These keys are reflections from hundreds of observations of foreign language majors during their senior student teaching experience. After each session that I observed, I tried to synthesize the observation into a single statement which I labelled, key. This was intended to give an insight to the student teachers which might influence their thinking in planning their next lessons. In the future, I hope to publish some of these and I want to categorize them in terms of a number of areas: planning, communication, media, culture, etc. These will be used as links to keys related more to a specific topic or concept. If you find any of these keys valuable, I would appreciate your sending me a note via EMail. Also, you may want to indicate to which category the key seems to pertain.
1. The consensus of the profession is that we can attain no better than O+ (high rated novice) on the ACTFL proficiency scale during a two year course. Therefore, it is imperative that we utilize to the maximum the time allotted in the schedule.
2. Even if, for appropriate competence on standardized, grammatical manipulation tests, time is spent in meaningless exercises of grammatical manipulation, attention to the pattern's meaning can be diverted to meaningful use at the end of the exercise (before going to another activity.) Even a vocabulary list/exercise provides a basis of meaning which can be extrapolated for communicative purposes in order to maximize potential student proficiency.
3. When students' attention is on authentic writing in the second language, comprehension can be reinforced by their use of the patterns for communication.
4. Potential of meaningfulness: Students need control of the pattern(s) before going on to meaningful use and student - student interaction in order to use the energy stimulated by the context of meaningful use.
5. If everyone sees a film, then each has something to share. Eliciting students' perceptions can allow for greater involvement which reduces the volunteer, competitive, context of a content recall format. See Media Keys.
6. Perspectives based on sound knowledge are worth more class time than that normally given.
7. Groups must understand that divergent talking (especially in English) will lead to lesser quality of production in the target language.
8. Students attending to a task, under the assumption that they are learning something, should be given the opportunity to use new patterns to express their ideas.
9. As teachers and students approach a period of togetherness or interaction, they could anticipate - as with a date between people who like each other - a very positive and meaningful outcome: (i.e., perceptions on a date of fun and personal involvement.) For the class, involvement and learning. Achievement can count for more than a grade.
10. When students have paid attention to a stimulus for 10 or 15 minutes (film/essay, exercises, reading, etc.), they have a heightened state of consciousness which can be tapped for statements or meaningful reflections and perceptions.