The purpose of the World Languages program at IMSA is to prepare leaders for the 21st century in an increasingly interconnected world, to provide students with the tools to communicate effectively with the people of our world, to be a resource for other members of the IMSA community, and to promote IMSA and its mission by contributing to competency-driven, concept-based, problem-centered, integrative education for citizens of the state of Illinois and beyond.
At the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy®, one of our main objectives in teaching foreign languages is for students to engage, on a deep, intellectual, and personal level, in new ways of seeing, thinking, interacting, and communicating. In order for this objective to be realized, students must encounter a communicative system and cultural perspectives different from their own. It is essential for our students’ growth that they engage in immersion-based learning experiences where they are supported in going beyond normal comfort levels, and where they learn to function within a system that is unfamiliar to them, thereby developing real-world proficiency in another language and in other cultures.
- establish an immersion-based language learning environment in which students can acquire and use language for communicative purposes in a cultural context;
- provide experiences through which students develop and extend their understanding of language as a system;
- nurture students’ consciousness of the complexity of the interaction between language and culture;
- provide experiences through which students develop and extend their ability to investigate and explore, think critically, solve problems, and apply communication tools in a variety of situations using multiple strategies, approaches, and techniques;
- provide students with opportunities to explore the relationships and interconnections within languages and with other disciplines;
establish opportunities for authentic assessment, including the use of video assessment, journals, and portfolios;
- encourage the development of metacognitive skills so that students will become more aware of themselves as language learners and as learners in general;
- foster, in each student, a positive attitude toward the learning of a foreign language, toward him/herself as a learner and practitioner, and toward the appreciation of cultural diversity;
- foster, in each student, the importance of learning and practicing ethical behavior in individual work, collaborative work, and assessment situations;
- challenge students to use appropriate technology to enhance learning and communication;
- encourage and support student participation in a variety of foreign language activities outside the classroom, including language and culture clubs, involvement in authentic language experiences in surrounding communities, and travel and study abroad;
- organize international exchanges and partnerships with schools and communities; and
- support and promote the development and dissemination of innovative and integrative pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, and philosophy within and beyond the Academy through such activities as publications, web sites, and participation in professional organizations, workshops, presentations, and committee work.
Unifying Concepts and Processes
Beginning in the late 1950s, foreign language professionals began to reevaluate the teaching practice of foreign language. The result of that reevaluation was a gradual, yet steady movement from a grammar-translation method to a language acquisition approach. The implication of that transition for language learning has been tremendous. The trend in recent years has been to emphasize production of language through speaking and writing and understanding within the appropriate cultural context. To address these ongoing changes, the profession developed and published Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century. The IMSA World Languages team agrees with the direction of these standards. Within the national standards, five goal areas have been identified; we have adopted the
Five Cs as our unifying concepts and processes: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons and communities.
Adapted from: Standards for foreign language learning: Preparing for the 21st century (1996). National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, page 28.
These unifying concepts and processes serve to connect the central ideas identified in the IMSA World Languages Content Standards and act as organizers in the curriculum development process. It is through the interrelationship of the
Five Cs that one can fully comprehend the philosophy of language learning which is promoted at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy®.
Since there is no hierarchy to these unifying concepts and processes, it is best to visualize them as five interconnecting circles.
Communication is the heart of foreign language study. It is speaking, listening, writing, and reading. It is about comprehension: understanding what someone else is trying to communicate, and making oneself understandable to others. Communication is grounded in culture. Communication is more than the written and spoken word; it is also about cultural nuance. It includes the interpretation of non-verbal and unwritten messages (e.g. gestures, body language).
Culture is represented by the philosophical perspectives, the behavioral practices and the products–both tangible and intangible–of a society.* It is through the study of other languages that students gain a knowledge and understanding of the cultures that use that language. When students begin to function effectively in the cultural contexts in which the language occurs, they become better communicators.
*(Tangible products could include a painting, a cathedral, a piece of literature, a pair of chopsticks. Intangible products could include an oral tale, a dance, a sacred ritual, a system of education.)
Connections represent the content and the vehicles of communication. Connections are the result of acquiring information and reinforcing and furthering knowledge through other disciplines. By effectively using various tools (e.g. voice, technology) and forms (e.g. speaking, listening, reading, writing) of communication, students can connect to additional bodies of knowledge that are unavailable to monolingual speakers.
