As a new teacher, I found this...well...puzzling. As I reflected on my performance I began to see that in trying to please everyone, I was losing my focus. What was I going to teach? What the textbook told me to and what my colleagues expected? What my students were interested in? What the parents wanted to see their children able to do at home? Where did the benchmarks and standards fit into all of this? What did all of these groups have in common and how could I fit them all together?
Eventually, I decided to focus on the skills my students needed to build. The ACTFL (American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language) has published a series of "Can Do" statements aligned with varying proficiency levels (Novice-Low, Novice-Mid, Novice-High, Intermediate-Low, etc.). These statements are actually written for students, so they are devoid of much of the education jargon and rhetoric we have become so accustomed to. They are straight-forward, measurable skills that build on themselves throughout a students course of language study. These have become my anchor as each year I face a new group of students.
Throughout the year, I have posters featuring these "Can Do" statements in my room. They are hanging up from day one so that students can see what they are going to be able to do (if they hold up their end of the bargain) by the end of the year. During open house and conferences, I share them with parents. As administrators walk in and out of my classroom throughout the year and during evaluations, they are there. They have done a lot of the communication for me and made that puzzle feel like it has a few less pieces.
Here are links to the posters I use in my room, which align with the ACTFL "I Can" statements:
Foreign Language Learning Goal Posters: Level 1
Foreign Language Learning Goal Posters: Level 2
Foreign Language Learning Goal Posters: Level 3
Foreign Language Learning Goal Posters: Level 4
Foreign Language Learning Goal Posters: Level 5
How do you make students aware of the goals and what they should be able to do?
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