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E ARLY L ANGUAGE L EARNING (FLES/FLEX) Expanding the Scope of German Instruction in Elementary and Middle Schools in Missouri.

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Presentation on theme: "E ARLY L ANGUAGE L EARNING (FLES/FLEX) Expanding the Scope of German Instruction in Elementary and Middle Schools in Missouri."— Presentation transcript:

1 E ARLY L ANGUAGE L EARNING (FLES/FLEX) Expanding the Scope of German Instruction in Elementary and Middle Schools in Missouri

2 T OPICS TO A DDRESS Benefits of Having More German FLES/FLEX Programs Challenges We Face How to Leverage Resources Next Steps We Can Take

3 C HARACTERISTICS OF Y OUNG L EARNERS Capacity for abstraction begins around age (Jean Piaget), so emphasis is on meaning in relation to concrete problems & referents, not grammar or language analysis Need to appeal to multiple intelligences (Howard Gardner) and use multisensory approaches Input needs to be meaningful, interesting, comprehensible ( i + 1) and contextual in L2 (Stephen Krashen)

4 Y OUNG L EARNERS (C ONT ’ D ) Meaning in L2 is established through thematic, integrative approaches incorporating content of the gen. curriculum Low anxiety is essential Caretaker speech is essential (Curtain & Dahlberg): slower rate, distinct pronunciation, gesture and visual reinforcement, shorter & less complex sentences, more rephrasing and repetition, more frequent meaning checks, and heavy scaffolding

5 Y OUNG L EARNERS (C ONT ’ D ) Layers of Educ. Development (Kieran Egan) The Mythic Layer: Ages 4-5 through 9-10 emotions/moral categories central, drawn to polar opposites and absolutes, vivid imagination, egocentric, story form essential The Romantic Layer: Ages 8-9 through identity now separate from rest of a fascinating but frightful world, drawn to extremes and unusual realistic details, drawn to transcendent qualities (courage, nobility, genius, etc.), strong collection & memorization impulses, stories containing realistic detail and real-life heroes

6 G ENERAL B ENEFITS OF E ARLY L ANGUAGE P ROGRAMS Promote brain development for all students. Seize on capacity for native-like pronunciation of new languages if learning begins by the onset of puberty (within the critical period). Capitalize on enthusiasm of younger students for pen pals, songs, rhymes, acting, stories, discovering world, etc. Improve overall levels of student proficiency & permanence of second language acquisition by senior year (lifelong retention).

7 B ENEFITS S PECIFIC TO G ERMAN Expose students to positive aspects of German culture and history before, or as early as, history courses expose them to negative aspects. Avoid loss of German programs for older students due to lateness of entry points and lack of continuity in many school districts and systems. Increase the number of students feeding into high school and college courses. Produce a larger pool of German teachers.

8 T HE H URDLES Supplying teachers qualified in German language instruction Scheduling issues Training on use of age-appropriate methods Finding or developing age-appropriate materials Tying curriculum to common core standards Integration with general curriculum Ensuring continuity with instruction in upper grades/college (Countering loss of public univ. programs) Convincing administrators Overcoming budget & administr. Constraints U.S. isolation/culture

9 H URDLE 1: F INDING E NOUGH T EACHERS W HO K NOW G ERMAN How can we leverage these potential resources to address staffing needs during the regular school day?  Part-time German teachers  Unemployed German teachers  Retired German teachers  Local native speakers not trained as teachers  Teachers from German-speaking countries wishing to immigrate  College level German students interested in service learning (for credit) or training to become teachers  High school German student volunteers  General elementary and middle school teachers willing to obtain language training

10 H URDLE 2: F ITTING G ERMAN INTO S CHOOL S CHEDULES How can we apply these techniques to address the problems associated with limited class time/staff?  Build relationships with elementary and middle school teachers in your district  Coordinate with regular classroom teachers to minimize amount of disruption/maximize effectiveness  Introduce German programs one elementary school at a time and then expand to more schools within district or program in order to: Build in time for teacher hiring and training and curriculum development Encourage feedback from stakeholders before expansion Allow time for absorption of new costs

11 S CHEDULING (C ONT ’ D )  Build up new program from desired entry point: Year 1: 4 th graders begin Year 2: new 4 th graders begin and 5 th graders continue from prior year Same approach for 6 th grade and continuing into middle school  Or start with after school (parent funded) or gifted program, then move into general school  To be effective, students need a minimum of 20 minutes per day, at least 3 days per week. Current best practice is minutes per day, three to five days per week.

