Fluency and Teaching a Foreign Language

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by ORZ, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. ORZ

    ORZ Rookie

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    Jun 2, 2013

    Hello there!

    I was wondering how fluent a foreign language teacher must be in order to teach a language.

    I am currently looking for secondary positions, and I think I could possibly use my foreign language ability as a selling point in interviews to certain schools. I am at an advanced level, though not fluent, but very few people in my area know this language. My state does not have a test for the language, so I cannot gauge my ability to what is acceptable/needed to be an instructor. I have looked at the curriculum up to level IV, and I know the material very well.

    Is this something I should go for? From what I understand, there have been openings for awhile in my school district because they cannot find anyone.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 2, 2013

    Go for it.
     
  4. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jun 2, 2013

    Do it! You'll be teaching basics, you don't need to be 100% fluent to teach the basics. The English teacher at my school will occasionally ask me how to pronounce things or say things. You'll be fine!
     
  5. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Jun 4, 2013

    I have yet to begin my certification program, but have had the same concern. However, many people have reassured me that it's not necessary to be completely fluent in the language. The more you know will help, of course, but knowing the content you'll be teaching is probably most important.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Most states' tests for teachers of a language look for a reasonable level of ability to get along in the language, some knowledge of language structure and language learning, and a decent exposure to the culture. If your pronunciation generally wouldn't make a native speaker stifle giggles, you should do fine.

    What's the language, if I may ask?
     
  7. ORZ

    ORZ Rookie

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Thanks for the info, everyone.

    I am currently looking for LOTE resources. It seems that I have to score at an "intermediate high" level to receive a certificate in teaching the language. I am very unfamiliar with this process, so trying to find out as much as I can. I feel I am at that level, but cannot find any study materials for the test to see. It has been a couple years since I have spoken it, but I am going overseas to study intensively during the summer.

    The language is Japanese, TeacherGroupie. Not very common in South Texas.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Not one of the most commonly taught languages, to be sure, ORZ. You might check to see if Texas has English language development content standards or if there's a state test for English learners: either or both of those should spell out what it takes to achieve at the "intermediate high level".

    Since TExES doesn't seem to have a test in Japanese, you probably need to take the ACTFL exam. The breakdown of levels is here: http://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/ACTFLProficiencyGuidelines2012_FINAL.pdf.

    AP Japanese materials could be helpful. In addition, if there's a college or university in striking distance at which Japanese is taught, its bookstore might be a very good place to start fishing for materials.
     
  9. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Fluency is really hard to define anyways. As long as you feel competent in the language, you should be fine. Heck, I've been speaking English my whole life and I don't know every grammar rule or word in the dictionary. I am advanced in German and will be taking the Praxis II for it in October. I know I could teach anything in college level I-IV, so, I know I can handle high school German--but I wouldn't describe myself as fluent. Close, only because I can *think* in German, but still would fumble with someone speaking it a gazillion mph.
     

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