Appendix A: Content Standards for Scripts

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This page outlines a set of standards for language lesson script contents. These standards are:

  • Required for lesson scripts created by The Language Collaborative.
  • Recommended for lesson scripts created by others.

Table of Contents:

Our Standards are both Rigid and Flexible:

In some ways our content standards are very rigid; in other ways they are very flexible.

They are flexible with regards to subject matter. You're welcome to choose almost any subject for your lesson that you like. All we ask is that it be legal in the United States and in your country, and that it be in reasonably good taste as defined by the social norms of your country. You're welcome to address controversial topics as long as you factor kindness into your decisions. Most of all, we hope that you will feel free to be creative, and will create lessons that are about the things that you care most about.

They are rigid with regards to some details. It is important that we do things in consistent ways so that our users can deal with a consistent product and, for lessons created by The Language Collaborative, so that we can work efficiently as a team.

"Teach One Good Way"

At times it may be tempting to explain that a certain word, phrase or sentence can be said in several different ways.

  • Example: A word that can be pronounced in several ways
  • Example: A case where several different words could be used to convey a certain concept

In most cases, avoid doing this. Instead, simply teach "one good way".

Here's why:

  • First of all, its important to keep things as simple as possible. (See our Keep It Simple page.)
  • Secondly, our software is designed to focus on the habit training aspect of language learning. (See our Habit Training page.)

Language learning consists of a gradual accumulation of habits. When you create a lesson your goal is to create realistic content in the user's target language. This will allow the user to practice and absorb this particular content. If there is another way to say the same thing, that's okay - the user can learn that on some other day.

Don't Use Content that Belongs to Others Without Permission

Only use content that you've written yourself or that you've obtained written permission to use.

Using Other People's Ideas

In general, it's okay to use other people's ideas. In some cases you should credit your source, but these cases are fairly unusual.

For example, if you're sitting in a restaurant and hear an interesting conversation at the next table, it's fine to take some notes and then use them as the basis for a lesson. It's unlikely that the conversation participants would want to be credited, even if this was practical.

When should you credit the source of your ideas? Probably the best rule is to imagine how you would feel if you were the source. Would you want to be credited? If so, you probably should do so.


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