Today we continue our talk about American Standards of teaching. They were designed by ACTFL (American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages). First two principles were connected to Communication and Culture Teaching and now we move to the third principle – Connections.
The Connections Standards were designed as a way for language teachers to help students become lifelong language users.What they give to students is a motivation to learn because they can suddenly see a purpose for the language in their real lives. It fulfills them when they can learn something new by connecting with other disciplines. If teachers were to say, ‘I’ll wait until my students have more language until we make connections’—it will just never happen. The motivation will not be there and the students will not continue studying. CLIL method and theme-based learning, which are extremely popular now in the ELT community, are concentrating on immersing students into interdisciplinary environment.
The concept of the 21st Century Skills lately has been becoming more and more popular. It includes themes that are critical for success in the new millennium such as global awareness, critical thinking, problem solving, information, media and technology literacy, etc.
Essential questions are designed to spark curiosity and engage students in real-life, problem-solving tasks. They allow students to investigate and express different views on real world issues, make connections to other disciplines, and compare aspects of the target culture to their own.