By Maria J. Treviño

Review for the teacher:

  • -Proficiency:  How do you develop it in your students?  Know your proficiency levels and develop activities that match appropriate language levels of the student.
  • -Instruction:  How will you develop your lesson?  Determine the standard(s) for the lesson and determine the proficiency level of the students.  Design your instruction around these two items.
  • -Content:  What content will you use?  Use your district curriculum as required, your textbook if necessary, and/or your own content, but choose topics with which students are familiar and develop appropriate-age tasks for the level.
  • -Standards:  Which ones will you cover in class?  All standards of Communication, Cultures, Connections, Connections, and Communities will be covered in class during the school year; however, all of the standards will never be covered in one lesson.
  • -Practice:  How will you design your practice activities? Think of your desired outcome first, then develop the activity to meet that outcome. Determine if activities are to be practiced independently, in pairs, or in small groups.
  • -Assessment: Develop your performance-based assessment based on all of the above.

For the Administrator:

When visiting the Spanish teacher’s classroom, administrators make a determination based on what is taking place in the classroom.  Many administrators do not know Spanish and thus base their observations on classroom control, students engaged quietly, etc.  In previous blogs, I have outlined what teachers are required to know and do in the classroom.  These are the features that administrators should be observing when performing teacher evaluations. The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and Performance Standards for Language Learning ( can provide additional information and preparation before stepping into the Spanish classroom.  Some things to note when observing a Spanish classroom:

  • -Who is speaking more, the teacher or the students?
  • -Are the students engaged in pairs or groups interacting in Spanish?
  • -Are the students struggling with the lesson – possibly too difficult for their level?
  • -Are there only repetition/pronunciation drills occurring in the classroom?
  • -Are student working on handouts that look like Example 1 or Example 2 of Blog 1 in this series?
  • -Are students listening to a CD and interpreting information demonstrated by either responding to questions orally or in writing?
  • -If you were to ask a student what he/she is doing, does the student’s response reflect an activity that develops language proficiency?
  • -If you were to review the teacher’s weekly lesson plan, could you see evidence of planning for proficiency and planning for specific standards in the lesson?


María J. Fierro-Treviño

Instructional Specialist, Northside Independent School District, San Antonio, TX. (Retired)

Director for Languages other than English, Texas Education Agency (Retired)

Spanish as a Sexist Language – Resources for your Spanish Classroom
LOS CHICOS Y LAS CHICAS: ¿QUÉ LES GUSTA? – Resources for your Spanish Classroom
How to Correct Students’ Speaking Errors

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