Teaching World Languages and Cultures
in Elementary Settings

June 28–July 16, 2021
Asynchronous* 3-week online summer institute

Leah Shepard-Carey

This institute focuses on proficiency-based lesson design and assessment skills necessary to teach world languages and cultures at the elementary and middle school level (K–8), with an emphasis on novice learners. Informed by the National World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, it explores the goal areas of Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, Communities, and Communication.

Throughout the institute, participants will examine methods and materials for elementary world language instruction; development of oral communication and literacy in world languages; world language program design; global awareness and cross-cultural experience; children's literature, games/songs, and units and lessons planning and development.


Program Schedule
Session 1 Foundations
  • ACTFL Standards
  • ACTFL Core Practices
  • Second Language Acquisition Fundamentals
  • Curriculum, Unit, and Lesson Planning and Design
Session 2 Building Proficiency
  • Target Language Use and Comprehensible Input
  • Language and Culture
  • Language and Content
Meaningful and Interactive Learning Tasks and Assessment
  • Integrated Assessment
  • Meaning Oral Interaction for Novice Learners
Session 3 Materials and Technology
  • Games, Songs, and Activities
  • Language and Technology
Looking Beyond and Wrap-Up
  • Advocacy
  • Professional Collaborations

After this institute, you will be able to:

  • Identify the unique characteristics of young language learners and apply an understanding of how best to teach language to young learners in meaningful ways;

  • Explain ACTFL’s National World Readiness standards and apply them to curricular planning, instruction, and assessment;

  • Develop thematic lesson plans and curricular units that are standards-based and aligned with established learning and proficiency targets;

  • Use a range of strategies to build students’ vocabulary and language proficiency and to support language use and development; and

  • Apply an understanding of how to “bring language to life” with a range of materials, games, songs, and activities.


Leah Shepard-Carey is a current instructor and PhD student in Second Language Education at the University of Minnesota. She has worked in elementary ESL and early childhood bilingual contexts for several years.

Target Audience
This institute is designed for preservice and inservice foreign language teachers at the K-8 grade level. The institute is not intended for ESL or immersion teachers.


  • This institute is primarily asynchronous (not real time). For the most part, you will work on activities according to your own schedule during the week.
  • There will be 2-3 synchronous activities—with a partner and/or small group—dates/times will be set at the beginning of the course according to participants' schedules.
  • We will have a synchronous course wrap-up with presentations on 7/16 for about 1-2 hours. This time will be determined with consensus from participants.
  • Make sure you can meet the tech requirements for this institute.



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