Language Educators

Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state?

  • 1.  Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state?

    Posted 09-01-2017 08:12
    Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state? We are. Because of our classification, we get super large classes, never get the respect from the administration that other academic classes (put kids in French even if they signed up for Spanish, put them in the second level even if they didn't pass the first level (even if they got a 20%) or in Spanish 3 even if they never even took Spanish 2. Just wondering if you folks experienced the same thing.

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    Lonnie Dai Zovi
    lonnie@vibrante.com
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  • 2.  RE: Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state?

    Posted 09-02-2017 19:28
    I feel very fortunate. In my particular middle school, our World Language classes are considered part of 'Core.' We have the opportunity to attend ACTFL in Nashville this year. They have brought in trainers to assist us with the transition toward implementing ACTFL standards and proficiency-based learning. Soon we will receive training about how to conduct an OPI. The high school in our district used to classify World Language as part of the Core, but last year decided to do away with language as a requirement.

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    Erika Liebel
    eliebel@blaineschools.org
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  • 3.  RE: Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state?

    Posted 09-04-2017 00:53
    In California it used to be a requirement that students take 1 year of language in order to graduate, but that has been removed so we are till an elective.  We don't have a problem with students not getting the language they desire nor with students being placed in the wrong level.  We are an on-line school and, while we don't have department chairs, I've become the de facto lead for Spanish.  i worked with the other teachers and guidance counselors to get prerequisites in place and they come to me if students want to move up a level without having met the prerequisites.  I am pretty strict so we have a department-wide exam for lower levels and if they don't pass, they don't move up.  Last week I was presented with a student who got a "C" one semester and a "D" the other in Spanish 4 at her old school and wanted to be in AP.  I teach AP and said she can go to a community college and take a 2nd year Spanish class there because with her grades there was no way she was going to be successful in AP.

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    Tom Beeman
    High School Spanish Teacher
    California Virtual Academies
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  • 4.  RE: Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state?

    Posted 09-04-2017 07:10
    Hi Lonnie.  Boy, your description reflects an alarming amount of disrespect for you and your staff to say nothing of being short-sighted and not preparing students for college and the world.  I teach in a private school and two consecutive years are still required for graduation though most of our students are advised to take three consecutive years to meet college requirements.   Good luck!  -Kathy

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    Kathleen Norwood
    knorwood@stmarysannapolis.org
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  • 5.  RE: Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state?

    Posted 09-04-2017 08:51
    Hmm..... sounds suspicious, doesn't it?

    Failing first year and being placed into second year?  I've had that happen very rarely in my career as a teacher, and usually it was a clerical/input error made in the Guidance Department and was corrected.  Or a student "misbubbled" into French 3 who belonged in Spanish 3.

    How closely are bona fide credits for graduation monitored by the school, school division, and state department of education?

    What agency is the regional accreditation agency for secondary schools in your area [Arizona?] of the USA?

    Is there a teachers' association to bring up these concerns?  At your school, is there a "faculty/staff council" to bring up these concerns?

    I've seen "foreign languages" dumped upon and misused more at the middle school level than at the high school level since middle schools are not the secondary schools that award the official HS diploma.

    Let us know how your situation turns out.  I'd like to hear from others addressing this issue in this strand.

    Sincerely,

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    Robert L. "Bobby" Oliver
    Williamsburg, VA
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  • 6.  RE: Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state?

    Posted 09-06-2017 06:41
    We require 2 years of language for graduation.  However,  sometimes a student can end up "doubling up" with those 2 years if s/he didn't pass year 1 and waited until their junior year to take the language class. Can you imagine taking Spanish 1 and 2 simultaneously?

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    Julie Senft
    senftjul45@gmail.com
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  • 7.  RE: Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state?

    Posted 09-04-2017 12:21
    I teach at a small Christian high school where modern language is an elective, as is not required for graduation in our state. However, universities usually want to see 2-3 years of consecutive language study, so most of our students do take my class.

    It sounds like you need to educate your administration! What kind of conversations have you had? I have taught 10 years at my school and have successfully changed the culture regarding modern language. There were a lot of misconceptions and I also felt my department received less respect, especially from students. "It´s just Spanish." But we have come a long way! It is possible!

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    Rita Barrett
    rbarrett@paasda.org
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  • 8.  RE: Are modern language classes classified as elective in your district/state?

    Posted 09-05-2017 09:54
    Hi, Lonnie:

    That is an awful situation!  You and your students are being set up for failure.  At our school, we agreed as a department what the requirements were and had diagnostic tests for incoming students.  We worked with the counselors to ensure that no student who received C- or lower could advance to the next level.

    Our district is poised to require world language for high school graduation.  The state may be considering it, not sure.

    World Language is not like other disciplines.  If you don't pass a history class and you go to the next one, you can still understand what the teacher is saying.  In world language, if you don't meet proficiency, you can't even understand the teacher's instructions.  Sometimes I get so frustrated at administration's lack of understanding of the particulars of each discipline.  They need to rely on and have more confidence in the expertise of the experienced teachers in each discipline.

    I tried to convince my principal that we needed to require candidates to give a short samle lesson during the interview.  He felt that was unnecessary.  There is no way you can ascertain a teacher's ability to deliver comprehensible input by what they say alone.  We had an amazing candidate get up and teach her lesson entirely in English.   My principal hired her against my advice and she had no success bringing the students to proficiency.  Sigh.

    Good luck, Lonnie!  Can you work with the counselors?

    Angie


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    Angie Sherbondy
    altespoir@sbcglobal.net
    Spanish Teacher
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