Based on Brooks, L. (2009). “Interacting in pairs in a test of oral proficiency; co-constructing a better performance”. Language Testing 26(3): 341-366.
Brooks’ research shows that students who are tested in pairs outperform students who are tested one-on-one with the examiner. In addition, the students’ interactions were more complex and revealed that students co-constructed a more linguistically demanding performance. In addition, when students worked in pairs, they more closely resembled the oral interactions typical of a real conversation. In paired testing students demonstrated a wider range of interactions (17) to the individual format (10). The paired students mostly commonly had these interactions: seeking confirmation, asking a question, asking for agreement, clarification requests, and prompting elaboration, finishing sentences, and referring to partner’s ideas. Over half of all interactions in the one-on-one with the examiner was asking a question.
As Modern Language teachers, we will want to encourage oral communication in the classroom. We can have our students do more oral work in pairs. We can structure students speaking from very basic conversations up to free-flowing spontaneous conversations about common topics. Our scaffolding will allow our Second Language students to have more complex and personally meaningful conversations.
Most of the Spanish activities I have developed are for pairs. A few of them are
–Spanish Tell Me About Yourself Substitution Sentences (Partners substitute in their own answers to tell about themselves
– Spanish Conversation Questions Spontaneous Speaking Partners (Partners ask basic questions and then variations on those questions)
– Spanish Friend /Family Member Detailed Description – Partner Talk (Each partner talks about a family member using possible words)
My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle
My three formative assessment books: http://is.gd/tbook