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Teaching Foreign Languages Workshops Home
    1: Meaningful Interpretation

Before You Watch

Introduction
Before You Watch
Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic
Put it Into Practice
Action Research Project
Reflect on Your Learning

Resources
Library Video Chart
Printouts
Assignments
To begin this workshop session, you will tap your prior knowledge and experience and then read current research on interpretive communication.

Reflection

Reflect on Your Experience

Consider the types of interpretive tasks that you have done with your students, then answer the following questions. You may want to save your answers in order to reflect on them again at the end of the session. You can use the Reflect on Your Experience (PDF, 55 K) form for Question 1.
  1. Select two or three authentic written, oral, or visual texts that you have used with your students. For each text, answer the following questions:
  • Why did you choose this text?
  • What strategies did you use to help students interpret this text?
  • Describe any challenges that you encountered.
  1. What is the difference between comprehending a text and interpreting a text? If possible, use concrete examples from Question 1 above.
Assignment

Examine the Research

Read each of the articles listed below, then answer the following questions.

Articles

"Practical Implications of Recent Research in Reading"
Part 1 (PDF, 530 K) | Part 2 (PDF, 509 K)
This article discusses the reading process and suggests reading strategies for foreign language classrooms.

Phillips, June K. "Practical Implications of Recent Research in Reading." Foreign Language Annals 17, no. 4 (1984): 285-296.

"The Gordian Knot: Language, Literature, and Critical Thinking"
Part 1 (PDF, 692 K) | Part 2 (PDF, 722 K) | Part 3 (PDF, 601 K)
This article discusses the changing role of literature in the language classroom.

Schultz, Jean Marie. "The Gordian Knot: Language, Literature, and Critical Thinking." In SLA and the Literature Classroom: Fostering Dialogues, edited by Virginia M. Scott and Holly Tucker, 3-31. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 2001.

Reading Questions
  1. Both articles advocate previewing or introductory activities when using authentic texts. What is the purpose of this stage? What are some of the rationales for this instructional approach?
  1. The articles address questioning and discussion techniques as students and teachers engage in close or intensive reading. How would this type of questioning differ from the questioning often associated with comprehension checks?
  1. Both articles support a top-down reading process (moving from meaning and big ideas to details and language forms). What are some of the supporting arguments for this approach?
  1. Consider your own experiences as a second-language learner. Do the approaches advocated by the articles reflect what you experienced? If so, what kind of effect do you think these approaches had on your language learning? If not, in what ways did your experiences differ?
  1. The readings highlight the use of written text, particularly literary sources. How could the same ideas about deep interpretation be used with other authentic texts, such as films, audio recordings, and visual art? What additional strategies would you use or adaptations would you make for the listener as opposed to the reader?
  1. Although the examples in "The Gordian Knot: Language, Literature, and Critical Thinking" are intended for college-level work, how might you adapt the same ideas to the age and level of your students? If you teach a language for which students must learn characters or a new alphabet, how might you adapt the same ideas for your students?
AssignmentSubmit your written responses to the Reading Questions.


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1: Meaningful Interpretation > Introduction | Before You Watch | Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic | Put It Into Practice | Action Research Project | Reflect on Your Learning
Resources | Library Videos Chart | Printouts | Assignments

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