World Languages

From the Colorado Department of Education:

The four standards of World Languages are (the 4 C’s):

  1. Communication - Communicate effectively in more than one language in order to function in a variety of situations and for multiple purposes.

  1. Cultures – Intercultural Communication - Interact with cultural competence and understanding.

  1. Connections - Connect with other disciplines and acquire information and diverse perspectives in order to use the language to function in academic and career-related situations.

  1. Comparisons - Develop insight into the nature of language and culture in order to interact with cultural competence.

Purpose of World Languages

The Colorado Academic Standards for World Languages define the central role of languages in the learning career and personal life of every student. The four standards establish an inextricable link between communication and culture, which is applied in making connections and comparisons and in using this competence to be part of local and global communities.

The ability to communicate with respect and cultural understanding in more than one language is an essential element of global competence. This competence is developed and demonstrated by investigating the world, recognizing and weighing perspectives, acquiring and applying disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, communicating ideas, and taking action. Global competence is fundamental to the experience of learning languages whether in classrooms, through virtual connections, or via everyday experiences. Language learning contributes an important means to communicate and interact in order to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world. The Colorado Academic Standards for World Languages create a roadmap to guide learners to develop competence to communicate effectively and interact with cultural competence to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world.  This interaction develops the disposition to explore the perspectives behind the products and practices of a culture and to value such intercultural experiences. (ACTFL, 2014)

To acquire another language and to study culture enhances one’s personal education in many ways. With these understandings comes a newfound respect for others’ languages and cultures, as well as one’s own.

Research indicates that the very process of acquiring another language may give learners a cognitive boost that enables them to perform at higher levels in some other subjects. Additional studies show that over time second language learners (1) have improved test scores; (2) are able to think uniquely; and (3) achieve in their first language.

To acquire another language and to study culture provides access to a wide variety of authentic literary and informational texts, as well as film and video as they are experienced by the audience for whom they were created. When learners access and use these culturally authentic sources, they are building their literacy skills at the same time. Since the content of a language course often deals with history, geography, social studies, science, mathematics, literature, and the visual and performing arts, it is easy for learners to develop an interdisciplinary perspective at the same time they are gaining intercultural understandings.

To acquire another language and to study culture is to gain an especially rich preparation for the future. It is difficult to imagine a job, a profession, a career, or a leisure activity which will not be enhanced greatly by the ability to communicate efficiently and sensitively with others. Possessing the linguistic and cultural insights that come with the study of one or more world languages will be a requisite for life as an informed, productive, and globally literate citizen in the worldwide community.


Prepared Graduates in World Languages

  1. Interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings and opinions (interpersonal mode).

  2. Understand, interpret and analyze what is heard, read or viewed on a variety of topics (interpretive mode).

  3. Present information, concepts and ideas to inform, explain, persuade and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers (presentational mode).

  4. Use the language to investigate, explain and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.

  5. Build, reinforce and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.

  6. Access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its culture(s).

  7. Use the language to investigate, explain and reflect on the nature of language through comparisons of the target language and the student's own language.

  8. Use the language to investigate, explain and reflect on the concept of culture through comparisons of the culture(s) and the student's own culture.

Think Ahead!  Seal of Biliteracy for High School Diplomas

A seal of biliteracy is a credential given by a Colorado school or district recognizing students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.  A seal of biliteracy encourages students to pursue biliteracy skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices.  The following is guidance provided by the Senate Bill 17-123 to guide districts through implementing the pathway of the seal of biliteracy for high school diplomas. 

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Carmen Douglas

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