I got the message below from a teacher whose employers think that the standards are connected to all four of the four skills at all levels. That thinking is not in touch with the research about how people acquire languages.
If you want to educate yourself about the term Standards Based Grading search in the search bar here for that terms. We’ve got to clear up the confusion or we will continue to focus on output way too early, to the great detriment of our student’s confidence in themselves as language learners.
Here is the message I got:
I have been reading your book a lot this summer, it seems to be everything I have been looking for. Last year I tried to implement elements of CI, especially “persona especial,” however this year I would like to go 100%. Your explanations of how to simplify and streamline education is exactly what I have been thinking teaching should be, as teachers have a strange tendency to want to overcomplicate everything. My school district uses standards based grading. My question is, what are your thoughts on gelling SBG and CI? How can I make this work successfully? I have 4 skill areas for SBG that I need formative and summative grades for each semester, and then the overall scores for each skill (1, 2, 3 or 4) will then become a letter grade (A, B, C, D, or F). The skill areas are listening, reading, writing and speaking. I have ideas for formative grades however what would you suggest for summative? Any insights would be helpful, thank you so much.
Hi Abigail –
The “four skills” are hopelessly ineffective in aligning with the research. They are from the last century. Why? It is because writing and speaking as output skills emerge far later, years actually, than the input skills.
My work is all about focusing entirely on the input skills of listening and reading for the first two years at least. TEACHERS HAVE NO BUSINESS COAXING OUTPUT IN THE FORM OF SPEAKING AND WRITING UNTIL THEIR KIDS HAVE HAD MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF INPUT IN THE FORM OF LISTENING AND READING FIRST.
I am attaching a book, not completed (it is lacking a few more read throughs and some video I am getting from a Zoom class I am doing on the book w some teachers). It is a book about teaching languages online as well as in a classroom.
Find the passages on formative and summative grading in the Table of Contents. This is only a beginning. I also have some articles on the PLC. We can talk later after you’ve read this stuff.
My prayer is that you would share this information with other teachers. We need to focus mainly on input in the first two years. When we don’t do that – when we ask them to output before they are ready, we do a big disservice to them. They do not need that now. Not these days.
What we need now is to focus on the input skills in our teaching, and how to deliver understandable messages online. That’s what our kids need now. There are teachers starting to do that very effectively. I know of three at least.
The big thing that pisses me off is how ACTFL won’t make it clear in their pages about the Communication Standard and its major support document – the Three Modes of Communication – have little to with output in the early levels of study.