Yesterday our world language teachers had a presentation by a representative of Avant, which is providing our district with the Stamp test. Although the test isn’t available for Russian, I attended, and am glad I did. I’d be very interested in getting my students assessed on Stamp. The test seems to be grounded in current research, and the presenter emphasized that we are not assessing grammar and spelling, whether in speaking, reading or writing. Speaking and writing are assessed with two pieces in mind: text type and accuracy. If the spelling or grammar interferes with the reader or listener’s ability to understand, then it affects the score. Otherwise, the focus is on text type.
This link to topics and benchmarks/rubrics, is a nice addition to what we already have through ACTFL.
This morning, I listened to Thursday’s archived recording of “Tea with BVP,” a new CELTA podcast by Bill Van Patten. It’s going to be a weekly event that will fall during my period 4 class. I had to download Sound Cloud onto my phone first to get the recording. This first discussion was a provocative one, claiming that most textbooks and language classes have little to none of the advertised “communicative approach.” It would be helpful to watch Van Patten’s videos (on the right sidebar) first to be able to understand some of the background, unless you were at AFLA 2015, in which case you heard the updated version.
The first listener question was how to teach grammar while using a communicative approach. BVP didn’t answer, stating that he’s tired of that question. Another question was how teachers can determine whether they’re using a communicative approach. BVP reviewed his definition of communication, which has to do with context and purpose. Next week, the topic is about comprehensible input. I will be listening, even if a few hours late again. I almost cannot believe that this podcast is available. For free.
Spoiler alert: BVP talks about Alaskans who tweet (that would be Martina and me, but at least she was on her computer) and then gives our Alaskan community a very nice compliment.
I voted for Spy Girls, and then tweeted my choice, breaking my rule that I tweet only at conferences.