Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-11-2020


Helzer, Anna. Teaching Language for Proficiency: Learning Descriptions in Spanish 1. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. March 2019.


Copyright Anna Helzer 2020.


For this creative project, I have designed a 15-day unit plan for a Spanish 1 (novice level) language class, teaching the vocabulary and skills needed to understand and produce descriptions of people in students’ second language (L2) of Spanish. Throughout the creation of this unit plan, I have combined my own experience in practicums and student teaching with the most cited research in the fields of language acquisition and pedagogy in order to create lessons which will best facilitate novice language learners’ acquisition of the Spanish language and culture.

The unit plan includes overall content and language objectives as well as daily functional learning objectives on each day’s lesson plan. Each lesson plan includes the time taken by each component of the lesson, the teacher’s tasks, the students’ tasks, my rationale for including each component based in research and experience, how to determine how well students can perform the learning objectives, and what materials will be necessary for the completion of the task. Students’ learning during this unit will be assessed using an authentic performance-based assessment called the Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA), which features three communicative tasks - in interpretive mode, interpersonal mode, and presentational mode - within a single theme or context which reflects real-world communication and language use. In addition to the lesson plans, an introductory rationale essay goes into greater detail explaining the research and reasoning which guided my choices, and a sampling of lesson materials is included at the end of the unit plan.

This unit plan is designed to serve as a model for teacher practitioners in the field of language education to illustrate standards task-based instruction, designed to cultivate a learner-centered classroom.