12 S CHEDULING (C ONT ’ D )  Use traveling teachers to cover multiple schools (e.g. 1 teacher/4 schools stretches funding/staff)  Train regular classroom teachers along with the students and leave them with resources for follow-up activities that tie into and reinforce the rest of the curriculum (e.g. math worksheets, songs, bilingual materials on food, body parts, etc.) to extend the amount of time spent by students in L2  Teach all of one grade level at a given school in a single hour by pulling out half of each classroom and combining them, then rotating

13 SAMPLE SCHEDULE: MoDiMiDoFr Hour 1School 1 4 th Grade School 3 4 th Grade School 1 4 th Grade School 3 4 th Grade PLAN ↓ Hour 2School 1 5 th Grade School 3 5 th Grade School 1 5 th Grade School 3 5 th Grade (regular Hour 3School 1 6 th Grade School 3 6 th Grade School 1 6 th Grade School 3 6 th Grade teachers Hour 4School 2 4 th Grade School 4 4 th Grade School 2 4 th Grade School 4 4 th Grade review Hour 5School 2 5 th Grade School 4 5 th Grade School 2 5 th Grade School 4 5 th Grade with Hour 6School 2 6 th Grade School 4 6 th Grade School 2 6 th Grade School 4 6 th Grade students)

14 H URDLE 3: T RAINING ON METHODS FOR K-8 How can we leverage resources to generate age-appropriate materials and training in K-8 methods?  MO-AATG or Goethe Institut or German immersion school speakers at Instructors’ Days, FLAM or special events  Training by teachers from the German School Association in St. Louis  Online courses (e.g. Iowa State University) or webinars

15 H URDLE 4: G ENERATING A GE - A PPROPRIATE M ATERIALS  MO-AATG working group that could recommend materials & curricular goals tied to general curriculum  Published CEFR-referenced materials (need for correlation with our National Standards)  Liaison with ACTFL’s Special Interest Group on Language Learning for Children (the LLC SIG) or the NNELL (National Network for Early Language Learning)  Create MO-AATG website links to appropriate AATG and other materials  MO-AATG discussion board to share materials

16 H URDLES 5-7: S TANDARDS, I NTEGRATION, C ONTINUITY How can we leverage these resources to promote consistency with state standards and continuity as students move up from elem. and middle school?  New MO-AATG working group to:  identify lower-grade-level goals that help teachers farther up continuum correctly place students  articulate sample K-16 progress indicators for students entering German instruction at various points, referring to Sample Progress Indicators in German section of Standards for For. Lang. Learning in the 21 st Century  synthesize above with general curricula for K-8 programs in Missouri (thematic unit approach)

17 S TANDARDS, I NTEGRATION AND C ONTINUITY (C ONT ’ D )  A clearinghouse on MO-AATG’s website where teachers can post information about the texts and other materials they use for each grade level, and/or share exit exams to promote continuity  Links to other relevant standards (e.g. general K-8 curriculum)  Partnerships with elementary and middle school teacher groups (thematic units)

18 H URDLE 8: S ELLING I T ! W HAT RESOURCES CAN WE USE TO CONVINCE ADMINISTRATORS TO SELECT G ERMAN FLES/FLEX?  PowerPoint on MO-AATG website that is always available for presentations  List of colleagues from MO- AATG who can co-present  Brochure summarizing benefits/addressing concerns such as staffing, standards, scheduling, costs, etc.  Getting DaF in local news  Networking with community advocates (German/Swiss/ Austrian firms and NGOs) at career days  Persistence!

19 W HAT A RE O UR N EXT S TEPS ? Chapter Liaison/Coordinator? MO-AATG Teams?  Standards/Goals/Continuity  Materials Eval. & Develop.  Training/Staffing/Scheduling  Cost Estimates Document  PowerPoint & Brochure  Co-Presenters MO-AATG web resources?  Discussion board/links  Database on textbooks & materials used and exit exams Photo courtesy of: puzzlemepuzzle


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