Proficiency Based Curriculum Design

The Connecticut Council for Language Teachers (CT COLT) ran and organized a two-day summer institute in June 2019. Hostesses Lea Graner Kennedy, Kathleen Archibald and language education expert Greg Duncan led one hundred and some world language educators on a path to designing world language curriculum that is based on proficiency goals. I had the privilege to be one of those language educators who took part of this professional development opportunity. The institute began by covering the basics, starting with ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, Can-Do statements and World Readiness Standards. We then moved on in a carefully designed systematic process to set the stage for curriculum design which opened with connecting curriculum units to proficiency targets, establishing arcs of units across language levels, picking themes or topics and crafting Essential Questions. Not long afterwards, all participating educators were divided into working groups and feedback groups so we would be able to put the plan into action. Each group started designing an actual unit for a level of our choosing, collaborating with colleagues and getting their feedback. Each group then proceeded to identify can-do statements, select vocabulary, grammar and cultural aspects relevant to that theme and that language level. Final stages of the institute were dedicated to considering performance based assessment design, as well as future steps to continue future work based on the same set of guiding principles.

Selecting Arcs of learning ;Step one in curriculum design. One of the slides presented during the summer institute.

At the end of these two days, I walked out with one complete unit for Intermediate High level, resources to design further units in addition to insight that I got from my colleagues. However, perhaps most importantly, I walked out with the confidence that I have the tools and strategies that would enable me to face the challenge of designing a curriculum in a way that would be best serve my students as it assists them in their journey of language learning. It is not too late for those who were not able to partake in this institute as the Council has already made plans to hold another institute next summer. See you all 2020!

Concept map: what do I want my students to know? (Sarab Al Ani)

Performance Assessment ; the final step on the design (Sarab Al Ani)

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