Early Language Learning (FLES/FLEX)

Report
EARLY
LANGUAGE
LEARNING
(FLES/FLEX)
Expanding the Scope
of German Instruction
in Elementary and
Middle Schools in
Missouri
TOPICS TO ADDRESS
Benefits
of Having More
German FLES/FLEX
Programs
Challenges
We Face
How
to Leverage Resources
Next
Steps We Can Take
CHARACTERISTICS OF
YOUNG LEARNERS
 Capacity
for abstraction begins around age
11-15 (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)
YOUNG LEARNERS (CONT’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
YOUNG LEARNERS (CONT’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 14-15
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
GENERAL BENEFITS OF
EARLY LANGUAGE PROGRAMS
 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).
BENEFITS SPECIFIC TO GERMAN
 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.
THE HURDLES
 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
HURDLE 1: FINDING ENOUGH
TEACHERS WHO KNOW GERMAN
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
HURDLE 2: FITTING GERMAN
INTO SCHOOL SCHEDULES
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
•
SCHEDULING (CONT’D)
Build up new program from desired entry point:
• Year 1: 4th graders begin
• Year 2: new 4th graders begin and 5th
graders continue from prior year
• Same approach for 6th 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 30-40 minutes per day,
three to five days per week.

SCHEDULING (CONT’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

SAMPLE SCHEDULE:
Mo
Di
Mi
Do
Fr
Hour 1
School 1 School 3 School 1 School 3 PLAN
↓
4th Grade 4th Grade 4th Grade 4th Grade
Hour 2
School 1 School 3 School 1 School 3 (regular
5th Grade 5th Grade 5th Grade 5th Grade
Hour 3
School 1 School 3 School 1 School 3 teachers
6th Grade 6th Grade 6th Grade 6th Grade
Hour 4
School 2 School 4 School 2 School 4 review
4th Grade 4th Grade 4th Grade 4th Grade
Hour 5
School 2 School 4 School 2 School 4 with
5th Grade 5th Grade 5th Grade 5th Grade
Hour 6
School 2 School 4 School 2 School 4 students)
6th Grade 6th Grade 6th Grade 6th Grade
HURDLE 3: TRAINING 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
HURDLE 4: GENERATING AGEAPPROPRIATE MATERIALS
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

HURDLES 5-7: STANDARDS,
INTEGRATION, CONTINUITY
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 21st Century
 synthesize above with general curricula for K-8
programs in Missouri (thematic unit approach)

STANDARDS, INTEGRATION
AND CONTINUITY (CONT’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)

PowerPoint on MO-AATG
website that is always
available for presentations
 List of colleagues from MOURDLE
AATG who can co-present
 Brochure summarizing
ELLING T benefits/addressing concerns
WHAT RESOURCES
such as staffing, standards,
CAN WE USE TO
scheduling, costs, etc.
CONVINCE
 Getting DaF in local news
ADMINISTRATORS
 Networking with community
TO SELECT GERMAN advocates (German/Swiss/
FLES/FLEX?
Austrian firms and NGOs)
at career days
 Persistence!

H
S
8:
I !
WHAT ARE OUR NEXT STEPS?
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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