Designing Instruction for the
AP French Language and Culture Course
Brian Kennelly, California Polytechnic State University
Davara Potel, Solon High School (OH)
James Monk, The College Board
ACTFL 2009 Annual Convention
November 20, 2009
San Diego, California
Session Content
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AP Course and Exam Review for World Languages
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Designing Instruction for AP French Language and Culture
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Reflective Practice and Planning Learning Experiences
Learning Objectives and Achievement Level Descriptions
Using Course Themes, Recommended Contexts, and
Essential Questions
Working with Authentic Materials
Assessment: Integrating Skills within the Modes of
Communication
Timeline for Announcing Changes
AP Course and Exam Review for World Languages
Project Rationale
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AP courses are regularly updated to stay abreast of developments
within each academic discipline. AP regularly conducts College
Curriculum Studies to ensure ongoing alignment with parallel college
courses.
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Differences among the tasks and performance expectations across
the current suite of AP Exams in the world languages are significant,
which may lead to misunderstanding on the part of AP teachers as
well as colleges with regard to AP standards.
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Currently, colleges and universities generally do not compensate
students with credit or placement equivalent to the proficiency that
students obtain as a result of their AP experience in a world
language.
AP Course and Exam Review for World Languages
Project Goals
Ensure that the AP courses in world languages:
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Embody a coherent conceptual organization
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Effectively develop language proficiency across the three modes of communication
(Interpersonal, Interpretive and Presentational)
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Effectively integrate cultural competence, connections to other school disciplines,
comparisons between the target language and culture and those of the learner, and
foster the use of the language within the broader communities beyond the traditional
school environment
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Draw upon current scholarship in learning theory
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Align with the best practices of college and university teaching
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Maintain the continued validity of AP to colleges and universities
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Advance the availability and access to AP world language courses for a diverse range of
prepared students
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Prepare students for success in subsequent college-level courses
AP Course and Exam Review for World Languages
Process
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Forty-eight world language educators were selected to serve
on six AP World Language Commissions.
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Commissioners used the following resources to develop a
common framework for the AP courses in world languages:
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Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century
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ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners
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Data gathered in a study of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and
Spanish college courses
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Course portfolio data gathered from post-secondary instructors
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Data gathered from colleges and universities regarding current credit and
placement policies
AP Course and Exam Review for World Languages
Process
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Commissioners working across languages developed the
new AP Curriculum Framework for World Languages and
Cultures: Claims, Achievement Level Descriptions, and
Themes.
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Draft AP Curriculum Frameworks were reviewed by AP
teachers, college and university faculty, and leaders of
professional organizations.
Designing Instruction
Reflective Practice
Redirect
Instruction
as needed
Set Goals
Describe
acceptable
performance
Learning
objectives
Achievement
Level
Descriptions
Design
Thematic
Instruction
Themes,
Recommended
contexts
Assess
Progress
toward
Goals
Designing Instruction
Planning Learning Experiences
Determine how your students will:
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be engaged and challenged by exploring important and relevant ideas
(through inquiry, research, discussion)
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have opportunities to activate previous knowledge
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have opportunities to process new information using a variety of media
(literature, journalism -- print, radio, podcast, television -- art, cinema)
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receive explicit instruction on the knowledge and skills needed to prepare
them for success
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work in a variety of groupings (pairs, small and large group) to maximize
learning opportunities
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draft, revise, and refine their work based on feedback
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set goals at the beginning of a unit and self-assess prior to the end of a unit
Designing Instruction for
AP French Language and Culture
Learning Objectives and Achievement Level
Descriptions
• Using Course Themes, Recommended
Contexts, and Essential Questions
• Working with Authentic Materials
• Assessment: Integrating Skills within the
Modes of Communication
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Designing Instruction
Learning Objectives
The learning objectives are statements we make about the
knowledge, skills, and abilities of students who take the
AP course.
Six groups of learning objectives represent the three modes of
communication described in the Standards.
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Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal Speaking, Interpersonal Writing
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Interpretive Communication
Interpretive Listening and/or Viewing, Interpretive Reading
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Presentational Communication
Presentational Speaking, Presentational Writing
Designing Instruction
Achievement Level Descriptions
Achievement Level Descriptions are specific statements
about what students at different performance levels know
and are able to do.
