Language Role Model/alx

From Open Pattern Repository for Online Learning Systems
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Language Role Model
Contributors Christian Köppe, Mariëlle Nijsten
Last modification May 16, 2017
Source Köppe and Nijsten (2012)[1][2][3]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

You are asked to give a course in a foreign language.


Learning is also imitating, but imitating incorrect language usage of a teacher will affect the students’ learning of the language negatively.

Mother Tongue. Not all teachers who give a course in a foreign language are native speakers of this language. Their own language skills might be limited.

Qualification. Teaching content in a foreign language requires the ability of doing so. Evenly important is the ability to select and apply the appropriate instructional options.

Linguistic Confidence. The combination of teaching a specific content while using a foreign language correctly can be overwhelming, as it requires a greater repertoire of instructional options as fallback if observations indicate that the used option does not work for the students[4].

Facilitation. The teacher should have the facilities needed for teaching content in a foreign language. These facilities include material, time for preparation (including Input Selection (Input Selection) and general course design), and, if necessary, additionally available language courses.

Curriculum objectives. If the language abilities of a teacher are sufficient for giving a specific course in a foreign language depends on the defined curriculum objectives regarding the foreign language.

Content-Focused. Swain observed that in cases when considerable teaching of content occurred, no or less attention was paid to the accuracy of the target language use[5].


Therefore: make careful language preparations to ensure that you can instruct students using a foreign language in a correct way for all related language parts. Use the language during the course always as correct as possible.

As teacher you should be a Language Role Model (Language Role Model) for the students and use the Content-Obligatory Language (Content-Obligatory Language), the Content-Compatible Language (Content-Compatible Language) and the general language as correct as possible.

The process of implementing this pattern consists of three steps: (1) assess your level in the foreign language (free online resources are available, such as the Dialang test[6] and compare it with the level of the curriculum objectives, (2) carefully prepare your classes to ensure that you as teacher are able to give the course using the foreign language in an appropriate way and (3) use your language consciously during the course while taking the different language aspects into account.

Proper language assessment will help you decide whether you are the right person to teach in a foreign language. Your level in the foreign language should clearly exceed the required level as defined in the language objectives of the curriculum.

People just acquiring specific skills are often unsure if they also can apply them sufficiently, even if the qualification to do so is sufficient. If this is the case it might help to rehearse parts of your classes in front of colleagues and ask for feedback. You could also videotape your classes and review them, to detect points of improvement.

Christian Köppe used this pattern for a course on Patterns & Frameworks. As he’d given the course in English before it was ensured that his language skills were appropriate. During the course he made use of Content-Obligatory Language (Content-Obligatory Language) and Content-Compatible Language (Content-Compatible Language) in general and also at specific Commented Action (Commented Action).


  1. Pattern first published in Köppe, C., & Nijsten, M. (2012). A pattern language for teaching in a foreign language: part 1. In Proceedings of the 17th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2012) (p. 10). New York:ACM.
  2. Patlet mentioned in Köppe, C., & Nijsten, M. (2012). A pattern language for teaching in a foreign language: part 2. In Proceedings of the 19th Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP 2012). New York:ACM.
  3. Patlet also mentioned in Köppe, C., & Nijsten, M. (2012). Towards a Pattern Language for Teaching in a Foreign Language. In Proceedings of the VikingPLoP 2012 conference. Saariselkä, Finland.
  4. Met, M. (1994). Teaching content through a second language. Educating second language children: The whole child, the whole curriculum, the whole community, 159-182.
  5. Swain, M. (2001). Integrating language and content teaching through collaborative tasks. Canadian Modern Language Review, 58(1), 44-63.