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Modern Languages
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  • Language education

    Program Information

    Students wishing to be certified to teach a modern language must complete an approved teacher education program and complete requirements for a major or a minor (depending on certification level) in the language to be certified. (See language-specific checklists.)

    For information on the UW-L School of Education, please visit their website.

    Education students are required to have an advisor in the Department of Modern Languages in addition to their School of Education advisor.

    If you are thinking of declaring a modern language major or minor with the intention of teaching the language, keep the following information in mind.

    Good world language teachers are expected to:

    • Carry out the majority of their instruction in the target language
    • Model good language and pronunciation habits
    • Be knowledgeable about the target culture(s)
    • Employ a wide variety of teaching techniques and strategies in the classroom

     

    Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Requirements

    To insure a high quality of world language instruction in the state of Wisconsin, DPI (the Department of Public Instruction) requires you to:

    • Complete an immersion experience. (see below for details)
    • Pass the WI DPI approved content exam in the language you plan to teach. This exam now consists of an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview and the ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (minimum level of proficiency accepted on both tests for initial certification is Intermediate High). (see below for details)
    • Successfully complete the appropriate world language methods course(s) (MLG 473/573 for MC-EA majors and XXX 467/567 for EC-A majors) EC-A majors are encouraged to complete both courses and will soon be required to complete both.
    • Student teach in the target language at all levels appropriate to your certification category. For candidates whose principal major is in a world language, this includes experience at the elementary, middle and secondary school levels. Education Students with add-on minors or second majors should consult with Dr. Hindson and the School of Education on their particular situations.
    • Provide performance-based evidence that you fulfill the Wisconsin Content Guidelines for Foreign Language Teacher Education (through preparation of your Teacher Education portfolio).

     

    Immersion Requirements

    Modern Language majors (Early Childhood-Adolescence, birth-21) must successfully complete a pre-approved study abroad program for a minimum of one semester including completion of INS 250 (Orientation to Study Abroad), INS 251 and INS 252. INS 251 and 252 are still in the process of being fully implemented but students are highly encouraged to complete them if possible.

    The Office of International Education enrolls students in INS 250. INS 251 should be included on your study abroad pre-approvement (goldenrod) of credits form. You are responsible for registering for both INS 251 and INS 252 yourself. You may want to consult with the INS instructor about the registration time and process. These credits are counted as General Education Program credits and not as Education or MLG credits.

    Modern Language Minors with another Early Adolescence-Adolescence (EA-A) content major or Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence Education Majors (MC-EA) must successfully complete a pre-approved study abroad program(s) or study abroad program with extended residency experience totaling a minimum of 10 weeks, including completion of INS 250 (Orientation to Study Abroad), INS 251 and INS 252. (Minors are strongly encouraged to consider a full semester abroad study experience.)

    All other cases (i.e., programs less than the minimum required in each category: extended residence abroad, or other types of "immersion" experience) will be evaluated on an individual basis. Students seeking approval for alternative immersion programs must consult with a faculty member in the language and present a written request to the department chair. The Department Program and Planning Committee will be responsible for considering and approving such requests.

    Satisfying the Immersion Requirement

    Modern Language Teaching Education candidates are highly encouraged to spend either a full year or a semester abroad. UW-L offers a variety of options for study abroad. Students in German may study abroad at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. Students in French may study for either a semester or a full year at the University of Nancy in France. Students in Spanish may study for a semestrer or full year at Universitas Castellae in Valladolid Spain; at UDLA (Universidad de las Américas) in Puebla, Mexico, at the University of Vera Cruz in Xalapa, México, or through a variety of other opportunities in many different countries. Please note the special opportunity to do a teaching practicum and ESL teaching experience in Mexico described below. Students in all three languages have opportunities to study at a variety of additional sites through ISEP (International Student Exchange Program).

    Information on these and other programs can be obtained through the Office of International Education.

    Study Abroad Opportunity in Puebla

    UW-L sponsors an immersion program in Puebla and San Miguel Tzinecapan (Mexico) in which students have the opportunity to do a teaching practicum in a Mexican school, and teach English in a Nahuatl-speaking village (mid-May - July). Courses for Spanish credit in this program vary according to demand. For Spanish students this program is an excellent way to combine the immersion experience with Education practicum work. This ten-week program is primarily intended for middle childhood early adolescent teacher candidates who find it harder to go abroad for a full semester. Students seeking Early Childhood to Adolescence certification may want to consider this program as a second study abroad opportunity, but are required to study abroad for at least an entire semester. For information on the Puebla summer internship program contact the Office of International Education (OIE).

    Because many students have been requesting it, UW-La Crosse has created a 10-week immersion experience at Universitas Castellae in Valladolid, Spain. A minimum of 5 students is required to be able to offer this program. Contact OIE or Dr. Hindson for more details.

