I got this from Bryce:
This is a page from my upcoming book “Stuff for Spanish Class”, part of the “For Spanish Class” series.
PLACING STUDENTS IN LANGUAGE CLASSES
“Students will learn more Spanish if they keep on taking Spanish classes.”
All Students Can Take Upper Level Classes (Levels III, IV and AP):
All students can take upper-level classes. Our goal is to have students of all ability levels, from all genders, from all socio-economic conditions and from all ethnic groups make it to the upper level classes. In the past, academically-oriented, economically advantaged, white girls have been disproportionally represented in upper level language classes. This has been the result of traditional foreign language educational practices and philosophy across the country for the last half century that cater to those specific students. We want to change that. We do not want to “weed out” students, we want to teach students.
We want a diverse group of students to go on with their language study. We want even slow processing students (C and even D students) to continue with the sequence of higher level classes. We want both genders to take challenging classes; half of the students that are taking AP should be males. We want students of all socio-economic standings in level 3, 4 and AP classes. And we want native speakers to take on the challenge of AP. We can do this by:
Encouraging Students To Take Upper Level Classes
• Let them know that you think they can do it. Talk about going on from native speakers classes to upper level classes. Talk to non-natives about going on to level 2, 3 or 4.
• Show them the value personally. Native speakers can maintain and develop their heritage language. They can become completely bilingual – enough so that they can get a good job using both languages. This will be a big advantage to them.
• Show them the value academically. Completing upper level classes looks good on a transcript. And passing the AP test can help to impress college admission officials.
• Help them. Take students on field trips to local universities, especially those with special programs for Hispanic students, economically disadvantaged students and first generation college students.
Placing Students in Appropriate Classes (All Levels):
• Flexibility. We can be flexible. Even though the traditional sequence is 1, 2, 3, 4, AP, this is not a locked in approach. Students do not have to start in Spanish 1 and go right through the sequence. They can jump up and try a higher level.
• Highest Level Possible. We encourage students to take the highest level they can handle. If they have trouble they can always go down a level, but students should be encouraged to take a higher level course. They will lose very little by trying the upper level first.
• Low Academic Risk. We need to make it a low risk situation academically – we do not want to endanger a student’s GPA if she/he is trying to learn at a higher level. We want to encourage students to take risks in learning and take risks with their comfort level, but we understand that the GPA is important to parents and colleges as well.
• Skip a Level. Motivated students may be able to skip a level. This may be accomplished by extra summer work and by getting extra help on the students’ part and by solid comprehensible input-based teaching methods from the teacher.
• Differentiated Instruction. In a well-taught language class, it may be possible to place students in almost any level they choose. Students can learn because we differentiate our instruction. Students in all classes have a spread of ability. We must teach in such a way as to value those that process language more slowly while at the same time challenging those that process more quickly.
• Communication. Students, parents and teachers must be in constant communication regarding how their child is doing in class and their potential.
CI and the Research (cont.)
Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could
1 thought on “Bryce Hedstrom”
EXCELLENT ARTICLE! Bryce, you write so well, with incredible clarity. It is a joy to read!