The Critical Languages Articulation Project

Students from Minneapolis Public Schools leave for a study trip to Japan,
as part of a CARLA articulation project.

The project entitled "Articulating Instruction in Critical Languages at the Elementary and Secondary Levels" began in the fall of 1994 with funding from the Critical Language and Area Studies Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The primary objective of the project was to increase the effectiveness of language teaching and the persistence of language learners pursuing instruction in two critical languages, Japanese and Russian.

Toward this end, Japanese and Russian teachers from the Minneapolis Public Schools System collaborated on the development of a model for articulating a curriculum for critical languages based on the creation of proficiency-oriented standards, and on the development of curriculum and assessment tools that are tied to these standards.

Both teams of teachers worked closely together to:

  • Establish a set of common principles of language learning and adopt common performance standards for students studying at the elementary and secondary levels.

  • Create common strategies and resources for implementing the established principles within the framework of the new standards and for developing students' capacity to meet the performance standards.
  • Create curricular frameworks that meet the standards. The Japanese team focused on grades 7-12 and the Russian team focused on K-8.

  • Develop benchmarks that will be used in assessing students' acquisition of demonstrable skills in an articulated manner across systems.

  • Articulate study abroad efforts into the curriculum to enhance student persistence in studying these languages.

Teachers at work on the Japanese curriculum framework.

Each team completed its curriculum framework, which is now available through the CARLA working paper series:

For more information about this project and related projects, see:

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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414