As I prepare for my Spring semester, I am asking myself for each chapter in the textbook “What can the students do after learning this unit?” Unfortunately, the most common answer is to “talk about the topic” . How real world is their learning? As I think about the school chapter (classes, things in the school, parts of the classroom), I realize that the topic is one that relates to students but I wonder how often will they use these vocabulary words, phrases and questions outside of school? How important is it to daily life outside of the school in the target language country? Most modern language travel books do not even include school as a topic.
Maybe we should rethink the topics in textbooks to better prepare our students to actually be in another country. What topics are truly important for students to be in a target language country? For example, NCSSFL-ACTFL Can Do Statements include in the Novice Mid level “I can ask and understand how much something costs”. When do your student learn “how much something costs” in your curriculum? Mine occurs in the fifth or last chapter we cover. How does that match up with what students would need to know if they were in another country? Let’s move from academic modern language to real world modern language for our students!
How does your textbook match up with real world modern language use?
I have developed 5 Visual activities/games for any modern language (no words) and have developed 27 Spanish activities for students to begin to express themselves in the modern language and to move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle
My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.You can instantly use these many communication activities in your classroom with even beginning students when only half the class has mobile devices. It can be downloaded as a pdf.
My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at http://bit.ly/tuttlebks