Research Competencies in Foreign Language Teacher Education

Expected by ACTFL

Excerpts from:

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Program Standards for the Preparation of Foreign Language Teachers: Initial Level – Undergraduate & Graduate (For K-12 and Secondary Certification Programs). Yonkers, NY: American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2002.

STANDARD 2: Cultures, Literatures, Cross-Disciplinary Concepts

Standard 2.a. Demonstrating Cultural Understandings

Standard 2.b. Demonstrating Understanding of Literary and Cultural Texts and Traditions

Standard 2.c. Integrating Other Disciplines In Instruction

Sample Candidate Evidence For Standard 2

STANDARD 3: Language Acquisition Theories and Instructional Practices

Sample Candidate Evidence For Standard 3

STANDARD 4: Integration Of Standards Into Curriculum and Instruction

Standard 4.c. Selecting and Designing Instructional Materials

Sample Candidate Evidence For Standard 4

STANDARD 6: Professionalism

Standard 6.a. Engaging in Professional Development

Summary of Candidate Evidence for Standard 6


STANDARD 2: Cultures, Literatures, Cross-Disciplinary Concepts

Standard 2.a. Demonstrating Cultural Understandings. Candidates demonstrate that they understand the connections among the perspectives of a culture and its practices and products, and they integrate the cultural framework for foreign language standards into their instructional practices.

Supporting Explanation

Candidates acquire knowledge of cultural perspectives as they are reflected in the practices and products of the target language.

They pursue new insights into culture and expand their repertoire of knowledge by analyzing new cultural information that allows learners to join communities in the target culture, including information contained in documents, interactions with native speakers, and social and institutional frameworks.

Candidates then present information about the target culture products, practices, and perspectives to an audience of listeners/speakers.

(36)

Elements Approaches Standard Meets Standard Exceeds Standard
Dispositions for cultural learning Candidates base their own and their students' cultural work on familiar and factual cultural content. Candidates integrate cultural insights with the target language in its communicative functions and content areas. They work to extend their knowledge of culture through independent work and interactions with native speakers. Candidates emphasize cultural concepts as they teach language, analyze and synthesize cultural information form authentic sources in various media and in relation to specific communities or audiences. They work to build a large repertoire of cultural knowledge and experiences.

(37)

Standard 2.b. Demonstrating Understanding of Literary and Cultural Texts and Traditions. Candidates recognize the value and role of literary and cultural texts and use them to interpret and reflect upon the perspectives of the target cultures over time.

Supporting Explanation

Candidates have a broad understanding of and an appreciation for traditions in the target language. They are able to identify the contributions of major writers, thinkers, artists, and cultural icons, the roles they play, and references made to them in the culture. Literary texts include children’s literature as well as varieties of adult contemporary literature. Candidates are familiar with and able to interpret texts in the variety of discourses that represent the target culture’s traditions and contemporary variations.

Candidates read at the level of analysis, interpretation, and synthesis. They use their knowledge of the literary traditions to interpret changes in the culture over time. Candidates are able to compare and contrast literary traditions in the target culture with those of other cultures. In turn, candidates select and adapt literary texts in ways that engage their students in activities that heighten awareness of target cultures and advance students’ communicative proficiencies. Candidates expand their own language proficiency and cultural knowledge through independent and on-going work with literary and cultural texts.

(38-39)

Elements Approaches Standard Meets Standard Exceeds Standard
Knowledge of literary and cultural texts Candidates are aware of major literary texts and have read excerpts, abridgments, or reviews of those works and authors. Candidates interpret literary texts that represent defining works in the target cultures. They identify themes, authors, historical style, and text types in a variety of media that the cultures deem important in understanding the traditions of the cultures. Candidates interpret and synthesize ideas and critical issues from literary and other cultural texts that represent the historical and contemporary works of a wide range of writers in a wide range of forms and media. They interpret from multiple viewpoints and approaches.
Integrating texts from literature and other media in instruction Candidates use literary and cultural texts as they accompany teaching plans in instructional materials, and they elicit a literal interpretation of them. Candidates select literary and cultural texts appropriate to age, interests, and proficiency level of their students. They integrate these texts into lessons, design activities that develop language competencies based on these texts, and engage students in interpreting their meaning and the cultural perspectives that they represent. Candidates systematically use literary and cultural texts as the basis for helping students to gain insights into the products, practices, and perspectives of the target culture(s), and to expand language competencies.
Dispositions toward exploring literatures and other texts and media Candidates use in their teaching the texts available in the instructional materials that support the curriculum. Candidates identify from their studies lists of texts they plan to use and adapt in their teaching. They enrich classroom content with texts and topics valued by the culture. These texts are taken from literature and other media. Candidates seek out age-appropriate materials valued by the culture that represent literature, film, and media to expand the repertoire of texts they use in instruction.

(39)

Standard 2.c. Integrating Other Disciplines In Instruction. Candidates integrate knowledge of other disciplines into foreign language instruction and identify distinctive viewpoints accessible only through the target language.

Supporting Explanation

Candidates use their proficiency in the target language to access information on disciplines and interdisciplinary perspectives that represent the target culture. Virtually every document, oral or written, that has been created in the target language provides insights, conveys ideas, or represents creative expression from the culture. The foreign language field has always been heavily interdisciplinary, and candidates derive much of their knowledge of the culture from content in fields such as, history, geography, art history, theater, and philosophy, as well as political and natural sciences. Candidates are expected to expand their academic knowledge by reading texts or listening to or watching tapes, film, video, or the Internet from a variety of disciplinary sources.

Candidates demonstrate knowledge in the target language of a variety of disciplines and their applications to the interpretation of cultures, understand how to integrate content from other subject areas into the foreign language curriculum, locate content area sources that are appropriate for the level of instruction, age of students, program goals, and interests of students. Candidates reinforce subject area content in the foreign language in a comprehensible and meaningful manner and provide their students with strategies for learning the content of other subject areas through the foreign language.

Candidates believe that other subject areas can be enhanced through foreign language study and recognize that subject area content motivates learners and connects the foreign language with other disciplines in the curriculum. They are curious about and seek opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines to find appropriate areas of connection between foreign language and other subjects in the curriculum. Recognizing the value of using authentic texts, such as those found on the Internet, to provide students with distinctive viewpoints, they are willing to work collaboratively with students to learn new subject area content.

Candidates believe that they can acquire new information and distinctive viewpoints that are accessible only through the target language. Therefore, candidates provide opportunities for their students to explore specialized topics or areas of interest through foreign language texts and materials. Since candidates may not be familiar with all areas of interest of their students, they are willing to work collaboratively with students to learn new subject content. Their classrooms, therefore, become communities of learners in which both the teacher and learner explore and learn new content together.

(39-40)

Elements Approaches Standard Meets Standard Exceeds Standard
Integration of other subject areas into language instruction Candidates integrate discrete pieces of information from other subject areas, usually as they appear in instructional materials. Candidates integrate concepts from other subject areas such as math, science, social studies, art, and music. They teach students strategies for learning this new content in the foreign language. Candidates implement a content-based approach to language instruction that is based on the integration of language and subject-area content.
Planning for cross-disciplinary instruction Candidates plan to integrate subject-area content by using resources that accompany instructional materials. Candidates collaborate with colleagues in making connections between language and other subject areas. They locate authentic resources appropriate to the age, grade level, program goals, and interests of their students. Candidates systematically plan for instruction with colleagues from other subject areas. They may do team-teaching in order to fully integrate instruction.
Dispositions for integrating other subject areas into language instruction Candidates’ philosophy of language teaching focuses primarily on language instruction, with minimal attention to other content areas. Candidates devote time to finding ways to integrate subject-area content and to locating authentic resources. They are willing to learn new content with students. Candidates create a community of learners within the classroom, in which the teacher and learners work together to acquire new information and perspectives across disciplines.

(40-41)

Sample Candidate Evidence For Standard 2

      • Projects / technology-enhanced presentations on literary or cultural topics
      • Performance on examinations demonstrating understanding of cultural framework
      • Capstone projects / research reports addressing cross-disciplinary content
      • Reports on classroom experiences, describing cultural knowledge/perspectives acquired
      • Journal entries that illustrate knowledge and understanding of the culture, acquired as a result of interaction with target-language communities
      • Annotated list of websites that serve as sources of cultural and subject-matter content
      • Philosophy of teaching statement that addresses the role of culture, literature, and cross-disciplinary content
      • Lesson plans demonstrating the integration of culture and content from other disciplines into language lessons
      • K-12 student work samples that illustrate cultural learning
      • Reflections on the benefits of extra-curricular events attended, such as theatre, round-table discussions, etc.
      • Literary interpretations of a variety of texts
(41)

STANDARD 3: Language Acquisition Theories and Instructional Practices

Sample Candidate Evidence For Standard 3

      • Written synthesis of professional journal articles that address current research and/or teaching practices, together with a reflection on the information learned
(46)

STANDARD 4: Integration Of Standards Into Curriculum and Instruction

Standard 4.c. Selecting and Designing Instructional Materials. Candidates use standards and curricular goals to evaluate, select, adapt, and design instructional materials.

