Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

What Drives the Foreign Language Curriculum?

Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

What Drives the Foreign Language Curriculum?

Article excerpt

In editing this issue of Foreign Language Annals, I was struck-as I am always-by the wide variety of manuscripts that we publish on diverse topics in each volume. The topics presented here in the form of research or case studies all have one thing in common: No matter your level of instruction or (foreign) language, all topics in this issue influence our curricular choices and instructional behaviors on one level or another.

In the first section, on Assessment and Placement, it is evident in the large-scale study by Fall, Adair-Hauck, and Glisan that the anticipated outcome of good assessment practice is that it stimulates positive curricular evolution with the ultimate goal of enhancing learning. In Sohn and Shin's research, getting placement tests to succeed for both instructors and students helps us tailor the curriculum to targeted groups of learners.

In the segment on Gender Issues, the debate in Kissau's article and later in Riazi's study about how we manage gender differences in the classroom may make you think twice about your own classroom practices and how gender matters are embedded in curricular content, framing, and approaches. In the two articles on Experiential Learning, Caldwell and Burke provide models for service learning and expeditionary learning, respectively, that emphasize acquisition of knowledge and skill beyond the traditional classroom by featuring Communities in relation to Communication (Standards for Foreign Language Learning). These models make us particularly aware of the relationship between environment and learning that also influences curricular design.

In the last section, on Attitudes, Constructions, and Strategies, our colleagues motivate us to rethink perceptions and attitudes about languages, cultures, and classroom conventions. Learners espouse ideas about languages and language learning, and we have our own perceptions and prejudices as educators. …

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