Another option for parent’s night from the archives:
Anne Matava has an open house this week but no set parent demo sessions so she just prepared the document below as she meets the parents informally. Anne is new to the school and these parents know nothing but traditional instruction in world languages and from what I gather from Anne the school is still set in the 20th century in terms of WL pedagogy. So the parents probably WANT more of the same and expect it and that is Anne’s concern. So what would be the best way to meet them? Anne has prepared the following text for them. Any feedback is welcome.
French at Belfast Area High School
My teaching method is informed by the work of Dr. Stephen Krashen, a leading researcher in the area of second language acquisition. Dr. Krashen discovered that students acquire language only when they are exposed to meaningful comprehensible input. That means that my job as the teacher is to provide spoken and written French that the students find interesting and can understand.
A typical class consists of students seeing a new phrase or phrases on the board, with their English translation. We discuss the new phrase and work together to make up a scenario, or story, using the phrase. There is a lot of questioning and repetition, and laughter—it is fun to use the language in creative ways.
The next day, students are given a typed copy of yesterday’s story to read—again, with a lot of discussion. They may have a quiz on the material, or a dictation. Eventually I will ask them to write and speak, but only as they are ready.
There is a fairly rigid protocol for this type of instruction, which is known alternately as “comprehensible input instruction”, or TPRS (teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling.) Students are expected to answer all questions, respond to all statements, and may use English only to provide details when requested, and then only one or two words. Attached you will find a copy of my rubric that measures these behaviors. Students and I fill these out periodically, independently of one another, and any discrepancies get discussed and worked out.
Grades, then, are based on weekly quizzes, class participation, and a quarterly reading comprehension test. Homework is rarely assigned, although your child may ask you to listen to him/her retell a story for extra credit.
I am available to talk with parents every day before and after school. You can also e-mail me at amatava@rsu20. I’m very excited to be starting my 27th year of teaching foreign language at Belfast Area High School. Please feel free to contact me any time.
If you would like to read more about Krashen’s work on second language acquisition, I recommend this website as a good place to start: