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College Board AP Standards and Guidelines for Foreign Language

STANDARDS

FOR

FOREIGN

LANGUAGE

LEARNING

Preparing for the 21st Century

COMMUNITIES

CONNECTIONS

COMMUNICATION

COMPARISONS

CULTURES

In 1993, a coalition of

four national language organizations

(the American

Council on the Teaching of

Foreign Languages, the

American Association of

Teachers of French, the

American Association of

Teachers of German, and

the American Association of

Teachers of Spanish and

Portuguese) received funding

to develop standards

for foreign language education,

grades K-12.

This was the seventh

and final subject area to

receive federal support to

develop national standards

as part of the Bush Administration’s

America 2000

education initiative, which

continued under Goals 2000 in the Clinton Administration. An eleven-member task

force, representing a variety of languages, levels of instruction, program models, and

geographic regions, was appointed to undertake the task of defining content standards

what students should know and be able to do—in foreign language education.

At each stage of development, the task force shared its work with the broader profession

and the public at large. The resulting document represents an unprecedented

consensus among educators, business leaders, government, and the community on the

definition and role of foreign language instruction in American education.

The standards do not describe the current status of foreign language education in

this country. While they reflect the best instructional practice, they do not describe

what is being attained by the majority of foreign language students. The Standards for

Foreign Language Learning will not be achieved overnight; rather, they provide a gauge

against which to measure improvement in the years to come.

The standards are not a curriculum guide. While they suggest the types of curricular

experiences needed to enable students to achieve the standards, and support the

ideal of extended sequences of study that begin in the elementary grades and continue

through high school and beyond, they do not describe specific course content, nor

recommended sequence of study. They must be used in conjunction with state and

local standards and curriculum frameworks to determine the best approaches and reasonable

expectations for the students in individual districts and schools.

Language and communication are at the

heart of the human experience. The

United States must educate students who

are linguistically and culturally equipped

to communicate successfully in a pluralistic

American society and abroad. This

imperative envisions a future in which

ALL students will develop and maintain

proficiency in English and at least one

other language, modern or classical.

Children who come to school from non-

English backgrounds should also have

opportunities to develop further proficiencies

in their first language.

Statement of Philosophy

Standards for Foreign Language Learning

The purposes and uses of foreign languages are as diverse as the

students who study them. Some students study another language in

hopes of finding a rewarding career in the international marketplace

or government service. Others are interested in the intellectual challenge

and cognitive benefits that accrue to those who master multiple

languages. Still others seek greater understanding of other people

and other cultures. Many approach foreign language study, as

they do other courses, simply to fulfill a graduation requirement.

Regardless of the reason for study, foreign languages have something

to offer everyone. It is with this philosophy in mind that the

standards task force identified five goal areas that encompass all of

these reasons: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons,

and Communities—the five C’s of foreign language education.

Communication is at the heart of second language study,

whether the communication takes place face-to-face, in writing,

or across centuries through the reading of literature.

Through the study of other languages, students gain a

knowledge and understanding of the cultures that use that language

and, in fact, cannot truly master the language until they

have also mastered the cultural contexts in which the language

occurs.

Learning languages provides connections to additional bodies

of knowledge that may be unavailable to the monolingual

English speaker.

Through comparisons and contrasts with the language

being studied, students develop insight into the nature of language

and the concept of culture and realize that there are multiple

ways of viewing the world.

Together, these elements enable the student of languages to

participate in multilingual communities at home and around

the world in a variety of contexts and in culturally appropriate

ways.

“Knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom

All the linguistic and social knowledge required for effective human-to-human interaction

is encompassed in those ten words. Formerly, most teaching in foreign language

classrooms concentrated on the how (grammar) to say what (vocabulary).

While these components of language are indeed crucial, the current organizing principle

for foreign language study is communication, which also highlights the why, the

whom, and the when. So, while grammar and vocabulary are essential tools for communication,

it is the acquisition of the ability to communicate in meaningful and

appropriate ways with users of other languages that is the ultimate goal of today’s foreign

language classroom.

The Five C’s of

Foreign Language

Education

Communication

Cultures

Connections

Comparisons

Communities

Standards for

Foreign

Language

Learning

Communication

Communicate in Languages

Other Than English

Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversations,

provide and obtain information,

express feelings and emotions, and exchange

opinions.

Standard 1.2: Students understand and

interpret written and spoken language on

a variety of topics.

Standard 1.3: Students present information,

concepts, and ideas to an audience of

listeners or readers on a variety of topics.

Cultures

Gain Knowledge and

Understanding of Other Cultures

Standard 2.1: Students demonstrate an

understanding of the relationship between

the practices and perspectives of the culture

studied.

Standard 2.2: Students demonstrate an

understanding of the relationship between

the products and perspectives of the culture

studied.

Connections

Connect with Other Disciplines and

Acquire Information

Standard 3.1: Students reinforce and further

their knowledge of other disciplines

through the foreign language.

Standard 3.2: Students acquire information

and recognize the distinctive viewpoints

that are only available through the foreign

language and its cultures.

