Foreign Language and the Group Context: Expanding Student Roles


  • Lorraine E. Heard

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      LORRAINE E. HEARD (M.A.T., Univ. of Chicago) is a doctoral fellow in the Trainer of Teacher Trainers Program at the Univ. of Chicago. She has taught French and Spanish at the Bloom Township High School in Illinois and has been an Instructor of French at Prairie State Coll. The Center for Curriculum Development in Audio-Visual Language Teaching has granted her attestation in French. Her projected doctoral research will be on the nature of sustained student motivation in the study of foreign language.


ABSTRACT  Using principles of social psychology to structure learning experiences in the foreign language classroom can provide the language teacher with a workable design for instruction. Strategies for increasing student-student interaction through a variety of small-group activities from preparation of oral compositions to more ambitious intra- and cross-level teaching and tutoring projects allow for fuller student participation in classroom life. Attention to practical matters of organizing, sequencing, and evaluating activities as well as considerations of administrative issues ground the strategies in the reality of the school setting. A sample of group products achieved through the group process testifies to the feasibility of implementing such strategies in the foreign language classroom.