Speaking Rubric – 1

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16 thoughts on “Speaking Rubric – 1”

  1. Thanks for sharing! I think I will be borrowing this next semester. How do you assign a grade, though, especially if a student is in the Silent Period still? Do you determine a certain level of expected proficiency (say, “Developing/Comfortable with Basic Tasks”) and make that the A-level, adjusting down from there? Do you assign a low grade for non-speakers, adjusting upward as they improve?

    Speaking is one of the areas in which I almost never take a grade, because it’s just so tricky to deal with.

  2. I will cut&paste and use this great tool with my adult French group.Thank you Diane.

    In elementary I’ve tried much simpler versions but my kids are too immature to respond in constructive ways. I could imagine a rubric of this type being a useful tool with high school students.

  3. WOWIE! Love it! The whole vibe of it is truly process-oriented “where do you see yourself at this point?”

    “A good score is not so much based on high achievement as on progress and effort across the semester. You may check more than one answer.” YES!!!

    How do your students respond to this? I always wonder whether kids perceive these in similar ways as we do, given their general feeling of head constantly on the chopping block with respect to grades. I like to think that over time, with consistent practice at CI and at self-reflection, this will change. I really love that you specifically put in that part about not needing the “top score” to get an A. This seems to me incredibly liberating and maybe would allow the kids to reflect honestly.

    Thank you 🙂

    1. The students’ responses: mostly as I hoped, knowing this isn’t a test to find fault, but to find where they are in developing language. Through other discussions they’ve found this out about how I teach, too, so it wasn’t new to them. I totally know what you mean about the chopping block. Feeling like their grades are a test to find their faults and failures!

      One in Chinese 1 (who I know feels like he’s “behind”) was visibly nervous when I passed back the graded forms. He had 6/6 and I rated him a little higher on a couple answers than he had. He’s a wonderful beginning-level language student! But the lack of perfection in speaking (and probably also comparing himself to a few superstars in the class) make him think he’s not up to standard. In fact, he is. Very responsive kid, brave and willing to try anything. Perfect production not required!

  4. jen, if you like it then I really feel I hit the target I was aiming for. I wanted them to think about their own process with the language and feel successful if they are on the path toward fluency.

    Before I passed out this rubric last Friday, we spent a few minutes talking about the concept of the Silent Period and what it means. I directly told Chinese 1 & 2 students I believed it entirely okay that several of them were at that point of developing language skills. It is legitimate at their amount of time in the language. So that’s an A. However: if those same mostly-silent students don’t give silent responses or ask for clarification of meaning (and there are some like that), they did get docked some. Not docked for being unable to formulate Chinese verbally in a comfortable way yet. My range of accepted answers for each item might differ from what other teachers find reasonable, but each item had usually 3 answers I’d accept. Mostly I agreed with the students’ self-rating.

    Also, on those silent period students’ forms, I added comments on what they can be doing that will, at some point, move them beyond the silent period. Some in Chinese 2 began the year thinking they can’t do Chinese & I have one discouraged Chinese 1 kid (brother of a star student – I think that’s part of the issue). My Chinese 3 & 4 groups all chose to continue beyond the required 2 years, and apart from one rarely responsive student, they’re all really on track. They get this. It’s so fun.

    My students have a SLA quote every Friday that has helped to inform them of the process. Someone reads the quote aloud, then we discuss it. So they are aware of my thinking about language acquisition: it’s a process, and each person has a unique path on it, even when exposed to the same language content; and what factors are involved in developing language fluency (ex, CI, low affective filter, needing meaningful reps).

    1. I love this rubric, although I have a ways to go in my journey towards becoming a CI teacher before I could use this with my students. Do you have suggested SLA quotes that you could share with me to use? If you would rather email me than post here, I’m LLePage at sacoschools.org.

      1. Yes I do! Still adding to the list. Most of the quotes are actually found by Eric Herman. I blogged about these SLA quote discussions here recently: http://tprsforchinese.blogspot.com/2014/12/helping-students-understand-process.html

        and you can get the document here:

        (FYI in the document: Among many other quotes there are a couple of obviously Christian points in the list; I teach at a Christian school so in my context it’s great.)

  5. I love how you worked the Christian thingy from Corinthians into your explanation. Let’s hope your kids aren’t Sauls when you get ’em 😉

    I tell my kids 3 things:

    A) listen and read to understand and you’ll pick it up– your brain has mad skillz
    B) you will always understand more than you can say and write
    C) the only thing you MUST do in class is focus on me/actors/reading and not distract others

        1. Totally …re: hard work…but the “hard work” is the practice of being present. Key word practice. So for CI that means practice of listening, responding, asking for clarification, etc. And for the bigger picture practicing listening, responding, asking for clarification (on other levels ;).

          It is the “growth” and “advancement” that are acquired, but the practice piece is pretty much the same. I know. I am completely oversimplifying. But maybe not. The discernment comes when noticing whether your interpretation of “hard work” is tied directly to outcome …”doing x so that you get/ achieve y”or whether you interpret “hard work” as the daily practice of presence, listening, observing and acting from this presence.

          The parallels feel very strong to me.

      1. I feel ya, Diane, on that “powerful parallel” between spiritual growth and language acquisition. We hear yogis using the term “surrender yourself” to the forces of the universe as we practice self-discipline, awareness of self, posture, breathing, and meditation on the path to Samadhi, or a state of transcendence. (Yeah, I just took us on a walk down the coo-coo plank.) I see a strong parallel to learning acquisition: surrendering yourself to the dialogue in the social context of the classroom.

        1. I’m thinking of something a little different – not the surrender, but who it is you’re looking at. What we see and hear, with understanding, transforms us. (With language it means we grow more fluent.) Our part is to see and to hear, not follow rules or stir up willpower to do better per se – those might happen unconsciously by the transformation. 2 Corinthian 3:17-18, the quote in among my language acquisition quotes, is my main inspiration in this, though the idea is not only found there. I am afraid of offending any of you lovely friends and colleagues if I share too specifically here, but would be glad to discuss by email with anyone interested. (I might be taking a walk on the coo-coo plank too, but isn’t it a nice place, Sean?)

          1. I doubt that my spiritual beliefs line up perfectly with anyone’s here. Despite that, I appreciate reading about the connections that others are making between our work as teachers and our larger spiritual journey. Please keep these thoughts coming as long as you feel comfortable sharing!

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