ACTFL Position Statement Reminder

Last week I published here ACTFL’s position that the target language be used 90% plus of the time in the classroom. Here is that link:
Since then, Diana Noonan has sent me a highlighted version of the same text. It points to a few other sentences that may have escaped our attention, since we were focused on the 90% thing in that other post. I find what Diana pointed to below to be very, very important, in that the wording represents (I interpret it as) a pretty complete endorsement of Krashen by ACTFL. I will categorize the text below under the “ACTFL 90%” category. It is a text that most of our traditional colleagues would be very happy to keep in the shadows of all foreign language pedagogy discussions. The part that Diana highlighted is underlined:

Use of the Target Language in the Classroom
Members-Only – ACTFL Position Statements
Position Statement on Use of the Target Language in the Classroom

Research indicates that effective language instruction must provide significant levels of meaningful communication* and interactive feedback in the target language in order for students to develop language and cultural proficiency. The pivotal role of target-language interaction in language learning is emphasized in the K-16 Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century. ACTFL therefore recommends that language educators and their students use the target language as exclusively as possible (90% plus) at all levels of instruction during instructional time and, when feasible, beyond the classroom. In classrooms that feature maximum target-language use, instructors use a variety of strategies to facilitate comprehension and support meaning making. For example, they:
1. provide comprehensible input that is directed toward communicative goals;
2. make meaning clear through body language, gestures, and visual support;
3. conduct comprehension checks to ensure understanding;
4. negotiate meaning with students and encourage negotiation among students;
5. elicit talk that increases in fluency, accuracy, and complexity over time;
6. encourage self-expression and spontaneous use of language;
7. teach students strategies for requesting clarification and assistance when faced with comprehension difficulties; and
8. offer feedback to assist and improve students’ ability to interact orally in the target language.
*Communication for a classical language refers to an emphasis on reading ability and for American Sign Language (ASL) to signed communicative ability.
Approved by the ACTFL Board of Directors 5-22-10



2 thoughts on “ACTFL Position Statement Reminder”

  1. 5. While the word “elicit” can be interpreted in a variety of ways, it, too, is in line with Krashen. We don’t demand production, we elicit production by awakening desire and providing opportunity to communicate in the target langauge.
    6. “Encourage” but don’t demand self-expression and spontaneous use of language – also in line with Krashen. (Students will speak when they have something to say without memorizing patterns a la ALM.)
    7. We do this in the classroom (fist in hand, hand over head) but could probably do a better job of teaching students useful phrases like “Wie bitte?” (How’s that please?).
    8. Isn’t this just good teaching?

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