Supporting Explanation

The Standards for Foreign Language Learning have served as a catalyst for change, not only in the areas of planning and classroom instruction, but also in the selection, adaptation, and design of instructional materials. Candidates use the organizing principles of the standards as they evaluate, select, and create instructional materials. Where in the past the textbook was the primary resource, candidates now use the textbook as one of many resources. These resources include visuals, realia, authentic printed and oral texts, and other authentic materials obtained through technology (e.g., Internet). Candidates locate and use authentic materials in their teaching, since the value of authentic materials is that they reflect real-world language as it is used by native speakers in target cultures. Candidates adapt the textbook and other materials to align them with standards-based goals. They devote the effort necessary to locate effective materials, to adapt them, and to design their own.

Elements Approaches Standard Meets Standard Exceeds Standard
Evaluation, selection, creation of standards-based materials Candidates base their selection and design of materials on short-term instructional objectives more than on standards and/or curricular goals. Candidates use their knowledge of standards and curricular goals to evaluate, select, and design materials, including visuals, realia, authentic printed and oral materials, and other resources obtained through technology. Candidates base their selection and design of materials on the standards philosophy and their curricular goals. They creatively use a wealth of resources including visuals, realia, authentic printed and oral materials, and other resources obtained through technology. They justify the use of these materials.
Use of authentic materials Candidates primarily use materials created for formal classroom use. Candidates identify and integrate authentic materials into classroom activities (e.g., tape recorded news broadcasts and talk shows, magazine and newspaper articles, literary selections, video taped talk shows, realia). They help students to acquire strategies for understanding and interpreting authentic texts. Candidates use authentic materials to plan for and deliver instruction. They implement a variety of classroom activities based on authentic materials. They engage students in acquiring new information by exploring authentic texts.
Adaptation of materials Candidates use instructional materials as they have been developed commercially. Candidates adapt materials as necessary to reflect standards-based goals and instruction when materials fall short. An integral part of candidates’ planning is to adapt materials to make standards-based learning more effective.
Dispositions for locating resources and creating materials Candidates use instructional materials that are readily available. Candidates locate additional resources that enhance topics/themes in the curriculum. Candidates plan to address standards through appropriate materials. They seek out appealing resources from which to create materials.

(50-51)

Sample Candidate Evidence For Standard 4

      • Written rationales for the selection of materials used in lessons
      • List of sources of standards-based lesson materials, including authentic materials and those obtained through various technologies
      • Journal entries that describe how the candidate uses technology to integrate the standards into instruction
      • Written critiques of instructional resources such as the text, websites, video segments
      • Instructional materials adapted by the candidate with a description of how and why materials were adapted
(51)

STANDARD 6: Professionalism

Standard 6.a. Engaging in Professional Development. Candidates engage in professional development opportunities that strengthen their own linguistic and cultural competence and promote reflection on practice.

Supporting Explanation

Candidates understand the importance and benefits of belonging to a professional community. They are aware that there are different communities that support them in different ways at various points in their careers. More importantly, they understand that professional development is a life-long endeavor and an indispensable asset to becoming a contributing member of the profession. Professional development may include such activities as participating in conferences and workshops, reading professional journals, and linking theory and practice by systematically reflecting on teaching, learning and assessment. Candidates believe that it is their responsibility to seek counsel from mentors as to which organizations might be most appropriate for their specific needs. Candidates develop the ability to reflect on the outcomes of their involvement in these professional communities and on how their continued participation will strengthen their own linguistic and cultural competence and refine their pedagogical practices. They understand the importance of seeking professional growth.

Elements Approaches Standard Meets Standard Exceeds Standard
Awareness of professional community Candidates identify appropriate professional communities. Candidates identify and participate in at least one professional organization. Candidates identify and participate in multiple professional communities.
Life-long commitment to professional growth Candidates articulate the need for ongoing professional development. Candidates identify immediate professional development needs. Candidates outline a process for identifying ongoing professional development needs and the potential providers (e.g., state organization) to meet these needs.
Reflection as a critical tool for growth Candidates recognize the potential of reflection and research as essential tools for becoming an effective practitioner. They rely on others' questions to frame reflection. Candidates frame their own reflection and research questions and show evidence of engaging in a reflective process to improve teaching and learning. Candidates systematically engage in a reflective process for analyzing student work and planning future instruction. They identify possibilities of classroom-based research to inform practice.
Dispositions for seeking professional growth Candidates often respond to the suggestions that others make regarding candidates’ own professional growth. Candidates seek opportunities for professional growth. Candidates develop a plan for their continued professional growth.

(57-58)

Summary of Candidate Evidence for Standard 6

      • List of research questions that the candidate has at this point in career
      • List of sources for accessing data {sic} foreign-language specific data (e.g., types of programs offered across state/nation, student enrollment figures)
(59)


Last modified February 11, 2007
by Boris Teske, Prescott Memorial Library,
Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA 71272