Quick Start to using the Massachusetts World Language Framework

This year, in 2021, our state finally updated the World Language standards. You may be thinking about how you can align your teaching to these standards. If you were already following ACTFL’s World-Readiness Standards, you will find this document very familiar. But for some of us, the framework will mean changes in the way we teach. How to get started? Here is a short list of essential hints on implementing the new Massachusetts 2021 World Language Curriculum Framework.

  • The World Language Framework is online. You will want to bookmark it for easy reference. The framework was written by teachers here in our state. You probably know some of them, at school or personally. There are many voices who represent you in this framework, teachers who have classroom experience with real kids locally.
  • Where to start? When you are having an inclination toward big-picture thinking, read only the guiding principles. Think about what you are already doing. Don’t concentrate on how much road you have in front of you. You have already put some of these guiding principles into action.
  • A highlight from the Guiding Principles section is, “Students become proficient in a language by using it.” This simple idea can be a guide for your classroom. Measure activities not by what vocabulary they practice, but by whether or not students are negotiating meaning through communication.
  • My favorite highlight from the Guiding Principles section is, “In effective programs, students use the target language to tell their own stories and to examine their own identities.” Intercultural understanding starts with understanding one’s own culture and talking about oneself.
  • A good start as you ease into or dive deeper into teaching for proficiency is to commit to teaching in a more interesting and effective way through using Can Do statements based on the Standards.
  • The Framework was written for each level to stand alone as a two-sided handout. Think about printing the level you are teaching (the one you are aiming for) and have it out at your workspace as you plan.
  • Pay close attention to the verbs in the Standards. They were used very intentionally to progress from level to level. You will recognize the verbs from Blooms.
  • To understand how to bring students one level up, look at the level they are at in a specific mode and then look at the level you are aiming for. You will learn what you need to do to extend their skills.

Consider printing out these pointers as a handout for you or your teachers and use it like a progressive checklist.

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