Comparisons involve the process of discovering different patterns among language systems and cultures, thereby allowing the student to gain insight into the nature of language, the communicative functions of language in society, and the complexity of the interaction between language and culture. By making comparisons among languages and cultures, students develop a deeper understanding of their own language and culture.
Communities are groups of people within a multi-lingual, multi-cultural world who are connected to one another by commonalities, such as language, locale, work, goals, interests or culture. Through the study of other languages and cultures, students realize more clearly that they inhabit and have an active role in this world of different communities.
The IMSA Learning Standards are adapted from Standards for foreign language learning: Preparing for the 2st century, National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 1996.
Students studying foreign language at IMSA will:
- communicate in multiple modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational).
- understand the relationships among the practices, products, and perspectives of the cultures studied.
- reinforce and further knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language.
- acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures.
- understand the nature of language through comparisons of their own language and the language studied.
- understand the concept of culture through comparisons of their own culture and the cultures studied.
- use knowledge of language and culture both within and beyond the school setting for personal enjoyment and enrichment. appreciate different types of art.
IMSA World Languages Learning Standards are cross-referenced as follows:
- IMSA’s Standards of Significant Learning [SSL-III.B]
- Illinois State Learning Standards [IL-27.A]
- Illinois State Learning Standards, Applications of Learning [IL-AoL.2]
- National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project [NSFLEP-2.1]
A. Students studying foreign language at IMSA communicate in multiple modes (interpersonal, interpretive and presentational) by:
A.1 engaging in oral and written discourse. [SSL-I.A-B, III.A, IV.B-C; IL-28.A-C; NSFLEP-1.1, 1.2, 1.3] A.2 providing and obtaining information. [SSL-I.A-B, III.A, IV.B; IL-28.A-D; NSFLEP-1.1] A.3 expressing feelings and emotions. [SSL-I.A, IV.B, V.C; IL-28.A-B; NSFLEP-1.1] A.4 exchanging opinions. [SSL-I.A, II.A-B, III.A, IV.A-B, V.A-B; IL-28.A-B; NSFLEP 1.1] A.5 decoding written and spoken language on a variety of topics. [SSL-I.A-D, II.A-B, III.A-B, IV.A-C; IL-28.A-C; NSFLEP-1.2] A.6 presenting information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics. [SSL-I.A, II.A, III.A-B, IV.A-D, V.A; IL-28.D; NSFLEP-1.3] A.7 controlling the linguistic system (syntax, morphology, phonology, semantics, lexis). [SSL-I.A, IV.B-C; IL-28.A-D; NSFLEP-1.1, 1.2, 1.3] A.8 using strategies that enhance the effectiveness of communication. [SSL-I.A-D, II.A-B, III.A, IV.A-D, V.A-B; IL-28.B, D; NSFLEP-1.1, 1.2, 1.3] A.9 compensating for linguistic inadequacies and cultural differences when they occur, and applying knowledge of cultural perspectives governing interactions between individuals of different age, status, and background. [SSL-I.A-D, II.A-B, III.A-B, IV.A-D, V.A-B; IL-28.A-D; NSLEP-1.1, 1.2, 1.3] A.10 recognizing and interpreting how cultural perspectives, embedded in the artifacts of the culture, give meaning to language. [SSL-I.A, B & D, II.A-B, III.A-C, IV.A, C & D; IL-28.A,C; NSFLEP-1.1, 1.2, 1.3]
B. Students studying foreign language at IMSA understand the practices, artifacts, and perspectives of the cultures (NSFLEP-2.1, 2.2) studied by:
