint presentation. See above.
#6 Thursday, Sept. 11 Homework due: Chap. 3, theories of lang. learning pp. 63-92.

#7 Tuesday, Sept. 16 Test: terms and concepts covered so far.
#8 Thursday, Sept. 18 Progress report on powerpoint presentations due (written).  Discuss progress so far. Homework due: pp. 94-123

#9 Tuesday, Sept. 23 FLTEACH project report. Report of observations doneso far (written and oral)  (see above). Read section one, Background, of Gift of the Stranger. Homework due as per other textbook (summary and questions) pp.ix – 35-54
#10 Thursday, Sept. 25 Homework due: Chap. 4, Structured Practice  pp. 94-123

#11 Tuesday, Sept. 30 Read Dr. Takalo’s paper on a Christian Method. Be prepared to react to the ideas presented. Formulate a question for the NACFLA website re methodology. We will fine tune the questions in class.  Report on the responses on Tuesday, Oct. 14 Handout
#12 Thursday, Oct. 2 Leave for Iowa World Language Association Meeting in Des Moines. Departure time: TBA

#13 Tuesday, Oct. 7 Power Point presentations due. Reaction to Iowa World Language Conference, report on what you did (oral)
#14 Thursday Oct. 9 Exam over Chap. 1-4

#15 Tuesday Oct. 14 Go over exam,  Report on NACFLA responses (written and oral)
#16 Thursday, Oct. 16 Homwork due, Chap. 5, teaching sounds++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++MID-TERM BREAK!! pp. 125-148

#17 Thursday, Oct. 23 Homework due, Chap. 6, Listening Comp. pp. 151-182

#18 Tuesday, Oct. 28 Website report: visit at least 6 sites and evaluate their usefulness for the classroom (written and oral). Be prepared to show at least one to class. Homework due over part II of Gift of the Stranger pp.55-124
#19 Thursday, Oct. 30 Homework due, Chap. 7, The Speaking SkillLecture: How to read an article on pedagogy, with an example pp. 184-218

#20 Tuesday, Nov. 4 Report on an article re pedagogy using Hispania or FL Annals, or another jounal. Tie into what we have done so far. FLTEACH REPORT
#21 Thursday, Nov. 6 Homework due, Chap. 8, The Speaking Skill  pp. 21-257

#22 Tuesday, Nov. 11 Report on an interview with a current Spanish teacher,either in person or via electronic means (phone or e-mail) (written and oral).Topic: what I have learned about teaching since I left college
#23 Thursday, Nov. 13 Homework due, Chap. 9, The Reading Skill pp. 259-289

#24 Tuesday, Nov. 18 Video: How not to teach, or Born in East L.A.Homework due: part III, Gift of the Stranger,  pp. 127-170
#25 Thursday, Nov. 20 Homework due, Chap. 10, The Writing Skill. Lecture: common errors in composition by non-native speakers pp. 291-311

#26 Tueday, Nov. 25 Presentation: making materials for classroom use. ********** THANKSGIVING BREAK! *********

#27 Tuesday, Dec. 2 Examples of materials you have found to be used in the classroom (bring enough copies for everyone, including the professor). Could be written, video, computer, etc. PAPER DUE!!!
#28 Thursday, Dec. 4 Homework, Chap. 11, Cultural Understanding pp. 314-344

#29 Tuesday, Dec. 9 Homework, Chap. 12. Testing. pp. 346-395
#30 Thursday, Dec. 11 Lecture: technology in the classroom. Homework due:Gift of the Stranger pp. 171-217