Performance Objectives in the Teaching of Foreign Languages


  • Florence Steiner

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      Florence Steiner (Ph.D., Northwestern Univ) is the District Coordinator of Foreign Languages in Glenview, Illinois. She has taught at the secondary school level—Evanston, Ill., Township High School—and at the university level—Jacksonville Univ. and Northwestern Univ. She is a member of AATF and ACTFL, and is currently serving as Vice President of the Illinois Foreign Language Teachers' Association. In 1969 she was on the Working Committee for French for the Northeast Conference.


ABSTRACT: This article poses four basic questions and seeks answers to them: (1) What is a performance objective? a purpose? a performance criterion? (2) Why should we teach by means of a performance curriculum? (3) How can we set up performance objectives and performance criteria for teaching language? (4) How can the performance curriculum be implemented in the classroom? The performance objective is a statement of student achievement written in terms of what the student can do. Reasons for teaching a performance curriculum are societal concerns, relevance, quality teaching, economy, and emphasis on learning to learn. Ways of constructing performance objectives and criteria for the teaching of language emerge. One way of implementing performance objectives is to proceed in a lockstep fashion; and resource centers, library listening posts, and language laboratories are important adjuncts, but the teacher can implement this curriculum in the traditional classroom.