Dr. David McAlpine University of Arkansas at Little Rock
The students in my Methods of Teaching Second Language class don’t believe me when I tell them that my best Spanish teaching experience in forty years was in a middle school classroom! It’s true! Those of you just beginning your career in a middle school will soon learn this, and those of you who are middle school “lifers” already know that these youngsters in grades 5-8 respond to content that is connected to their everyday lives and to instruction that actively involves them in the learning process. Your middle school Spanish students may show higher competencies in the three modes of communication than many of their high school counterparts because of their openness to learning new concepts, their curiosity about themselves and others, and their unabashed willingness to be a part of real-life situations.
How can the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century help create an engaging atmosphere for middle school students? Let’s look at the 5Cs and try to draw some classroom ideas from them.