Laurie Clarcq On Output

So many of the recent comments here should really be blogs so that they can be categorized. Oh well. At least I can trap this gem by Laurie on output into the new “output” category on the right here. (However, since I can’t keep up with the categorization process, I would suggest just using the search function most of the time).
Output is frequently used as a measure of evaluation.   I am not a fan of this method because many people (myself included!!!) do not have a good grip on how to make an output-formatted evaluation that effectively measures anything . 
That being said….Here are my heretical thoughts on output:
I used to think that output was one of the major goals of language instruction.   The assumptions behind it  that were that:
• A student learn to comprehend and to produce language at the same rate.
• The rate at which students begin to comprehend and produce is totally dependent on teacher-controlled issues save three:  student motivation, student work, student “ability”-level.
• Teachers who organize right, plan right, establish expectations right and create good evaluative activities can then identify a correct level of language production.
• This identification should then be used to compare and delineate students.
Since working to focus my instruction on Comprehensible Input I’ve developed a new way of looking at input…and trust me…it is still evolving.  
What I have seen is that….NON-GRADED OUTPUT can:
• Allow students to organize input in their brain (best-case scenario) or perhaps only in their notebooks (worst-case scenario.)
• Give students the opportunity to demonstrate the ability (or inability) to practice testing scenarios.
• Open doors for students to creatively combine acquired vocabulary  in a new situation.
• Communicate ideas/thoughts/doubts/questions on a variety of topics.
• Add interest to story-asking activities (ie responses)
• Increase student-suggested ideas during story-asking activities.
• Provide an opportunity for the teacher to monitor “ spontaneous” output.
In actuality, GRADED output will:
• Provide PR opportunities in the form of projects that can be displayed or shared.
• Allow the teacher to collect samples of standards-based student writing to use in comparison to other writings and department/district/state requirements. (ala my former perspective….)
• Give students who are “good at school” a chance to show off their skills.
• Damage many, many students.
• Take valuable time away from activities which actually increase students’ language interests and abilities.
with love and fired up about this topic……



2 thoughts on “Laurie Clarcq On Output”

  1. Most of you wouldn’t know, but Ben had a different piece to put up today and chose this instead. (Good!!!) This has been bouncing around and around in my brain and I have tried to break it down even more on my blog. So here is the shameless plug to get you there:
    I don’t care if you respond to me here or there or anywhere else for that matter…but like Anne and Robert and several others, writing this out and pulling it apart is helping me…
    with love,

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