B.1 recognizing the existence of other peoples’ world views, their unique way of life, and the patterns of behavior which order their world. [SSL-I.B, II.A, IV.C, V.A; IL-29.A] B.2 explaining the process of stereotyping and the role stereotypes play in forming and sustaining prejudice. [SSL-II.A; IL-28.D, 29.A,D] B.3 identifying the contributions of other cultures to the world. [SSL-I.B-C; IL-29.B-D] B.4 identifying the solutions other cultures offer to the common problems of humankind. [SSL-I.D; IL-AoL.1] B.5 observing and analyzing the relationships among cultures. [SSL-I.B-D, II.A-IB; IL-29.E] B.6 drawing informed conclusions about the cultures. [SSL-I.B-D, IV.A; IL-29.A-E] B.7 anticipating cultural differences. [SSL-II.A-B; IL-29.A-E] B.8 demonstrating mutual cultural understanding and respect. [SSL-II.A-B; IL-29.A-E] B.9 engaging in meaningful direct interaction with members of other cultures. [SSL-V.A; IL-28.A-B, 29.A]
C. Students studying foreign language at IMSA reinforce and further knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language (NSFLEP-3.1) by:
C.1 expanding and deepening their understanding of and exposure to other areas of knowledge. [SSL-III.B; IL-30.A-B] C.2 seeking information (including information of personal interest) through the use of printed, electronic, and human resources. [SSL-III.A, V.C; IL-AoL.3; IL-30.A] C.3 reading and/or listening to sources of information intended for native speakers. [SSL-III.A; IL-30.A]
D. Students studying foreign language at IMSA acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures (NSFLEP-3.2) by:
D.1 expanding and deepening their understanding of and exposure to other areas of knowledge and other cultures. [SSL-III.B; IL-28.A,C, 29.A-E, 30.A-B] D.2 seeking information via printed, electronic, and human resources. [SSL-III.A; IL-AoL.3; IL-28.A-C, 30.A] D.3 reading and/or listening to sources of information intended for native speakers. [SSL-III.A; IL-28.A-C 29.B-D, 30.A] D.4 comparing information available in English to information available in the foreign language. [SSL-III.B, IV.A; IL-AoL; IL-29.C-D, 30.A-B] D.5 assessing the linguistic and cultural differences that contribute to those distinctive viewpoints. [SSL-II.A-B; IL-29.A-E]
E. Students studying foreign language at IMSA understand the nature of language through comparisons of English and the language (NSFLEP-4.1) studied by:
E.1 identifying patterns among language systems. [SSL-I.B-D, II.A-B, III.B-C, IV.A, C; IL-28.C] E.2 explaining the communicative functions of language in society. [SSL-I.B-D, II.A-B, III.B-C, IV.A-D; IL-29.A] E.3 recognizing the complexity of the interaction between language and culture. [SSL-I.B, II.A-B, III.B-C, IV.A, C, D; IL-29.B] E.4 hypothesizing and making predictions about how language is likely to work. [SSL-I.C-D, II.A-B, IV.A; IL-AoL.1; IL-29.A] E.5 identifying categories of language structure that do not exist in English. [SSL-I.B-D, II.A-B, IV.C-D; IL-29.A] E.6 identifying strategies used to communicate meaning. [SSL-I.B-D, II.A-B, III.B-C, IV.A, C; IL-AoL.2; IL-28.A,D, 29.A] E.7 recognizing that language learning is not simply a word-for-word translation process, but rather the acquisition of an entirely new set of concepts. [SSL-III.C, IV.C-D; IL-AoL.2; IL-28.A-D]
F. Students studying foreign language at IMSA understand the concept of culture through comparisons of their own culture and the cultures (NSFLEP-4.2) studied by:
F.1 recognizing that people of other cultures view the world from a perspective different from their own. [SSL-I.B-D, II.A-B, III.B, IV.A, C-D; IL-29.A-D] F.2 identifying patterns of behavior among people of other cultures. [SSL-I.B-D, II.A-B, III.B, IV.A, C-D; IL-29.A-E] F.3 recognizing the complexity of the interaction between language and culture. [SSL-I.B, II.A-B, III.B-C, IV.A, C-D; IL-29.A-E] F.4 explaining the strategies that various cultures use to communicate meaning. [SSL-I.B-D, II.A-B, III.B-C, IV.A, C; IL-AoL.2, 5; IL-29.A-C] F.5 hypothesizing and making predictions about cultural systems. [SSL-II.A-B, III.B, IV.A-D; IL-AoL.1; IL-29.A-E]
G. Students studying foreign language at IMSA use knowledge of language and culture both within and beyond the school setting for personal enjoyment and enrichment (NSFLEP-5.1, 5.2) by:
