Do you ever find yourself in a conversation where you tell someone that you are a foreign language teacher and the response is something like this, “I had 4 years of Spanish in high school, but I can’t speak a word now.” Clearly this traditional methodology has not been very effective. What can we do about this to make sure that 20 years from now our students are not saying the same thing?
ACTFL provides us with Core Practices that guide teachers toward teaching language proficiency rather than simply teaching about the target language. It comes down to providing students with opportunities to do something with the language and not just demonstrate what they know about the language. Take a look at the 6 ACTFL Core Practices below.
I understand where the parents are coming from, but no matter what we do, if they don’t continue to use it, they’ll lose the ability to speak a language. I took flute lessons for 6 years, but I haven’t touched it in 30 years. I would be unable to just pick it up & play pieces that I used to be able to play. I could do quadratic equations in high school, but I can’t now. My point is that it isn’t necessarily the teaching method that is used; whether or not someone continues to use what was learned has the most effect on retention.
The truth is that many were not properly exposed to the language in the first place and never actually had the ability to communicate. Retention is one thing, and I agree there is certain degree of “use it or lose it,” but in order to retain it all all one needs to acquire language in the first place. This has not been happening.
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Does anyone have any ready made resources or units available to use in a Core French class?
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