George Washington University, Georgetown University, The Center for Applied Linguistics
language_students student_girl student_computer university

Powered by Google

Standards-based World Language Teacher Education and Instruction in Learning Strategies

Anna Uhl Chamot, George Washington University and National Capital Language Resource Center & Jill Robbins, Georgetown University and National Capital Language Resource Center

Rationale for Teaching Learning Strategies

“Weave” of curricular elements (from ACTFL's National Standards for Foreign Language Learning: The curricular “weave” ... specifies the particular content of the Learning Scenario, i.e. what is being taught and learned (grammar, vocabulary, culture, other subject matter areas) and how that content is received and processed by learners (communication strategies, cognitive operations, use of technology). Alfred Smith Issues Paper

Language system
Cultural Knowledge
Communication strategies
Critical thinking skills
Learning strategies
Other subject areas

Lists of Language Learning Strategies

Handout from NCLRC's Teacher Guides for Learning Strategies (discussion)

Using Strategies for a Purpose: Most of the strategies can be used with any of the Five Cs; however, this handout shows which of the strategies align particularly well with Communication in the three modes, Cultures, Community and Connections. page 1 | page 2

GWU's Program of Study

The courses we teach are in the Secondary Education Program.

How we teach teacher candidates to carry out standards-based learning strategies instruction:

  1. We help candidates to become familiar with learning strategies and aware of their own learning strategies through a diary assignment: "Keep a diary for one week in which you record your own learning strategies and reflect on them. Write 3-4 pages about what you learned. As an alternative to a written product for this, you can post your observations as a blog or series of blogs. This way the class can share in the discussion." See the blog (sample) for diary entries. Topics included: learning to use a new stove; making a personal goal to learn Amharic and seeking out resources for doing it; dealing with a two year old daughter's refusal to go to day care; and carrying out a substitute teaching assignment. Through this activity, students were able to see that strategies may be applied to many everyday situations in which they had to learn to do something new.

  2. We give the candidates explicit instruction in how to teach learning strategies. Here is a video example. Candidates are required to plan lessons that integrate content, standards, and learning strategies according to the CALLA-FL instructional framework. (See worksheet for planning the lesson) The Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA) (graphic illustration | animation) is an instructional model for second and foreign language learners based on cognitive theory and research. CALLA integrates instruction in priority topics from the content curriculum, development of the language skills needed for learning in school, and explicit instruction in using learning strategies for academic tasks. The goals of CALLA are for students to learn essential academic content and language and to become independent and self-regulated learners through their increasing command over a variety of strategies for learning in school. For more information, see the CALLA website. Part of the instruction we provide the teacher candidates involves the use of animal strategy mascots.

  3. Candidates are responsible for planning a thematic unit integrating standards and language learning strategies with objectives for content, language and learning strategies. View thematic unit scoring sheet. Download complete assignment and rubric.

  4. Candidates must perform a microteaching session, using one of the lessons they have designed, to demonstrate that they can teach learning strategies. (Video of a microteaching lesson integrating learning strategies)

  5. Brainstorm Session:

What are other ways in which teacher candidates can

(a) deepen their understanding of language learning strategies (i.e., develop their Declarative Knowledge of the subject) and

(b) demonstrate their proficiency in teaching learning strategies as part of standards-based language instruction? (i.e., develop their Procedural Knowledge of the subject)

6. Discuss results of brainstorming, possible future adaptations.


1.  Learning Strategies Lists in Various Languages Online Version | Download pdf

2.  Lesson Plan Rubric (Literature Lesson | Content Lesson)

3.  Using Strategies for a Purpose (pdf) (Page 1 | Page 2 )

4.  Agenda and online resource list (this document in rtf format | This document in pdf format)

Resources: This handout is online at

Animal strategy mascots:

Jill Robbins' website with course syllabi:

George Washington University's Department of Teacher Preparation and Special Education:

Sailing the Five Cs: NCLRC's guide to Secondary Level Learning Strategies Instruction:

Developing Autonomy in Language Learners: NCLRC's guide to teaching learning strategies at the college level:

Language Learning Strategies and CALLA page on NCLRC's website:

