Deepening the Impact of Our Classroom Activities

I was asked by my state’s foreign language assocation to write a short message to the world languages teachers at the start of school.  Here’s what I wrote:

As I prepare lessons for the first days of school, I have been asking myself some thought-provoking questions posed by Helena Curtain in a presentation called “Deepening the Impact of Our Classroom Activities.”  When evaluating a learning activity, Curtain asks us to reflect: 

  1. Is the activity intrinsically motivating? 
  2. Is it cognitively engaging? 
  3. Is it culturally connected? 
  4. Is it communicatively purposeful? 

In other words, I want my activities to be meaningful to the student, developmentally appropriate, imbedded in culture, and proficiency oriented.  As our profession moves to actively engage students and to take language study from learning about language to learning to use language, Curtain’s questions are an excellent guide.  To read more of Helena Curtain’s presentation, visit

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