Feature Story -- November 2006

    Dr. Jean Hindson releases foreign language DVD

        By:  Laura Greschner

DVD Cover

A new resource about teaching languages to elementary students bursts on the scene this fall semester thanks to the work and devotion of University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Spanish Education Professor, Dr. Jean Hindson.  

The DVD, Training Our Future Elementary World Language Teachers:  An Interactive Immersion-based Communicative Approach to Teaching World Languages at the Elementary Level, reflects over ten years of research and local application of elementary teaching methods in regards to student learning of world languages.

Hindson, who also teaches Foreign Language Methods to Education students at UW-L, says the goal of the project was to learn how to effectively teach elementary students language and then how to train teachers in those methods.  Hindson had realized quickly that it was impossible to bring all of her Methods students into her elementary classroom to watch the teaching and the learning that was taking place.  That, combined with the inspiration of a colleague’s work with video, sparked the idea to develop her own instructional DVD.

According to Dr. Hindson, the purpose of the DVD is to “model a lot of techniques and strategies and methods” involved in language instruction – “the tricks of the trade” as it were.  The DVD includes sections on using classroom routines to teach language, the Natural Approach, TPR (Total Physical Response), TPRS (TPR Story Telling), games as a learning tool, using songs to teach language, and standards-based instruction and assessment.   

Hindson stresses language as communication.  Language has to be purposeful and lead to authentic communication for it to be truly useful and beneficial to the learner.  The language as communication concept is linked to Hindson’s support of the immersion method, in which students only listen and then speak – when they are ready – in the target language.  This requires a comfortable learning environment in which students are receptive and engaged with the language teacher who will use eye contact, expressions, gestures, and other physical movement to help relay meaning.


While Hindson’s DVD focuses on the application of Spanish and German in elementary classrooms, the application of the methods presented is universal.  Whether you are a teacher or pre-service teacher, specializing in French, Arabic, or ESL, this DVD is an invaluable resource to help visualize the learning process at the elementary level.  “It’s one thing to tell people how to teach,…but seeing it in action is something different,” concludes Dr. Hindson.  

Dr. Hindson suggests:

Languages and Children Making the Match - by:  Helena Curtain & Carol Ann Dahlberg

In the News:

    New Battles Looming Over English Learners (Arizona Daily Star)

    Respecting Differences (American School Board Journal)

    Book - Classroom Instruction that Works with English Language Learners(ASCD)

(Viewpoints expressed in these links are not necessarily those shared by UW-L or the TESOL/ESL departments of UW-L) 

The DVD will be sold for $10 plus $2.50 shipping and handling.  A website for requesting copies is in the making.  In the meantime, those interested in viewing or purchasing a copy of Training our Future Elementary World Language Teachers, are encouraged to contact:

Dr. Jean Hindson

Department of Modern Languages