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Provide AP teachers with valuable instructional feedback based
on student performance that informs instructional adjustments
for subsequent academic years
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Represent progression along a trajectory of second-language
learning
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Allow colleges and universities to better place AP students based
on robust descriptions of students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities
upon successful completion of the AP course
Designing Instruction
Achievement Level Descriptions
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Each set of achievement level descriptions is composed of
various features of student performance that provide
evidence that the learning objectives are met.
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Example:
Spoken Interpersonal Communication
Interaction
Vocabulary
Strategies
Register
Opinions
Pronunciation
Language structures
Cultures, connections, comparisons
Designing Instruction
Using the Course Themes and Recommended Contexts
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The AP French Language and Culture course is structured around
six course themes; each of the themes includes a number of
recommended contexts for exploring the theme.
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Recommended contexts are neither prescriptive nor required;
they merely serve as suggestions for addressing the themes.
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Teachers will address all six course themes in the AP course;
however, they are not expected to address each of the
recommended contexts within a theme.
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Teachers are encouraged to engage students in study of the
various themes through both historical and contemporary
perspectives.
AP French Language and Culture Curriculum Framework
Thematic Approach
Global
Challenges
Beauty and
Aesthetics
Science and
Technology
Families and
Communities
Contemporary
Life
Personal and
Public
Identities
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Diversity Issues
Economic issues
Environmental issues
Health Issues
Human Rights
Nutrition and Food Safety
Peace and War
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Current Research Topics
Discoveries and Inventions
Ethical Questions
Future Technologies
Intellectual Property
The New Media
Social Impact of Technology
•Advertising and Marketing
•Education
•Holidays and Celebrations
•Housing and Shelter
•Leisure and Sports
•Professions
•Rites of Passage
•Travel
Global
Challenges
Science and
Technology
Contemporary
Life
Personal and
Public
Identities
Families and
Communities
Beauty and
Aesthetics
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Alienation and Assimilation
Beliefs and Values
Gender and Sexuality
Language and Identity
Multiculturalism
Nationalism and Patriotism
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Age and Class
Childhood and Adolescence
Citizenship
Customs and Ceremonies
Family Structures
Friendship and Love
• Architecture
• Contributions to World Artistic
Heritage
• Ideals of Beauty
• Literature
• Music
• Performing arts
• Visual arts
Designing Instruction
Using the Course Themes and Recommended Contexts
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Example 1: A unit on Earth Day and efforts to protect the environment in
various areas of the French-speaking world (one theme, one context)
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Example 2: A unit on ideals of beauty represented in the history of
French painting (one theme, multiple contexts)
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Course theme: Global Challenges
Recommended context: Environmental Issues
Course theme: Beauty and Aesthetics
Recommended contexts: Contributions to World Artistic Heritage, Ideals of Beauty,
Visual Arts
Example 3: A unit on immigration and integration in French-speaking
countries (multiple themes and contexts)
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Course themes: Global Challenges, Personal and Public Identities, Families and
Communities
Recommended contexts: Diversity Issues, Alienation and Assimilation, Citizenship
Designing Instruction
Essential Questions
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In a thematic approach to instructional design, essential questions
guide classroom investigations, learning activities and
performance assessments. They may provide topics for project
work, take-home essays, and in-class debates, for example.
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Essential questions allow students to investigate and express
different views on real-world issues, make connections to other
disciplines, and compare aspects of French-speaking cultures to
their own.
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Essential questions should capture students’ interest, inform the
selection of authentic materials to use in class, and help students
consider the course themes across time and across cultures.
Designing Instruction
Essential Questions
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Sample essential questions for a unit on discoveries and inventions
(a recommended context for the Science and Technology theme):
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How have discoveries and inventions from the French-speaking world
changed our lives?
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Who are the inventors in the French-speaking world today, and what projects
are they working on?
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What factors hinder the process of invention?
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What would you like to discover or invent someday, and why?
These essential questions can guide research projects oriented
historically or from a contemporary perspective, and they may
provide topics for in-class debates, brief written research reports, or
oral presentations.
Designing Instruction
Working with Authentic Materials
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The AP course places emphasis on students demonstrating an
understanding of cultural products, practices, and
perspectives. An excellent way to increase students’ awareness
and understanding of aspects of French-speaking cultures is to
use authentic materials related to the various course themes.
Authentic materials include newspapers and magazines, radio
and podcasts, television and film, literature, music and other
works of art from the target language cultures.
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Teachers should assume complete flexibility in resource
selections and instructional exploration of the six course
themes.
