Partners in Pedagogy: Collaborative Teaching for Beginning Foreign Language Classes


  • Lina Lee,

    1. University of New Hampshire
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      Lina Lee(Ph.D., University of Texas) is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of New Hampshire, Durham.

  • Sylvie Debevec Henning

    1. East Carolina University
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      Sylvie Debevec Henning (Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University) is Professor of French and Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.


ABSTRACT  This article describes the “Partners in Pedagogy Program,” a team-teaching structure for the first-year French and Spanish language courses at the Plattsburgh State University of New York during the 1993–1995 academic years. The overall goals of the program were (1) to facilitate pedagogical cooperation between college foreign language and literature faculty and local middle and high school teachers; (2) to improve articulation between secondary and post-secondary foreign language curricula; and (3) to maintain or even strengthen the communicative skills of students, particularly speaking and listening, while increasing class size. Participants were faculty at Plattsburgh State University and local secondary teachers. The college faculty met with 25–30 university students on Mondays and Wednesdays for presentation of structures, as well as practice in reading comprehension and writing. High school teachers met with smaller groups of 15 students on Tuesdays and Thursdays for conversational practice of the structures and vocabulary building. Departmental faculty coordinated courses, meeting with their partners once a week to discuss pertinent issues related to syllabi, instructional material, procedures of testing and grading criteria. Both students and instructors responded favorably to the “Partners in Pedagogy Program.” Students commented that the conversational sessions allowed them to apply linguistic structures in more practical and realistic contexts. The atmosphere was relaxed, thus reducing learner anxiety. The program also helped both faculty and high school teachers develop an articulated foreign language curriculum in which they shared, discussed and agreed on the FL goals, instructional strategies and evaluation standards. The authors suggest that this type of teaching structure can enhance FL instruction.