I’m starting to see teachers on social media heading back to school! Where did the summer go?? The syllabus can be one way to set proficiency expectations at the beginning.
Most middle and high schools require teachers to pass these out. Generally this is what is expected on a high school world language syllabus:
– course name, school, school year, teacher’s name, teacher’s contact info, what they will learn, needed supplies, grading info, class expectations/rules
Agree?? Here’s a sample that I’ve made for a level 1 class:
It would be impossible to create a perfect syllabus that all could use as is. But I’ve found it helps to see others to adapt to our own situations. You can modify this template that will copy well in black/white. The text boxes are editable and there is a background image to maintain the images and formatting. Pro Tip: Add a white color fill to the text box if you want to completely cover something up.
Here are my thoughts about the syllabus section by section.
Title for top. Add the level, your name and school info. Easy part!
Course goals plus a quick intro to the standards (5 C’s): Also this could be a good place to add a learner profile description of the targeted proficiency level like “In this course, you will be able to communicate using simple sentences…”
Themes & topics: I prefer to keep these generic based on the advice of a principal – If it’s on the syllabus, you will be held to that. However, if you know exactly what you have to cover, use those instead.
Activities: Students said they like knowing a little about what we will actually do. Eliminates some of the unknown.
Assessing: These details drastically change depending on school expectations/limitations; however, I found that the rubric and the main idea of proficiency worked everywhere. You may want to add specific info like if retakes are allowed.
Two options for the grades. You can add a % if you want, but again, I like to keep it open. Read “Assigning a Grade to a Proficiency Rubric” if you want to know more details about grades.
Overall Grade: This is the part that will really depend on you and your school. This is one way I’ve done it in the past. I’m not putting this on here to say “this is the way it should be done,” only to show that it helps to show a visual like a pie chart when explaining how the overall grade will be calculated. Overall, I suggest that their end grade should represent what they can do in the language as closely as possible.
Class Expectations: In addition to basic school rules, I found that these positive ones worked way better (even at the alternative school I was at) than trying to list 20+ different rules that started with “Don’t.” Take time to talk these out. For example: What can they do so they are prepared for class if they are absent? What is a specific behavior that would be respectful? Or disrespectful? I really talked up the participating by comparing language learning to playing sports, video game or and instrument. Maybe this can be a large poster in the classroom and they add the ideas as you discuss them together? Maybe create a social contract?
Supplies: Tell them what they need and give them time to get it.
Contact Info: Give them ways to contact you.
Hope this gives you a good start!! Give this post a “LIKE” so we know if it was helpful.
Want more examples? We held a contest and here are some that were submitted: And the most EXCITING SYLLABUS goes to…
Want the complete lessons? There are 10 Intro to Proficiency lessons on www.AdiosTextbook.com based on key information from this syllabus that include interactive activities so you don’t have to read and explain all this on day 1. This is our Spanish membership site that is $15/month to join (75 cents a day).