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NH Guidelines for World Languages Learning

Introduction - Guidelines for WL Learning - WL Standards - WL Learning Conclusion - Matrix

Standards for World Language Learning

Goal One:
Communication Communicate in Languages Other Than English

Standard 1.1 Students engage in conversation, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.

Standard 1.2 Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.

Standard 1.3 Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.

Goal Two: Cultures
Gain Knowledge and Understanding of Other Cultures

Standard 2.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied.

Standard 2.2 Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture studied. Goal Three: Connections Connect with Other Disciplines and Acquire Information

Standard 3.1 Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the world language.

Standard 3.2 Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the world language and its cultures.

Goal Four: Comparisons
Develop Insight into the Nature of Language and Culture

Standard 4.1 Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.

Standard 4.2 Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.

Goal Five: Communities
Participate in Multilingual Communities at Home and Around the World

Standard 5.1 Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting.

Standard 5.2 Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

The Framework of Communicative Modes

Researchers from a number of disciplines have attempted to understand the nature of language proficiency and to answer the question: what does it mean to know a language (deJong & Verhoeven 1992). When addressing this question, most introductory textbooks in linguistics (Fromkin & Rodman 1993) agree that knowing a language involves the ability to carry out a large variety of tasks in the language. When people who know a language speak, they are understood by others who know the same language. They know which sounds are in the language and which ones are not; they know that certain sound sequences make up meaningful words; and they are able to combine words to form phrases and phrases to form sentences. They can produce and understand sentences that they have never heard before. Knowing a language means controlling the linguistic system (the syntax, morphology, phonology, semantics, lexis) of a language. It also means being able to access the pragmatic, textual, and sociolinguistic aspects of language, including how to use the language to achieve communicative goals in ways that are appropriate to a particular cultural context (Bachman 1990; Savignon 1983; Canale & Swain 1980; Hymes 1985; Bialystok 1981).

Communication can be characterized in many different ways (Schriffin 1994). The approach suggested within this document is to recognize three communicative modes that place primary emphasis on the context and purpose of the communication (Brecht & Walton 1994). As illustrated in Figure 4, the three modes are : (1) Interpersonal, (2) Interpretive, and (3) Presentational. Each mode involves a particular link between language and the underlying culture that is developed gradually over time.

The Interpersonal Mode. The Interpersonal Mode is characterized by active negotiation of meaning among individuals. Participants observe and monitor one another to see how their meaning and intentions are being communicated. Adjustment and clarifications can be made accordingly. As a result, there is a higher probability of ultimately achieving the goal of successful communication in this mode than in the other two modes. The Interpersonal Mode is most obvious in conversation, but both the interpersonal and negotiated dimensions can be realized through reading and writing, such as the exchange of personal letters or of electronic mail (E-mail) messages.

The Interpretive Mode. The Interpretive Mode is focused on the appropriate cultural interpretation of meanings that occur in written and spoken form where there is no recourse to the active negotiation of meaning with the writer or the speaker. Such instances of one way reading or listening include the cultural interpretation of texts, movies, radio and television broadcasts, and speeches. Interpreting the cultural meaning of texts, oral or written, must be distinguished from the notion of reading and listening comprehension, where the term could refer to understanding a text with an American mind set. Put another way, interpretation differs from comprehension in that the former implies the ability to read (or listen) between the lines. Since the Interpretive Mode does not allow for active negotiation between the reader and the writer or the listener and the speaker, it requires a much more profound knowledge of culture from the outset. The more one knows about the other language and culture, the greater the chances of creating the appropriate cultural interpretation of a written or spoken text. It must be noted, however, that cultural literacy and the ability to read or listen between the lines are developed over time and through exposure to the language and culture.

The Presentational Mode. The Presentational Mode refers to the creation of messages that can be readily interpreted by members of the other culture where there is no direct opportunity for active negotiation of meaning. Examples include the writing of reports and articles or the presentation of speeches. These examples of one-way writing and speaking require a substantial knowledge of language and culture from the outset, since the goal is to make sure that members of the other culture, the audience, will be successful in reading and listening between the lines.

NHEON is a collaborative project between the New Hampshire Department of Education and educators all across the state.

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