Outreach Program

Outreach Program

Outreach Program


       Teaching Foreign Languages to Children

: Dr. Laura Eidt (lmeidt@udallas.edu)

This class is offered every semester in all four languages currently taught in the Department of Modern Languages. It can be taken for 1-3 credits, up to three times, after completion of Intermediate II in the language in question. Students enrolled in this class teach their (foreign) language to children either at a local school, or to groups of homeschooling (and typical UD alumni) families on the UD campus. The kids ages range from 4-12 years.

In short, this course gives you

1)      a basic introduction to teaching languages to children

2)      the opportunity to work with eager students at Holy Family School, Redeemer Montessori School, or Homeschoolers

3)      either 1, 2, or 3 hours of upper-division credit that can be applied toward a major or concentration in your language of choice (course can be retaken until you have 3 credits) 

Class Overview

Preparation Phase: all students meet for 1hr classes for the first 4 weeks of the semester to

  • read several essays/articles on foreign language acquisition or pedagogy
  • meet weekly to discuss them
  • design and get feedback on your first couple of lesson plans
  • become familiar with games and activities for teaching languages to children
  • compile an annotated bibliography of materials to be used in your class
  • outreachsydney

Teaching Phase (approx. 8 weeks in the middle of the semester)

  • depending on the number of credit hours, teach 1, 2, or 3 school classes, eight 45-minute meetings each (8 classes for 1 credit, 16 classes for 2 credits, 24 classes for 3 credits)
  • design your own lesson plans for these classes
  • film some of your classes and present a 10-minute segment to the Outreach group
  • film one complete class to turn in to your instructor for evaluation
  • meet with outreach group only as needed, to discuss teaching videos and lesson plans 

Conclusion and Summary
(last 3 weeks of semester):

  • depending on number of credit hours, you write a 3, 6, or 9 page paper that summarizes and evaluates one or more of the following topics: the organization of the outreach program, your experience with foreign language teaching, the curriculum, the school environment, or your own teaching (outlining progress you made). This can be based on a summary about your teaching experience, but should take into consideration the articles you read at the beginning of the semester.

For questions about this course, please contact Dr. Laura Eidt (lmeidt@udallas.edu)


Students comments about the course:

Stephanie Stoeckl (German and Comparative Literature major, outreach class Spring and Fall 2010):
I think I've greatly benefited from this program. It is a good feeling to do something practical with ones major, and participating in the program has made me think more seriously of elementary education as possibility for my future a year ago Id never even have considered it as an option.

Susan Gigante (Spanish and Education major, outreach class in fall of 2010 and Spring 2012)

I had an excellent experience with the Language Outreach Program. I believe that immersing young students to a new language is an important way to promote greater cultural understanding of the world and to increase cognitive development. Through consistent and natural use of the target language and a well-organized curriculum students can become easily engaged in the second language. All of these components are necessary for effectively teaching a foreign language and making the experience enjoyable for the children acquiring a second language.

Pierina Otiniano (Spanish concentration, outreach fall 2011)

I remember showing up to my first class on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 and being very intimidated, but as soon as I met my students, I felt so much better. I had expected different levels of Spanish but I didn't expect the eagerness and desire from children so young. [] Teaching these classes was a very rewarding experience. I have had experience teaching adults before I teach ESL for work but I had never taught such small children. I also have to add that I have limited experience with such young children in general but that I was constantly impressed with their level of retention and how quickly they all picked up on the material. Teaching such small children really helped me gain more patience both with others and myself. I am very glad I got to experience this.

Margaret Welsh (French concentration; took outreach class Fall 2011)

The Outreach program was well organized, and one of the most interesting classes Ive taken at UD. I learned a lot about the concepts behind foreign language pedagogy for children. Also, the practical experience of teaching in a classroom was educational in itself. Although Im not planning to become a classroom teacher or educator in any capacity, the outreach program was a valuable real life experience. Now I feel as though I have a basic idea of the challenges of being a teacher, as well as the challenges and techniques of teaching a language.

Ellen Wicker (French major, outreach class fall 2011)

This teaching experience was one my most difficult, yet most rewarding classes of the semester. [] Teaching these various grades French not only allowed me to practice and improve on my own French, but to gain a considerable amount of public speaking confidence and to learn how to connect with children as an instructor. The public speaking confidence that I gained was evident when I had my Comprehensive Exam Presentation this semester. I didn't stumble on a single word and I honestly think it was because I was so used to presenting in front of 15 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders 3 times a week. This experience has also led me to consider teaching as a career at some point. I had never considered it because I didn't think I would be good at it and I thought I would get frustrated easily, but honestly I really enjoyed it and felt that it was quite rewarding.

Theresa Smart (Spanish & Politics major, outreach class spring 2010)

This semesters Spanish course was a wonderful learning experience as a whole. I developed some great relationships with both the children and their mothers, who were unfailingly gracious and supportive. They assured me that their children loved the experience as a whole, which is all I can really ask for; I only hope they gained a love for the Spanish language as well! Indeed, one mother asked me to continue privately tutoring her three children, so for the past couple weeks we have met for little Spanish lessons either at their home or in my apartment. I hope to continue helping them in the future, and I also currently hope to teach another Spanish course next spring.