Student Outcome

Tako lako is a comprehensive curriculum designed for beginner university-level language learners who may not have the opportunity to engage with expert speakers of Croatian outside of their formal instructional settings. However, those learning the language in the country will also greatly benefit from its content. For instance, its authentic simulations of real-life situations, which learners may encounter when using the language in the target-language environment, can furnish such learners with opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the target culture.

Topics in “Tako lako”

The topics covered in Tako lako are carefully crafted to be relevant in today’s world. The topics are meaningfully contextualized with the learners’ personal experiences in mind and geared toward stimulating conversation and encouraging engagement. Some of the topics include music and film interests, travel habits, family relations, behaviors in public spaces, and traditional cuisine. Although some topics may be sensitive or personal, the textbook offers alternative options that learners can choose without feeling excluded or uncomfortable.

Learners’ real-life experiences

Language learners (i.e., L2 learners) follow a story of six local and two visiting U.S. students in Croatia over a 10-month period that corresponds to L2 learners’ academic year of learning the language. The story unfolds simultaneously with the learners’ real-life experiences, meaning that the timeframe in the textbook aligns with the period during which learners are exposed to the story. This synchronization provides L2 learners with a sense of authenticity, allowing them to better connect with the narrative. By immersing themselves in these characters’ lives and situations in which they find themselves, L2 learners gain valuable information on every-day life in Croatia and insight into how the language is effectively used in a variety of situations and contexts.

Textbook material and ACTFL Can-Do Statements

The textbook material was created by following the ACTFL (2017) Can-Do Statements, including their section on intercultural communication. Statements from Novice Low (NL), Novice Mid (NM), Novice High (NH), and partially Intermediate Low (IL) levels were used as learning outcomes to develop the curriculum’s tasks through backward design. Some can-do statements that were deemed less useful for learners were omitted. Some statements were also eliminated if they closely resembled the ones already included. The statements covered the following areas: interpretative communication, interpersonal communication, presentational communication, and intercultural communication. Below are some examples from the textbook for each type of communication.

Flow chart - Four rounded rectangles with labels are arranged on a circle with clockwise arrows. Interpretative Communications at the top, Interpersonal Communications to the right, Presentational Communications on the bottom and Intercultural Communications to the left.

Interpretative Communication
  • I can understand simple questions about family in correspondence among friends.
  • I can recognize very common abbreviations in a text message.
  • I can recognize when greetings and leave-taking are expressed.
  • I can understand recipe recommendations on a food package.
  • I can follow text messages among friends about what to wear for an occasion.
Interpersonal Communication
  • I can answer questions about who is in my family.
  • I can compare schedules with a friend to identify who has a harder week ahead.
  • I can ask for directions when I’m lost.
  • I can text my friend to bring me something from a restaurant and answer my friend’s questions.
  • I can read a note from my roommate about evening plans and write a short response.
Presentational Communication
  • I can tell a peer or colleague what I did this weekend.
  • I can give a few details about my favorite restaurant.
  • I can tell someone my activities and schedule for the day.
  • I can write a description of the physical appearance and personality of a friend or family member.
  • I can tell the location of a city relative to another city on a map.
  • I can list my favorite free-time activities to create a survey for my peers.
Intercultural Communication
  • In my own and other cultures, I can identify some artists and musicians, their styles and contributions.
  • I can recommend sites to experience a variety of local art and music styles.
  • In my own and other cultures, I can identify locations to buy something and how culture affects where people shop.
  • I can use rehearsed behaviors when shopping in a familiar type of store.
  • In my own and other cultures, I can identify how, what and why people eat what they do.
  • I can act appropriately when obtaining food in familiar situations, such as grocery shopping or eating in a restaurant.

Instructors interested in learning more about communication skills are encouraged to read World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages and ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.