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Developing Classroom Materials
for Less Commonly Taught Languages
There is a notorious shortage of teaching materials for the LessCommonly Taught Languages (LCTLs)— defined as all languages except English, French, German, and Spanish. With a few notable exceptions, published material for LCTLs tends to be outdated, dull, and oriented primarily towards grammar, while supplementary materials usually are unavailable. Most LCTL teachers are faced with the need to create their own materials, often without having a background in language pedagogy.
To address the challenges LCTL teachers face in developing instructional materials the LCTL Project created a new website to give teachers the background and tools needed to create high quality materials. The site features videos of leading language teacher educator Bill Johnston presenting concepts for material development from a variety of resources. The videos also show pairs of LCTL teachers as they work through example activities using the materials as if they were students and then discuss the activities from the teacher viewpoint. Each video is accompanied by questions to think about before watching, and additional questions for reflection after watching.
The site is organized as follows:
- Unit 1: Using Written Texts
- Unit 2: Using Literature
- Unit 3: Using Audio
- Unit 4: Using Video
- Unit 5: Using Pictures
- Further Resources
The website is an outgrowth of two well-known CARLA initiatives for LCTL teachers.
- A summer institute entitled Developing Classroom Materials for LCTLs was created by Bill Johnston from Indiana University and Louis Janus, the LCTL Project Coordinator. Over 200 LCTL teachers have participated in this popular summer institute since it began in 1999. For more information, see the CARLA Summer Institute webpage.
- A book--also entitled Developing Classroom Materials for LCTLs--provides principles, practical guidelines, and actual examples for LCTL teaching of all levels and languages to develop raw materials into activities for the language classroom. Written by Bill Johnston with Louis Janus based on their summer institute, the book was published in 2007 as a CARLA working paper.