Comparisons

Develop Insight into the Nature of

Language and Culture

Standard 4.1: Students demonstrate understanding

of the nature of language through comparisons

of the language studied and their own.

Standard 4.2: Students demonstrate understanding

of the concept of culture through comparisons

of the cultures studied and their own.

Communities

Participate in Multilingual Communities

at Home & Around the World

Standard 5.1: Students use the language

both within and beyond the school setting.

Standard 5.2: Students show evidence of

becoming life-long learners by using the

language for personal enjoyment and

enrichment.

Following is an abbreviated sample of the goals, standards, and progress indicators for grades four, eight, and twelve

as they appear in “Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century.”

COMMUNICATION

1.1 Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions,

and exchange opinions.

This standard focuses on interpersonal communication, that is, direct oral or written communication

between individuals who are in personal contact. In most modern languages, students

can quite quickly learn a number of phrases that will permit them to interact with each other.

In the course of their study, they will grow in their ability to converse in a culturally appropriate

manner.

Sample Progress Indicators

1.2 Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.

Standard 1.2 involves one-way listening and reading in which the learner works with a variety

of print and non-print materials. The context in which the language is experienced and the ability

to control what they hear and read may impact students’ development of comprehension. As

a result, the ability to read may develop before the ability to comprehend rapid spoken language.

In addition, content knowledge will often affect successful comprehension, for students understand

more easily materials that reflect their interests or for which they have some background.

Sample Progress Indicators

1.3 Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.

This standard focuses on the formal presentation of information, concepts, and ideas in spoken

and written form and is concerned, in most cases, with one-way speaking and writing. Students

with little or no previous language experience are likely to produce written and spoken language

that will contain a variety of learned patterns or will look like English with words in the

other language. This is a natural process and, over time, they begin to acquire authentic patterns

and to use appropriate styles. By contrast, home-background students will write in ways that

closely resemble the spoken language. Moreover, they will control informal oral styles. Over

time these learners will develop the ability to write and speak using more formal styles.

Sample Progress Indicators

Grade 4: Students ask and answer questions

about such things as family, school

events, and celebrations in person or via

letters, e-mail, or audio and video tapes.

Grade 8: Students exchange information

about personal events, memorable experiences,

and other school subjects with peers

and/or members of the target cultures.

Grade 12: Students exchange, support, and

discuss their opinions and individual perspectives

with peers and/or speakers of the target

language on a variety of topics dealing with

contemporary and historical issues.

Grade 4: Students comprehend the main

idea of developmentally appropriate oral

narratives such as personal anecdotes, familiar

fairy tales, and other narratives based on

familiar themes.

Grade 8: Students use knowledge acquired in

other settings and from other subject areas to

comprehend spoken and written messages

in the target languages.

Grade 12: Students demonstrate an increasing

understanding of the cultural nuances of

meaning in written and spoken language as

expressed by speakers and writers of the target

language in formal and informal settings.

Grade 4: Students prepare illustrated stories

about activities or events in their environment

and share with an audience such

as the class.

Grade 8: Students prepare tape or video

recorded messages to share locally or with

school peers and/or members of the target

cultures on topics of personal interest.

Grade 12: Students prepare a researchbased

analysis of a current event from the

perspective of both the U.S. and target cultures.

2.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of the

relationship between the practices and perspectives

of the culture studied.

This standard focuses on the practices that are

derived from the traditional ideas and attitudes (perspectives)

of a culture. Cultural practices refer to patterns

of behavior accepted by a society and deal with

aspects of culture such as rites of passage, the use of

forms of discourse, the social “pecking order,” and

the use of space. In short, they represent the knowledge

of “what to do when and where.”

2.2 Students demonstrate an understanding of the

relationship between the products and perspectives

of the culture studied.

This standard focuses on the products of the culture studied

and on how they reflect the perspectives of the culture.

Products may be tangible (e.g., a painting, a piece of literature,

a pair of chopsticks) or intangible (e.g., an oral tale, a dance, a

sacred ritual, a system of education). Whatever the form of the

product, its presence within the culture is required or justified

by the underlying beliefs and values (perspectives) of that culture,

and the cultural practices involve the use of that product.

CULTURES

3.1 Students reinforce and further their knowledge

of other disciplines through the foreign language.

Learning today is no longer restricted to a specific discipline;

it has become interdisciplinary. Just as reading

cannot be limited to a particular segment of the school

day, so too can foreign language build upon the

knowledge that students acquire in other subject

areas. In addition, students can relate the information

studied in other subjects to their learning of the foreign

language and culture. Foreign language instruction

thus becomes a means to expand and deepen

students’ understanding of, and exposure to, other

areas of knowledge. The new information and concepts

presented in one class become the basis of continued

learning in the foreign language classroom.

3.2 Students acquire information and recognize the

distinctive viewpoints that are only available

through the foreign language and its cultures.

As a consequence of learning another language and

gaining access to its unique means of communication,

students are able to broaden the sources of information

available to them. They have a “new window

on the world.” At the early levels of language learning,

students can begin to examine a variety of

sources intended for native speakers, and extract specific

information. As they become more proficient

users of the foreign language, they can seek out materials

of interest to them, analyze the content, compare

it to information available in their own language, and

assess the linguistic and cultural differences.