Back to top

Portfolio I: Literature and Writing

Checklist for Evaluating CALLA Instruction

Criteria Score: none   weak  good   strong
1.     Clear, measurable objectives are stated for content, language, and learning strategies. 0          1          2          3
2.     Activities develop reading and writing. 0          1          2          3
3.      One (or two) learning strategies are explicitly taught and practiced. 0          1          2          3
4.      Preparation Phase. Students’ prior knowledge about the topic is elicited. 0          1          2          3
5.      Presentation Phase. Skills and new information are made accessible to students through techniques like demonstration, modeling, visual support, etc. The learning strategy is modeled and explained. 0          1          2          3
6.   Practice Phase. Students use the information and skills/strategy learned in a variety of activities such as collaboration, problem solving, inquiry, hands-on. 0          1          2          3
7.     Self-Evaluation Phase. Opportunity for student self-evaluation of content, language, and/or strategy is included (how well did they learn the content, use the language and/or the strategy?) 0          1          2          3
8.     Expansion Phase. Activity and/or discussion addresses real-life application of the content. 0          1          2          3

9.       Contributions of students’ own culture(s) related to the topic are identified/discussed       

0          1          2          3
10.    Lesson plan is neatly typed and follows the CALLA lesson plan format 0          1          2          3


Back to top

Planning a CALLA-FL Lesson


Theme/Topic__________________ Grade/Language Level ___________

Content Objectives:

Knowledge _______________ Processes/Skills ________________

ACTFL/State Standard(s) ________________________________

            How assessed? ________________________________________

Language Objectives:

Language Awareness _____________ Language Use ____________

ACTFL/State Standard(s) _______________________________

            How assessed? _______________________________________

Learning Strategies Objectives:

Metacognitive Awareness _______________________________

Strategies to Learn/Practice ____________________________

ACTFL/State Standards _______________________________

            How assessed? ______________________________________

Materials: ______________________________________________




How will I find out what my students already know about this content topic and what related prior experiences they have had?

How will I find out what language skills and learning strategies they already know for this type of task?

What vocabulary needs to be taught?

What advance organizer will give students an overview of the lesson?


What is the best way to present this content so that students understand the concepts?

What language skills will they use?

What learning strategies do I need to model, explain, and/or remind them to use?

How can I differentiate instruction?


What kinds of activities will help my students use the new information?

What language skills will they be practicing?

How will they apply learning strategies during practice activities?

How can I differentiate their practice activities?


What is the best way for my students to assess their own learning of language, content, and learning strategies?


How can I connect the topic of this lesson to students’ own lives, culture, and language?

How does this topic connect to other content areas?

How can I make use of the target culture community and parents?

How can I help students transfer what they have learned to new situations?


How will I find out what students know and are able to do as a result of this instruction?

How will I know if students have met the objectives of this lesson or unit?

Back to top

Scoring Sheet for Thematic Units



Name __________________________       Title of Unit _______________________________________________

Language Proficiency Level __________________   Grade Level ________________ Date _______________

Component Description Score Comments

1. Unit Theme

Aligned to key concepts in ACTFL and state standards


2. Unit Plan Overview

Coherent and sequenced appropriately


3. Objectives/ Standards

Specific, teachable, measurable, aligned to ACTFL and State standards


4. Teacher Assessment

Multiple assessments based on stated objectives


5. Content / Culture

Includes content knowledge and processes, higher order skills, connections to other subject areas, target culture


6. Language

Communicative focus, three modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive, presentational); vocabulary, grammar, literature, and language awareness


7. Learning Strategies

Appropriate to task, metacognitive awareness, guided strategies practice


8. Materials

Authentic; appropriate to task and proficiency level; copies provided, sources identified, worksheets included


9. Preparation Phase

Prior knowledge elicited, vocabulary developed, advanced organizer


10. Presentation Phase

Comprehensible, motivating, teacher modeling, explicit strategies instruction


11. Practice Phase

Cooperative learning/ hands-on/ communicative; uses content, language, learning strategies


12. Self-Evaluation Phase

Student self-evaluation of content, language, strategies


13. Expansion Phase

Applications to students’ lives, culturally sensitive, target language community involvement


Summary Rating (maximum score = 39)


Scoring: 3 = Target                                    2 = Acceptable                        1 = Unacceptable                   0 = Item not present

Back to top

®2006 National Capital Language Resource Center
If you have any questions regarding this site, please contact our Webmaster | Graphic Design by Susana Echeverría (Andean Frog).

Home | Professional Development | Newsletter | Culture Club | Contact Us |