K-8 World Language

  • Did you know that it takes about 14,500 hours for a six year old to master the basics of their first language?*  Language acquisition processes are slow and yet they are also rewarding and exciting. In our K-5 and beginning language programs, students progress through the Novice or "word" levels. Learners exhibit strengths in their receptive skills, as we all did when learning our first language; they know and understand a great deal more than they're able to produce, which is normal at this stage of language acquisition. In grades 6-8, learners continue building their language skills to progress into the Intermediate or "sentence" levels. Click the links below to review our Curriculum Overviews and Performance Targets for our K-5 and 6-8 programs.  

    *VanPatten, Bill. (2017). While We’re On The Topic: BVP on Language, Acquisition and Classroom Practice. Alexandria, VA: American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages.


    The language classroom in the U.S. has been transformed in the last 20 years to reflect an increasing emphasis on developing students’ communicative competence. Unlike the classroom of yesteryear that required students to know a great deal of information about the language but did not have an expectation of language use, today’s classroom is about teaching languages so that students use them to communicate with native speakers of the language. This is what prepares them to use their language learning as a 21st Century Skill.  Following is a chart comparing how language classrooms looked in the past compared to today.



    Students learned about the language (grammar)

    Students learn to use the language

    Teacher-centered class

    Learner-centered with teacher as facilitator/collaborator

    Focused on isolated skills 

    Backward design focusing on the end goal

    Coverage of a textbook

    Use of thematic units and authentic resources

    Using the textbook as the curriculum

    Emphasis on learner as “doer” and “creator”

    Emphasis on teacher as presenter/lecturer

    Integrating technology into instruction to enhance learning

    Isolated cultural “factoids”

    Using language as the vehicle to teach academic content

    Use of technology as a “cool tool”

    Differentiating instruction to meet individual needs

    Only teaching language

    Personalized real world tasks

    Same instruction for all students

    Seeking opportunities for learners to use language beyond the classroom

    Synthetic situations from textbook

    Personalized real world tasks

    Confining language learning to the classroom

    Seeking opportunities for learners to use language beyond the classroom

    Testing to find out what students don’t know

    Assessing to find out what students can do

    Only the teacher knows criteria for grading

    Students know and understand criteria on how they will be assessed by reviewing the task rubric

    Students “turn in” work only for the teacher

    Learners create to “share and publish” to audiences more than just the teacher

     From ACTFL’s 21st Century Skills Map, “Introduction”



  • Families:  Please click on our Family Resources page on the left side of your screen to find additional information.

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    K-8 World Language Coordinator:
    Tanya Alvarado



     ACTFL Proficiency Levels