Guidelines for the Development of World Language Teachers:
Linguistic and Cultural Competence
Pedagogical Competence
Continuing Professional Development

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
To improve student learning in America, teachers volunteer to be assessed to high and rigorous standards, resulting in certification.

Guidelines by Central Jersey World Languages Professional Development Institute 2000.
    Linguistic and Cultural Competence Guidelines
Guidelines for the Development of World Language Teachers:
Meeting the Vision of the Standards

Leading experts in the field currently define state of the art teaching according to the following guidelines:

  1. Language instruction is consistently conducted in the target language.
  2. Activities are designed to expose students to a variety of learning styles and linguistic and cultural contexts.
  3. Teachers recognize learners as active constructors of meaning rather than passive receivers of information.
  4. Curriculum and instruction are based upon thematic centers, issues or content areas with a focus on communication.
  5. Assessment of learning is frequent, regular and ongoing in a manner that is consistent with program goals and teaching strategies.
  6. The second language program draws from and reinforces the goals of the general education core curriculum, including cognitive skills development and understanding cultural differences.
  7. Courses integrate the use of technology both in professor modeling and student work.
  8. Courses develop in students an awareness of and respect for cultural/dialectical differences.

National Foreign Language Standards

Because teachers tend to teach the way they were taught, content instruction must be a model of good teaching. It should incorporate the five Cs: Communication., Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.

Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century

Thematic Centers, Issues and Content Areas

Issue-based courses need to develop language proficiency as well as students' higher order thinking skills, moving from thematic units in a basic language course to more complex problem- solving around global issues. Examples of courses that could be offered: Bilingualism/ESL; Health; sustainable development in the rain forest; The World of the Hispanic (French, German, Italian ..) Child; World Trade Issues and New Forms of Democracy in Latin America.

Courses need to maximize exposure to varied thematic and linguistic domains. Culture in all its complexity is infused as a part of each course so that students learn about the historical frames of culture, develop multiple cultural perspectives, view culture as an ongoing process, and undertake contrastive cultural analysis. This will lead to reflection regarding life experiences that is necessary for global citizens.

Bridging the gap between foreign language content courses and education courses, a culminating project will be produced by students and evaluated by both a content (language) professor and education professor. This project is seen as a capstone which includes content, general pedagogy and language pedagogy. Ideally this would give students the opportunity to develop a sample thematic unit appropriate to two distinct developmental levels.

Immersion Experience

All students must have an extended language immersion experience. The recommended experience is one year abroad. The minimum experience is three months. This experience could be: work, study or living abroad. This experience should be documented by journals, transcripts, photos, and/or a portfolio.

Upon completing the immersion experience, a returning colloquium should be required. This would allow students an opportunity to share experiences and discuss cultural and linguistic aspects they have become aware of as a result of the immersion.

Assessment of Language Proficiency

Oral Proficiency

Leading foreign language associations, current foreign language education programs, and nationally recognized experts, all recommend that advanced level proficiency is required to conduct classes principally in the target language. Therefore educators must be able to demonstrate an oral proficiency level of at least Advanced low as per American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Guidelines.

Assessment of Oral Proficiency

The use of outcome-based proficiency assessment should be in place throughout the curriculum. Before certification, it is recommend perspective teachers be evaluated using: the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) or the Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI).

We recognize that there are at least two populations among candidates who need to be tested:

  1. elementary, middle and secondary school undergraduate teachers in preparation;
  2. currently certified world language teachers;

Heritage speakers in either of the two categories will follow the guidelines stipulated below:

Group 1: must demonstrate at least Advanced low level of oral proficiency for certification.

Group 2: must demonstrate at least Advanced low level of oral proficiency two years from the adoption of these guidelines. If this group fails to meet this standard then their PIP (Professional Improvement Plan) should include an objective designed to provide progress toward achievement and the teacher's 100 hours of required professional development should include opportunities to develop this level of linguistic proficiency.

Reading and Writing Proficiency

It is recommended that reading and writing proficiencies be assessed at the degree granting institution in order to assure competency in these two skills.

Summary of ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines

Novice:  word level

  • "list maker"
  • learned phrases
  • fractured speech
  • no real functional ability

Intermediate:  sentence level

  • can create single sentences
  • can ask as well as answer simple questions
  • is able to deal with a "simple survival situation"
  • intelligible to a "sympathetic native speaker"

Advanced:  paragraph level

  • can describe and narrate in the present/past/future
  • can compare and contrast
  • some ability to circumlocute
  • able to deal with "a simple survival situation with a complication"
  • intelligible to an "unsympathetic native speaker"

Superior:  extended discourse

  • function in formal/informal situations
  • can support and defend opinions and hypothesize
  • can discuss social, practical and abstract topics
  • can discuss special fields of competence
  • has no pattern mistakes
  • errors virtually never interfere with communication
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globalteachinglearning.com   Updated: Fri Nov 23 2007