An Electronic Portfolio for the ACTFL/NCATE Teacher Program Standards in the Second Language Methods Course1

Article excerpt

Abstract:

With the publication of the ACTFL/NCATE Program Standards for the Preparation of Foreign Language Teachers in the fall of 2002, teacher preparation programs need to rethink the process of gathering materials that best represent the abilities of the teacher candidates they are training. This article discusses how one foreign language program has piloted an archival process that requires students to produce a CD-ROM as part of the second language methods course. The CD-ROM will become a part of the total package presented during a NCATE accreditation review. Although the creation of the CD-ROM is ultimately for institutional review of its foreign language teacher education program, it has also led to interactions among the foreign language faculty about the shared responsibility for the preparation of teachers. Raising the bar for teacher candidates can only energize faculty to revisit expectations for all foreign language students. When all faculty members realize that they are charged with graduating better-educated teacher candidates, the ACTFL/NCATE Program Standards will have accomplished far more than institutional accreditation.

Introduction

With the October 2002 publication of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)/National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Program Standards for the Preparation of Foreign Language Teachers and the April 2002 Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)TNCATE Standards for the Accreditation of Initial Programs in P-12 ESL Teacher Education, methods instructors are challenged to incorporate the collection of measurable evidence of what foreign/second language (L2) teacher candidates know and are able to do. Both sets of program standards expect demonstration of pedagogy and language proficiency from teacher candidates. This evidence must become a part of L2 methods course requirements. These program standards set forth the necessary elements for teacher preparation programs as well as the knowledge, skills, and dispositions teacher candidates should demonstrate by the end of a L2 academic program (Kubota, 2003). Moreover, the International Society for Technology in Education's (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) (Gomez, 2000) challenge teacher educators to require preservice teachers to archive a variety of examples of what they know and are able to do with technology in the classroom. The NCATE requirements for the collection of artifacts and the ISTE standards make it necessary to devise a method to collect data demonstrating preservice achievement. The authors of this article have approached this challenge by turning to technology to assist with the collection of preservice artifacts. This article offers a rationale for the production of a CD-ROM in the foreign language/English-asa-second-language (ESL) methods course and discusses the how-tos and caveats related to asking students to produce such a portfolio.

The Methods Portfolio

Traditionally, portfolios have been the domain of art, music, and creative writing classes to name a few areas; however, with the arrival of new digital media, it is appropriate to produce portfolios in all areas of performance including L2 teacher training (Baird, 2003). In recent years, alternative assessment of L2 learners has resulted in the use of portfolios to monitor student performance and second language acquisition (SEA) in the mainstream classroom (O'Malley & Valdez Pierce, 1996). Moreover, national foreign language and ESE student standards have stressed the need to document what students know and what students are able to do (National Standards, 1999, TESOE, 1997). These new standards have essentially required the profession to consider alternative ways to assess student performance as they shift the focus from what the language teacher does in the classroom to what the student is able to do in the target language. …