ABSTRACT: This study had two goals: (1) to provide insights on how to assess a Whole-Language Foreign Language Class (WLFLC), and (2) to field test qualitative research methods for a WLFLC. The setting was a Hebrew-language class based on eight established principles of WLFLCs. The class was assessed through the analysis of formal semistructured interviews with four students; students' reflective midterm papers and final class evaluations (from their portfolios); and the teacher/researcher's reflective journal, which included field notes and anecdotal records. Three themes emerged: (1) tensions between teacher-and student-centered instruction; (2) tensions between negotiated and predetermined curricula; and (3) becoming part of a multicultural/multilingual community.

When the class started in August it was a new experiment for you as well for us, and there were a lot of expectations and misunderstandings in your class and with you. Sometimes people didn't understand what your objectives were, and along with that, they did not have the maturity to just take “the ball in their court,” to take the responsibility to themselves. In the beginning of the second semester there were a lot of changes, good changes, because there was a little more of a structure. I think that it was probably a good adjustment and most clearly defined for people what was going on in the class. Although that took time to evolve. I feel like [we] have come together in a good way.

—Assessment made by William, a student in a whole language Hebrew class