Archive for the 'Foreign Language Teacher' Category

Healing Learning injuries: The Immediacy of Formative Feedback

If a student has hurt herself and is bleeding, we do not say, “Wait a few days and we will take care of your bleeding.” We help stop the bleeding immediately.  However, when a student bleeds academically by showing a serious learning gap, we often delay the necessary treatment.

When a student displays a learning gap such as  not being able to write a topic sentence in a composition, we  immediately apply the treatment of providing the student with different new strategies.  We do not simply re-give the student the  original strategy that was unsuccessful for the student.  We have a list of different strategies on the class website, blog, wiki, a handout, or a QR code.  We write these strategies in student-talk and provide examples.  For example, a topic sentence has a topic, like “the school baseball team”, and a strong position or viewpoint  about the team such as “will win this Friday”.  The complete topic sentence becomes “The school baseball team will win this Friday.”
We provide a  variety of differentiated ways for the students to learn the missing concept of a topic sentence such as  a written explanation.   We can ask students to put a box around the topic and put an arrow ( → ) over the position. Also, we can offer the student  a variety of other ways of learning this concept such as    Youtubemovie, a podcast, and  a visual.  The student selects which formative feedback she feels will help her the most. Then, she practices that new strategy so that she improves.

Through the  immediacy of formative assessment, we heal the student  in their learning.  The student does not become injured for the rest of her learning.

Tuttle’s formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, New Book

 

Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment

 

By Harry Grover Tuttle and Alan Robert Tuttle

Want a quick way to get your students conversing more in the target language? Want an easy way to help your students improve in their speaking on a daily basis? This practical book shows you how to use formative assessments to gain immediate and lasting improvement in your students’ fluency.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Help students climb the ACTFL proficiencies
  • Guide students as they develop in over sixteen language functions such as socializing and persuading
  • Embed the three-minute speaking formative assessment into every lesson with ease
  • Engage students successfully in peer formative assessment
  • Teach students to give each other formative feedback
  • Provide struggling students with over ten improvement strategies for each language function.
  • Engage students in over 170 speaking activities.
  • Use Web 2.0 tools to foster speaking
  • Move from summative assessment to daily or weekly formative evaluation of speaking

Each speaking assessment include instructions, the assessment form, extension activities, speaking topics, and at least ten strategies for improvement. There are ready-to-use checklists including the “I Can” log that helps students plot their own progress.

Research has confirmed that when teachers use formative assessment, students can learn in six to seven months what would normally take a school year to learn. You’ll find yourself using this book every day because of the gains your students will achieve in foreign language fluency.

These speaking assessment energize the class as the students have the opportunity to use a language function for a full minute. The students use language instead of practicing it.

Please share with your Modern Language teacher, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment

Carefully teaching another culture to promote positive feelings

Anyone teaching about another culture has to be very careful in how the person presents the culture.  The person may create negative feelings toward the culture instead of the positive ones he/she had hoped for.  In addition, students enter our classroom with stereotypes about other cultures.   We tend to teach culture as a series of facts or as a feeling about a country.  Research shows that initially students become positive toward another culture by seeing similarities, not be seeing differences.

Salychivin analyzed that students respond to culture in a grid of similar/different  and positive/negative .  If they view the cultural item as similar and positive such as baseball, they feel positive about it.  If they view the cultural item as similar and negative such as pollution in Mexico City,   they see are    If they see a difference and that difference is positive such as all the parties during the Posadas in Puerto Rico from Dec 16 through Jan. 6, they feel positive.  However, when they see a cultural item as different and negative such as the Mexican Day of the Dead, then they feel negative. How we word information about the other culture can determine students’ reaction to the other culture

We can show our students culture in a positive way by

1) Showing how it is logically within the culture.   If people work 8 hours a day and work from 9-12, take a two hour break, and start work again at two, they will work until seven. By the time they get home, they probably will eat at eight (in Spain).

2) Showing how the same thing (a positive) happens in US culture.  Hispanic men tend to embrace frequently which may be seen as a negative.  However, if a teacher shows USA  football players embracing as a positive and then shows hispanic men embracing, the embracing becomes a positive.

3)  Using images and questions to present the culture.  As the teacher shows a picture of a heavy rainstorm in  June in San Jose, Costa Rica, the teacher asks about the rain and  the month and then explains that Costa Rica like many South American countries has two seasons, the rainy and the dry season.  Flickr provides a great source of fairly current images

4) Showing the variety in the other culture.  Do not only  show Lima (Peru) as the only part of Peru, show the cost, the mountains, etc.  If you show Machu Picchu, also show a  modern city.   Show how things change within the country such as in Spain paella changing from a seafood paella near the coast to a chicken paella inland.

5) Avoiding negative statements about the other culture:  “These poor people”;  “This war-driven country”;  “They only…”;  or “They are the opposite of /backward from us.”

How do you teach culture of another country to help your students feel positive about that culture?

Here are a few links to some Spanish images based on topics:

Deportes

Restaurante

Spanish Streets

(Type Spanish in the search engine for this site to find more).

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Checking for Understanding: Coupons for More Than Participation in the Classroom

Standards-based formative student participation coupons

A world language (Spanish/French) teacher was telling me that she gives a coupon to a student when he/she participates (Thanks, Kitty). The students turn the coupons in at the end of the month.

I would suggest a variation that reflects more of standards-based assessment of language learning.

A coupon of 1 point represents identifying a vocabulary item (“window”) or doing a grammar item (I form of to sing)
A coupon of 2 points represents asking or answering a basic question such as “Where do you live?” through speaking or writing.
A coupon of 5 points indicates that the student has read, listened, or watched to some information, then responded by speaking or writing in five different sentences or five different questions about the one topic.

The student are told that by the end of the month they are to have at least 120 points.

Each week they can count up their 1 point, 2 point, and 5 point coupons. They could make a graph to see where they are and to analyze their progress. They will quickly realize that by only answering with vocabulary or grammar or by only answering basic questions, they will not get them their needed total points. A look at their weekly score provides a formative assessment of how they use language in the classroom. As teachers we have to provide them with the opportunity to use their language in extended ways and to scaffold their writing and speaking so that they can speak or write in extended ways. We can share techniques for saying or writing five different sentences or questions about a topic. We can help them to make the transition from minimal language use to expressing ideas in the language.

How do you use participation coupons as formative assessment?

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RSS Education with Technology

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