G.1 directly accessing knowledge and information generated by other countries and cultures. [SSL-IA, III.A; IL-28-30] G.2 communicating with people from other countries and cultures. [SSL-IA, II.A-B, IV.B; IL-28-30] G.3 identifying employment opportunities both at home and abroad. [SSL-IA, III.A; IL-28, 30] G.4 participating in community and school service projects where second language skills and knowledge of other cultures are requisite. [SSL-IA, II.A-B, V.A-B; IL-28-30] G.5 applying knowledge of the perspectives, artifacts, and practices of a culture. [SSL-IC-D, II.A-B, III.A-B, IV.C-D, V.A-B; IL-28-30] G.6 functioning in multilingual communities. [SSL-IA, II.A-B, IV.A-D, V.A-B; IL-AoL.1-3; IL-28-30] G.7 experiencing more fully the artistic and cultural creations of other cultures. [SSL-IV.D, V.C; IL-29.A-E] G.8 sharing their knowledge of language and culture. [SSL-IA, II.A-B, IV.B, V.A; IL-AoL.2; IL-28-30] G.9 establishing and/or maintaining interpersonal relations with speakers of the language. [SSL-I.A, II.A, III.A, IV.B, V.A-B; IL-AoL.2; IL-28-30]
Correlations to Other Standards
IMSA’s Standards of Significant Learning
IMSA’s World Languages Learning Standards
I. Developing The tools of Thought
|A. Develop automaticity in skills, concepts, and processes that support and enable complex thought.||A.1-10; G.1- 4, 6, 8-9|
|B. Construct questions which further understanding, forge connections, and deepen meaning.||A.1-2, 5, 8-10; B.1, 3, 5-6; E.1-3, 5-6; F.1-4|
|C. Precisely observe phenomena and accurately record findings.||A.5, 8; B.3, 5-6; E.1-2, 4-6; F.1-2, 4; G.5|
|D. Evaluate the soundness and relevance of information and reasoning.||A.5, 8, 10; B.4-6; E.1-2, 4-6; F.1-2, 4; G.5|
II. Thinking About Thinking
|A. Identify unexamined cultural, historical, and personal assumptions and misconceptions that impede and skew inquiry.||A.4-6, 8-10; B.1-2, 5, 7-8; D.5; E.1-6; F.1- 5; G.2, 4-6, 8- 9|
|B. Find and analyze ambiguities inherent within any set of textual, social, physical, or theoretical circumstances.||A.4-5, 8-10; B.5, 7-8; D.5; E.1-6; F.1-5; G.2, 4-6, 8|
III.Extending and Integrating Thought
|A. Use appropriate technologies as extensions of the mind.||A.1-2, 4-6, 8-10; C.2-3; D.2- 3, 5; G.1, 3, 5, 9|
|B. Recognize, pursue, and explain substantive connections within and among areas of knowledge.||A.5-6, 9-10; C.1; D.1, 4; E.1-3; F.1, 3-5; G.5|
|C. Recreate the
beautiful conceptionsthat give coherence to structures of thought.
|A.10; E.1- 3, 7; F.3- 4|
IV. Expressing and Evaluating Constructs
|A. Construct and support judgements based on evidence.||A.4-6, 8-10; B.6; E.1-4, 6; F.1-5; G.6|
|B. Write and speak with power, economy, and elegance.||A.1-9; E.2; F.5; G.2, 6, 8-9|
|C. Identify and characterize the composing elements of dynamic and organic wholes, structures, and systems.||A.1, 5-10; B.1; E.2-3, 5-7; F.1-3, 5; G.5- 6|
|D. Develop an aesthetic awareness and capability.||A.6, 8-10; E.2-3, 5, 7; F.1-3, 5; G.5- 7|
V. Thinking and Acting with Others
|A. Identify, understand, and accept the rights and responsibilities of belonging to a diverse community||A.4, 6, 8-9; B.1, 9; G.4-6, 9|
|B. Make reasoned decisions which reflect ethical standards, and act in accordance with those decisions.||A.4, 8-9; G.4-6, 8-9|
|C. Establish and commit to a personal wellness lifestyle in the development of the whole self.||A.3; C.2; G.7|
Learning Standards Correlation
The table that follows details the correlation of IMSA Learning Standards to our SSLs, to appropriate Illinois Learning Standards, and other standards valued in the World Languages learning area.
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (1994). Standards of significant learning. Aurora, IL: IMSA.
Illinois State Board of Education (1997). Illinois learning standards. Springfield, IL: ISBE.
National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project in association with ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of World Languages), American Association of Teachers of French, American Association of Teachers of German, and American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese) (1996). Standards for foreign language learning: Preparing for the 21st century. Lawrence, KS, Allen Press, Inc.