Designing Instruction
Working with Authentic Materials
Some questions to consider when selecting authentic materials:
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What do I use already that I know works for my students and
me, and that I can relate to one or more of the course themes?
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Do my materials reflect a variety of…
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course themes and topics that promote interdisciplinary study?
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types of written texts? / types of audio and audio-visual resources?
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cultural perspectives of the French-speaking world?
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linguistic features that show the diversity of the French language?
Designing Instruction
Classroom Assessments
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Classroom assessments should prepare students for a
successful performance on the AP Exam but should also
be more varied than the limited number of task types
on the AP Exam.
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Classroom assessments should be focused within a
range of student proficiency (Intermediate to PreAdvanced as described in the ACTFL Performance
Guidelines for K-12 Learners) rather than an assumed
college course equivalency (third-year college course in
French language).
Designing Instruction
Classroom Assessments
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Classroom assessments should be connected to
thematic units of study and focus on developing
students’ proficiencies across the three modes of
communication: Interpersonal, Interpretive and
Presentational Communication
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Classroom assessments should require students to
demonstrate understanding of an authentic stimulus
material, thus integrating listening and/or reading into
a task whose product is written or spoken.
Designing Instruction
Integrating Skills within the Modes of Communication
Examples of integrated-skills assessments in Interpersonal
and Presentational Writing:
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Interpersonal Writing: (1) engage in an “e-pal” exchange
with students at a French-speaking school, (2) read or listen
to a posting to a blog or an Internet discussion group and
write a reply, (3) engage in text messaging in French
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Presentational Writing: (1) write a review of a Frenchlanguage film or music CD for your school’s French club
newsletter, (2) produce creative writing in French (a poem,
a personal narrative) based on the work of your favorite
writer(s)
Designing Instruction
Integrating Skills within the Modes of Communication
Examples of integrated-skills assessments in Interpersonal
and Presentational Speaking:
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Interpersonal Speaking: (1) lead a class discussion on an
assigned reading, (2) engage in an in-class debate, (3)
engage in conversations in person, via telephone or Skype®
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Presentational Speaking: (1) retell in French, in your own
words, a favorite story from your childhood, (2) create a
podcast or vodcast (video podcast) in French about a topic
that interests you
Designing Instruction
Focusing on the Interpretive Mode of Communication
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Interpretive Communication – creating an appropriate understanding of a
spoken or written message when there is no recourse to the speaker or
writer – is of particular importance in the AP course. The Interpretive mode
is used to support communication in the other modes.
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Instruction that seeks to develop proficiency in the Interpretive mode
should use authentic materials and probing questions so that students pay
attention to the following:
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Identification of theme, purpose, and point of view
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Identification of details that support a main idea
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Use of contextual clues to deduce meaning of unfamiliar words
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Inference of implied meanings
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Connection of the content of a message to the student’s existing knowledge
AP French Language and Culture
Summary: What’s new in the revised course?
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The main focus of the course is to develop students’ proficiencies in
the three modes of communication as described in the Standards for
Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century: Interpersonal,
Interpretive and Presentational Communication
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Student performance is described as a range of student proficiency
(Intermediate to Pre-Advanced according to the ACTFL
Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners) instead of an assumed
college course equivalency (third-year college course in French
language).
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The course has a thematic approach.
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The course includes a focus on culture as described in the Standards:
cultural products, practices, and perspectives.
Timeline for Announcing Changes
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Prospective AP Exam questions were piloted in AP classrooms
in May 2009; the next round of pilot testing is scheduled for
fall 2010.
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On November 9, 2009, the AP Program announced which
subjects will have changes made to their exams for May 2012
(2011-2012 academic year). For the AP courses in world
languages and cultures, the 2012 new exam date is valid for
AP French and AP German.
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For AP subjects that will have changes made to their exams for
May 2012, a full new practice exam will be made available at
the start of the 2011-2012 school year.
http://www.collegeboard.com/ap/coursechanges
New AP Vertical Teams Guide and Workshop
Build an AP Vertical Team or strengthen
an existing one.
Align world language and culture
curricula vertically across grade levels.
Implement a thematic approach to
instruction using standards-based
strategies for curriculum development.
Transfer new strategies to classroom
practice.
Questions and Answers
Brian Kennelly
AP French Language and Culture Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee
California Polytechnic State University
[email protected]
Davara Potel
AP French Language and Culture Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee
Solon High School, Solon, Ohio
[email protected]
James Monk
Associate Director, Curriculum and Content Development
Advanced Placement Program
[email protected]
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