What can you say about the K12 curriculum
Teaching materials: examples from practice
Resources for teachers
On this page we present examples of good teaching practice developed by educators in the USA, Canada and Europe. You will also find links to other Goethe Institutes and external projects for German-language specialist teaching here. Using the program target examples, you can understand the entire linguistic development process of the learners in all four modalities for grades K-12. Curriculum examples show the connection between the content areas taught in the target language and the linguistic progression at each grade level. Templates for lesson planning illustrate the process of bilingual immersion in the preschool area for children without any prior knowledge of the German language. Since commercially available materials and program materials for multilingual school education designed in Europe look at the development of language acquisition using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (GER), we wanted you to see the parallels with the US ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines point out. We hope that the selection of our documents is helpful for you and we would like to invite you to take full advantage of them!
What is the Common European Framework of Reference?
The GER distinguishes between three major proficiency levels: A, B and C, which to a certain extent correspond to the traditional division into basic, intermediate and advanced levels. These competence levels result from the sum of various can-do descriptions. Can-do descriptions describe the (linguistic) actions that the learner can cope with. They are positive statements that were formulated with the intention of covering all linguistic activities and forms of interaction. They include qualitative and quantitative aspects: the repertoire, the degree of accuracy, the situation and the context. There are can-do descriptions for the four competence areas speaking, listening, writing and reading.
At the A level we are talking about more elementary, at the B level of more independent and at the C level of competent use of language. The changes on the abstraction level - using the example of the descriptions of understanding - are made clear by the following extracts from the global scale (Council of Europe, 2001):
A2: Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions that are related to areas of very immediate importance (e.g. information about the person and family, shopping, work, the immediate vicinity).
B1: Can understand the main points when clear standard language is used and when it comes to familiar things from work, school, leisure, etc.
B2: Can understand the main content of complex texts on concrete and abstract topics; also understands technical discussions in his own specialty.
C1: Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts and also grasp implicit meanings.
C2: Can easily understand practically anything he / she reads or hears.
The examples show that it is difficult to define specific objectives based on these global can-do descriptions. Since the GER is a cross-lingual concept, the competency descriptions are rather vague. They enable orientation when adapting the learning content to the individual circumstances of the institutions, teachers or learners. For example, you won't find any guidelines on lexicons or grammar. The underlying principle here is that these are viewed as instruments of linguistic action; Of course, we need different instruments in different languages. In addition, a communicative goal can be achieved in various ways. Since German as a foreign language is relevant for our context, we recommend this edition Profile German. Here you can understand step by step which linguistic instruments are expected.
Not only our teaching sketches and materials, but also most European textbooks are based on these descriptions. In the self-evaluation you will find in Studio 21 (Cornelsen Verlag) and People (Hueber Verlag) the following descriptions:
People A1.1: "I can now compliment and say thank you." (P. 74) or "I can now introduce myself and others." (P. 26)
Corresponding to level A1, all can-do descriptions refer to "immediately necessary things and very familiar topics" (Council of Europe, 2001).
As mentioned above, we differentiate between global and detailed can-do descriptions. While the global can-do descriptions are more relevant for determining a level, the detailed descriptions play a role in our lesson planning. Our teaching sketches are based on action-oriented Sub-learning objectives, which can basically be assigned to any activity, and to one Rough learning objective, so lead to the goal of the lesson. This competence and goal-oriented planning enables action-oriented lessons in which the learners are perceived as socially active in a certain context. This implies that the frame of reference not only takes into account language skills, but also interpersonal, intercultural or personal skills. It is also logical between the different areas of life (private, public, professional, education) differentiated.
GER and ACTFL scales - a comparison
While language teaching in Europe is based on the GER, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) dominates in America. The levels were compared using various test procedures and apply across all languages (ACTFL: Assigning CEFR Ratings to ACTFL Assessments, page 2). In the following, the two reference systems will be compared with regard to the competencies described.
The most significant difference concerns the competencies described. The CEFR levels describe four language skills: Speak and Write as Read and Listen. These skills can be assigned to specific language activities. If they are not integrated, they are called receptive (read and listen) or productive (write and read). When there is an exchange, we speak of oral or written interaction. If there is no direct exchange due to language barriers, language mediation is necessary. This includes that Interpreting, or summarizing a text that cannot be understood by others.
While the original draft of the ACTFL Guidelines focused on the four skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening), the descriptors were restructured in 2012 so that the focus is now on the communicative function of the skills and the intention of the communicating person. The different subdivision is thus: interpersonal (the productive skills in an interaction), interpretive (receptive skills), and presentational (writing and speaking in one-way communication) (ACTFL, 2012).
The optional descriptions of the frame of reference can be used as equivalents of the Performance descriptors of the ACTFL can be interpreted. For example, in the reference framework for "Reading A1" it says: I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences "(Council of Europe, 2001), while ACTFL Descriptors describes interpretive communication at the novice level as follows:" I can identify the general topic and some basic information in both very familiar and everyday contexts by recognizing practiced or memorized words, phrases, and simple sentences in texts that are spoken, written, or signed "(ACTFL: Can-do Statements).
Both reference systems are designed so that they can be used for different groups of learners and institutions. One goal of the Proficiency Descriptors is to help teachers design "performance tasks" (ACTFL, 2012: page 3) that correspond to the respective language level and simulate realistic, realistic situations. Both reference systems therefore serve an action and competence-oriented teaching.
The following table shows the correspondences (ACTFL: Assigning CEFR Ratings to ACTFL Assessments):
After this brief introduction to the CEFR, you can make a more conscious choice of our materials and orientate yourself more easily with the curricula. It was particularly important to us to clarify the terminological differences. In the bibliography you will find further useful literature on this topic. As you have seen, there are certain differences between the two reference systems, but they follow the same principle: They help to design an action-oriented and success-oriented lesson in which the learner as linguistically active person is the focus.
List of sources and further reading
- ACTFL: Assigning CEFR Ratings to ACTFL Assessments: https://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/reports/Assigning_CEFR_Ratings_To_ACTFL_Assessments.pdf
- ACTFL: Can-do Statements: https://www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/ncssfl-actfl-can-do-statements
- ACTFL (2012), Performance Descriptors for Language Learners: https://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/PerformanceDescriptorsLanguageLearners.pdf
- Bausch, Karl-Richard et al .: Framework plan "German as a foreign language" for schools abroad: http://www.bva.bund.de/DE/Organisation/Abteilungen/Abteilung_ZfA/Auslandsschularbeit/DSD/RahmenplanDaF/DaF-Rahmenplan.pdf ? __ blob = publicationFile & v = 1
- Beese, Melanie, et al. (2014), DLL 16 - Language Education in All Subjects. Klett-Langenscheidt Verlag, Munich
- Council of Europe (2001), Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-languages/
- Glaboniat, Manuela et al. (2005), Profile German - Common European Framework of Reference. Langenscheidt Verlag, Berlin
- Mohr, Imke / Salomo, Dorothé (2016), DLL 10 - DaF for young people. Ernst Klett Languages, Stuttgart
From the magazine "Frühes Deutsch"
Here you will find articles from the magazine "Frühes Deutsch", which was discontinued in 2014, from the years 2007-2014, which are CLIL-related and contain practical teaching information.
ECML CLIL projects
The European Center for Modern Languages (ECML) provides CLIL-related information and resources as well as materials for pluriliteral learning in the subject.
German with sock
Deutsch mit Socke is a well-known WDR film series for children aged 5–10. Here you will find 30 short films for the first steps in the German language as well as easily understandable didactic descriptions.
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