Dana Gaska


Return to: ETAP 623 Spring 2015 taught by Zhang |

About me

At Yuanmingyuan, Beijing China 在圆明园

My name is Dana Gaska. I am currently employed by OHM BOCES where I have been a Mandarin Chinese teacher for six years. I learned how to speak Chinese while studying for my undergraduate degree at UAlbany. I teach Chinese via distance learning using synchronous video. This year I am teaching about 100 students from 7 different school districts. This type of teaching has taught me to be extremely flexible in my teaching plans as not only do the inevitable technological hiccups occur, I also deal with simultaneous classes with two bell schedules, different snow days, field trips, and all the other minor scheduling issues that suddenly become a problem when involving multiple schools. While it poses its challenges, I do find this type of teaching to be rewarding and fun.

My Topic/Purpose

My topic is target language instruction in the foreign language classroom. The purpose of this course is to give language educators the tools needed to have engaging language classes conducted in the target language.

Topics covered:
1. The benefits of high target language usage
2. Strategies for staying in the target language
3. Student Corrections in the target language (when and how much)

Learning outcomes

Participants will be able to:

1. Identify strategies for target language use in the classroom
2. Use comprehensible input to give explanations
3. Design a short lesson conducted in the target language

Needs Assessment

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has recommended that teachers of foreign language use the target language for at least 90% of instruction. According to research (LeLoup, J. W., Ponterio, R., & Warford, M. K., 2013) however many educators struggle to reach this level of target language use in the classroom. There are a myriad of reasons for the gap in expectations and reality. Most teachers are aware of ACTFL’s recommendations and the research that points to the use of target language being important, but they are hindered by misconceptions and lack of specific training in the topic.

Gathering Information:

In order to determine what teachers already knew about teaching in the target language, I surveyed 5 teachers of foreign language. Questions looked to determine the teacher’s attitudes towards target language use in the classroom, their view on the importance of using the target language, strategies that they were employing in their classrooms, and obstacles towards using the target language 90% of the time.

Results of the Survey

From looking at the survey, I concluded that all of the teachers were aware of the importance of using a high level of the target language in the foreign language classroom. All of the teachers fell short of their own personal goals, many of which were lower than the 90% recommended by ACTFL.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Performance Objectives

Course-level objectives

Task Analysis

Curriculum Map

References and Resources

LeLoup, J. W., Ponterio, R., & Warford, M. K. (2013). Overcoming resistance to 90% target language use: Rationale, challenges, and suggestions. NECTFL Review, (72), 45-60.