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The National Standards Project

Go to the following site
This is the office site for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). At this site, you will find a brief description of the collaborative project that produced this document as well as the 1996 publication, Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century. You will also find the Statement of Philosophy and a list of the five Cs and the eleven standards. You can order a copy of the 1999 national standards document [cover illustration above] directly from this site, as well as download a copy of the Executive Summary of the standards. The 1999 volume includes standards, learning scenarios, and sample progress indicators for Chinese, Classical Languages, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. This is an invaluable book to have in your professional library.

* Read pp. 25-33 and pp. 48ff in Shrum and Glisan, Teacher's Handbook, second edition (2000). After the initial introduction in Chapter 2, you will find key aspects of the national standards discussed as they relate to the theme of each chapter. From the Web site connected with book ( ), users can have access to additional information found in appendices for the book. [N.B. Some of the information in the appendices calls for a user name and a password that can be requested directly from that site.]

* Consult pp. 34-41 in Omaggio Hadley's Teaching Language in Context, 3rd edition (2001) for additional discussion of the national standards.


* The Five Cs and the Eleven Standards
1 - Communication: Communicate in Languages Other than English

1.1 Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
1.2 Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.
1.3 Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.

2 - Cultures: Gain Knowledge and Understanding of Other Cultures

2.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.
2.2 Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture studied.

3 - Connections: Connect with Other Disciplines and Acquire Information

3.1 Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language.
3.2 Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its culture.

4 - Comparisons: Develop Insight into the Nature of Language and Culture

4.1 Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.
4.2 Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.

5 - Communities: Participate in Multilingual Communities at Home & Around the World

5.1 Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting.
5.2 Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

* The Three Communicative Modes
1. Go to the following site for a chart that explains the three communicative modes as they are presented and discussed in the national standards: modes.htm .
2. In your own words, (1) define each of the three modes, and (2) give an example of an student activity that will illustrate each of the modes.

(1) Interpersonal
(2) Interpretive
(3) Presentational.

* Culture What is meant by the following three terms, as they are used in the discussion of culture in the national standards? Give at least two examples of each.

(1) Practices
(2) Perspectives
(3) Products.

* Based on your reading and Web searches, write your own definition of the following as they appear in the national standards or in referring to them:

(1) Goal (4) Content Standard (7) Progress Indicators
(2) Standard (5) Performance Standard
(3) Performance Objective (6) Learning Scenario

* Where does literature - popular or classic - appear in the national standards?
* What has happened to the "four skills" - reading, writing, listening, speaking - as they appear in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines [see discussion later]? As you continue your reading, try to determine if the national standards and the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines are mutually exclusive or are they (can they) be combined in the foreign language curriculum and in foreign language materials?