OPI Discussion Continues

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5 thoughts on “OPI Discussion Continues”

  1. I love the fact that TPRS aligns so well with the OPI, because the OPI is as close to an industry standard for proficiency as we get. When I used to work as a graduate assistant in a Teacher Education World Language department, the OPI was the standard by which we verified the linguistic level of incoming pre-service teachers. By the way, Intermediate High is the minimum standard for people to be able to be allowed to teach a language; if incoming teachers tested lower they needed to go abroad for a semester or find some other means to compensate.
    One of the things I’m seeing out of some of my students–especially at the higher levels–is they want to know how they are doing. One of the wonderful problems of TPRS is that the students learn so naturally that they often don’t feel they are doing as well as they really are. “If it isn’t hard work, I’m not really doing anything.” Sometimes when I point out that they are doing well in reading and speaking, they think it’s just because I’m rigging the tests in their favor (which to be honest, sometimes I am).
    So if OPI aligns with what I am doing anyways, I really love the idea of letting people know where they stand using a professional benchmark that can legitimize the effectiveness of how they are learning to themselves, parents, administrators, etc. If the basic strategy of defending TPRS falls upon letting the results speak for themselves–as I believe they should–then it would be nice to have a professional standard to point to. I see the OPI as being a legitimate addition to the portfolios I keep for my students to chart year to year progress, but probably wouldn’t start them until the third year and would administer them in conjunction with the NY Regent’s exams.
    I personally didn’t particularly care for my own OPI interview either. The interviewer asked me about what was a hot topic politically and when I mentioned a smoking ban being enforced in bars, off we went to the races despite the fact that I don’t drink and have only been in a bar once in my life. Yes, I teach German and didn’t know the word for “Barkeeper” or any other pub vocab (or didn’t at the time). While I see that as a legitimate cultural strike against me, it also ended up handicapping me during the interview as I was pretty far out of my. So, sign me up for Michele’s idea of turning these into personalized one on one times that can develop student interest.

  2. One little twist is that generally an OPI interviewer can’t rate his or her own students. But if several of us got our credentials, we could assess each other’s kids. The next twist there for me is that I’m not a Superior-level speaker, and one must be, in order to get the credential. (But I know that I wasn’t an Advanced High, either, until I’d taught using CI methodology for two years…so maybe there’s hope!)

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