• World Languages Best Practices

    Portland Public Schools' world language instruction places a high value on developing a world language program that is based on performance of the language rather than knowledge about the language. Students are engaged in meaningful, authentic and purposeful language learning tasks which include an integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing as well as building cultural understanding.

    Teachers, as much as possible, emulate authentic language use. They:
    • Use the target language extensively and encourage the students to do so.
    • Establish an affective climate in which students feel comfortable taking risks.
    • Provide opportunities to use the target language to interact with others, to understand others and to make oneself understood.
    • Use a variety of print and non-print materials including authentic materials.
    • Value students for whom this is their first language.
    Teachers understand that language learning is not additively sequential but is recursive and paced differently at various stages of acquisition. They:
    • Utilize class time for listening, speaking, reading and writing which is appropriate to course objectives and to the language skills of students.
    • Use the textbook as a tool, not as a curriculum
    • Use explicit error correction in activities when the focus is on discrete language points and uses indirect correction when communication is the focus.
    Teachers understand that language proficiency involves both comprehension and production. comprehension abilities tend to precede and exceed productive abilities.
    • Classroom assessments reflect the way students are taught.
    • Student tasks and teacher questions reflect a range of thinking skills.
    • Students are explicitly taught second language learning strategies and are encouraged to assess their own progress.
    • Culture is systematically incorporated into instruction.
    • Students are enabled to develop positive attitudes toward cultural diversity.
    • The physical environment of the classroom reflects the target language and culture.
    Teachers understand that language learning is complex. Instruction takes into account individual learning styles and rates, and also attends to teaching process strategies for successful learning. They:
    • Use a variety of print and non-print materials including authentic materials.
    • Use technology resources to assist in language learning and practice.
    Teachers understand that the ability to perform with language is facilitated when students actively engage in meaningful, authentic and purposeful language learning tasks.
    • Use activities that simulate real-life situations.
    Teachers assess oral proficiency in open-ended tasks as well as achievement of specific skills. They are familiar with oral proficiency interviews and use them to assess students' proficiency.