4.1 Students demonstrate understanding of the

nature of language through comparisons of

the language studied and their own.

This standard focuses on the impact that learning the

linguistic elements in the new language has on students’

ability to examine English and to develop

hypotheses about the structure and use of languages.

From the earliest language learning experiences, students

can compare and contrast the two languages as

different elements are presented. Activities can be

systematically integrated into instruction that will

assist students in gaining understanding and in

developing their abilities to think critically about

how languages work.

4.2 Students recognize that cultures use different patterns

of interaction and can apply this knowledge

to their own culture.

As students expand their knowledge of cultures

through language learning, they continually discover

perspectives, practices, and products that are similar

and different from their own culture, and they develop

the ability to hypothesize about cultural systems in

general. Some students may make these comparisons

naturally, others may not. This standard helps focus

this reflective process for all students by encouraging

integration of this process into instruction from the

earliest levels of learning.

CONNECTIONS

COMPARISONS

5.1 Students use the language both within and

beyond the school setting.

This standard focuses on language as a tool for communication

with speakers of the language throughout

one’s life: in schools, in the community, and

abroad. In schools, students share their knowledge

of language and culture with classmates and with

younger students who may be learning the language.

Applying what has been learned in the language

program as defined by the other standards,

students come to realize the advantages inherent in

being able to communicate in more than one language

and develop an understanding of the power

of language.

5.2 Students show evidence of becoming lifelong

learners by using the language for personal

enjoyment and enrichment.

Each day millions of Americans spend leisure time

reading, listening to music, viewing films and television

programs, and interacting with each other. By

developing a certain level of comfort with their new

language, students can use these skills to access information

as they continue to learn throughout their

lives. Students who study a language can use their

skills to further enrich their personal lives by accessing

various entertainment and information sources

available to speakers of the language. Some students

may have the opportunity to travel to communities

and countries where the language is used extensively

and, through this experience, further develop their

language skills and understanding of the culture.

SAMPLE LEARNING SCENARIO: NEWSCAST

Description

In the Spanish II class in Williamston High School, a small, rural

community in Michigan, students worked in groups to write, produce,

and videotape a fifteen-to-twenty minute Spanish language

news show that included news events; a live, from-the-scene report;

weather; sports; and commercials. The news events included items

from the Spanish-speaking world, the United States, the state, and

local areas.

Reflection

1.1—Students work cooperatively in groups using the language to produce the newscast.

1.3—Students produce the newscast in the language studied.

2.1—Students present news stories that reflect a perspective from the culture studied.

3.1—Students develop news items on a variety of topics.

5.1—Students use the language in the classroom.

5.2—Students develop insights necessary for media literacy.

If the students were asked to view taped newscasts and commercials from two Spanish speaking countries

and use them as models for their project, an emphasis could be placed on Standards 1.2 and 4.1 (in preparing

for the project, students view newscasts and compare and contrast language styles) and Standard 4.2

(students note cultural similarities and differences in the videotapes they viewed). This type of preparation

for the project would also provide the opportunity to target Standard 2.2 with students analyzing a product

of the culture studied. This scenario could be applied to any language at a variety of levels.

COMMUNITIES

Standards Targeted

1.1 Interpersonal Communication

1.3 Presentational Communication

2.1 Practices of Culture

3.1 Furthering Connections

5.1 School and Community

5.2 Life-long Learning

SAMPLE LEARNING SCENARIO : CHINESE CALENDAR

Description

In Ms. Chen-Lin’s Chinese class in West Hartford, CT, eighth

graders are learning about the Chinese calendar. Students listen to the

folkloric tale of how the years got their names, which the teacher

explains using story cards. The students then use artistic expression to

recall the details of the story by making posters that announce the race of the twelve animals in the story.

They are encouraged to include on their poster the date, time, location, and prize in Chinese. On the next day,

the class explores the importance of a calender in the students’ own culture and in others. The students discuss

the differences found in the Chinese and American calendars. They then make a calendar using Chinese

characters to be used in their homes. They include birthdays, family celebrations, school activities, and other

special events.

Reflection

1.2—Students comprehend the story of the Chinese calendar told in the target language

2.2—Students read about and discuss products of the culture

4.2—Students compare and contrast products found in the two cultures.

In this activity, the students understand the calendar explanation more easily because the teacher accompanies

the story with visuals. The use of artistic expression to check for their understanding allows students with

various learning styles to be successful in showing what they understood from the story. The follow-up discussion

helps students reflect on the importance of a calendar within a culture and the role that the calendar

plays in American culture.

National Standards in Foreign Language Education

a collaborative project of ACTFL, AATF, AATG, AATI, AATSP, ACL/APA,

ACTR, CLASS/CLTA, & NCSTJ/ATJ

c/o American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Inc.

6 Executive Plaza

Yonkers, NY 10701

Targeted Standards

1.2 Interpretive Communication

2.2 Products of Culture

4.2 Culture Comparisons