Tapping the National Standards for Thought-Provoking CBI in K–16 Foreign Language Programs
Despite the introduction of the Standards for Foreign Language Learning over a decade ago (National Standards in Foreign Language Project [NSFLP], 1999; the Standards henceforth), which called for a shift from language as object of study to subject for meaningful, culturally relevant communication beyond the confines of the classroom (see Tedick & Walker, 1994), it seems that the essence of foreign language as an academic subject remains largely the same. Progress has been made in some domains, such as the integration of authentic texts (Glisan, 2012), yet the subject’s curricular foundation-scope and sequence documents based on grammatical structures-persists, having been (somewhat sneakily, I might add) dressed up in thematic and pseudo-communicative clothes (Martel, 2013b). This is well exemplified by the heavy focus on the Present-Practice-Produce (PPP) model in current textbooks (Ellis & Shintani, 2014), which consists of declaratively presented grammatical rules starting with the “simple” before progressing to the “harder” as a route to second language acquisition (SLA). It is not surprising that change has been slow to come to foreign language, given that grammar constitutes one of the features of its “deep structure”—that is, the common/ pervasive beliefs and practices that characterize the subject (Burke, 2011). One is
left to wonder, however: if it is becoming more and more clear from lackluster outcomes data (CASLS, 2010; Moeller & Theiler, 2014) and from repeated calls for change from scholars (e.g., Reagan & Osborn, 2002) that traditional ways of teaching foreign languages are not working as well as desired, when is enough enough?