    Students who might have difficulty fulfilling the immersion requirement (for reasons of family commitments or economic hardship) should consult with their advisors.

    Proficiency in the Target Language

    Proficiency in the spoken language is a prerequisite for successful teaching. Please note that an immersion experience in and of itself does not guarantee that a student will attain the required level of proficiency to become a teacher. Various factors, such as aptitude, motivation, discipline, previous language experience, quality of the immersion experience (which depends on both the program and the individual student's participation level) will affect the outcome in terms of proficiency gain). All candidates for certification must pass an oral proficiency exam before they may be admitted to student teaching. (See current information on WI WLG content exam requirements.)

    If you are concerned about whether you will be able attain the required level of proficiency and fluency through participation in the immersion program you have selected, the best person to advise you is a professor in your target language with whom you have studied recently and who is aware of your oral proficiency in the language. It is important for you to seek advising as early as possible in order to be able to plan accordingly and to be as fully prepared as possible.

    Oral Proficiency Requirements

    Teacher education candidates must complete an oral proficiency interview (see current information on WI WLG context exam requirements) in the language to be certified. It recommended that you take the oral and writing proficiency as soon as possible following the study abroad experience, but after completing sufficient coursework to insure success. Teacher candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of proficiency equivalent to a rating of Intermediate High on the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview Scale. Plan carefully because ACTFL has a 3-6 month waiting period on retakes if you do not pass on the first attempt.

    In order to insure that WLG teacher education candidates maintain their proficiency, the MLG Department has a continuing enrollment requirement. Teacher candidates must be enrolled for at least one credit of the language to be certified each semester of the normal academic year leading up to student teaching.

    Wisconsin World Language Content Exam

    Please download and read this document carefully in order to register for and take the ACTFL exams required for language education majors.

    World Language Methods Courses

    MLG 473/573 Teaching World Languages: From early childhood to early adolescence is the designated methods course for EC-MC majors planning to be certified to teacha foreign language. The 467/567 course which prepares candidates for certification at the secondary school level is projected to begin alternating by semesters with the elementary middle school course during the 2012-13 academic year. If you need to take this course and will be student teaching during the spring of 2013, please contact Dr. Hindson as soon as possible. Currently most UW-L study abroad programs do not offer methods courses. Because our methods courses are based on U.S. and Wisconsin teaching standards, methods courses taught abroad require special approval. (See one of the MLG methods course instructors at UW-L for advising.)

    Student Teaching

    Teacher education students with a major in a modern language are required under P-I 34 to have experience teaching at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. EC-A Modern Language Majors typically student teach for nine weeks in a middle school and for nine weeks in a high school. MC - EC Language Majors generally complete their student teaching experience in a Spanish, French or German middle school classroom during one quarter of their student teaching semester. Both of these groups complete their teaching experience at the elementary level through the Professional Development School at North Woods International Elementary School during Field Experience II. This project is a collaborative effort of the UW-La Crosse School of Education and the La Crosse Public Schools. WLG Teacher Education Candidates should participate in the NW field experience during or after the semester in which they take MLG 473/573. For more information on the NW PDS experience, contact Dr. Jean Hindson or Dr. Joyce Shanks.

    Wisconsin Content Guidelines

    A copy will be provided in Advising Day presentations, or by Dr. Hindson upon request.

    Recommended Sequence of Study for Education Students

    UW-La Crosse Dept. of Modern Languages requires that all students planning to be certified to teach a foreign language take a phonetics course. (SPA 331 or FRE 331; German students should consult with their advisor about the phonetics requirement.) It is highly recommended that your phonetics course be taken in the US, in order to take advantage of contrastive analysis of the sounds of the native and target languages. It is also recommended that students who are preparing to teach, spread out their course work over the length of their studies in order to continue to maintain their fluency right up until the semester of student teaching.

    NOTE: All education majors with a major or a minor in modern language are required to have an advisor in the Modern Language Department in addition to their education advisor. Your modern language advisor can help you to determine a specific sequence of study.

    Additional Required Courses for Spanish Teacher Education Candidates

    Spanish Teacher Education students are required to take SPA 331 (Spanish Phonetics) and both SPA 320 (Spanish Civilization) and SPA 321 (Latin American Civilization). Although Spanish minors are not required to take Advanced Grammar and Syntax (SPA 330) all education students planning to be certified in Spanish are encouraged to take this course. The grammar course is extremely important and useful for prospective Spanish teachers. Good knowledge of Spanish grammar is a must for future teachers since you will be teaching your own students basic Spanish grammar. Taking additional one-credit courses (in addition to the one required) can help you improve and maintain your language skills, particularly in a semester when you are not enrolled in another three-semester Spanish course.