McREL standards provide universal guide for teachers

Foreign language classrooms could benefit from McREL standards

“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.”

―C.S. Lewis (1889-1936) British author

While conducting research for a review on Journeys In Film, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching social study through film, I came across the Mid-Continental Research for Education and Learning (McREL) standards.

For teachers, whether affiliated with an institution or not, the McREL standards for foreign language can be a great guide to keep students on track. The five broad standards found on the main site can be required of learners of any language. I personally will use the pragmatic and universal standards in some form in my classrooms at USC next year for my advanced oral skills courses.

Here’s a snapshot of the standards that can be used to evaluate a student’s proficiency in a foreign language:

1. Uses the target language to engage in conversations, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions and information

2. Understands and interprets written and spoken language on diverse topics from diverse media

3. Presents information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics

4. Understands traditional ideas and perspectives, institutions, professions, literary and artistic expressions, and other components of the target culture

5. Understands that different languages use different patterns to communicate and applies this knowledge to the target and native languages

By the way, McREL International describes itself as “a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan education research and development corporation”. Founded in 1996, they created these international organization standards to nudge global education upwards. Curious, dedicated global educators can check out the standards and topics here and for more specific outlines, and follow the links.

Will the McREL standards be in your classroom next year?

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