We Teach Languages Episode 65: Preparing Students for Tests with Savas Savides and Dongbing Zhang

In episode 65, Stacey brings in several guests to discuss preparing students to take those big, standardized tests that students around the world take to certify their language ability, a practice that comes some benefits but also some challenges. We will revisit some previous episodes, and hear from two guests that are new to the podcast, Savas Savides, an educational consultant in Greece, and Dongbing Zhang, a PhD student in Australia who has also taught English in China.

 

Or listen on iTunes!

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Show Notes

We welcome feedback, resources, and diverse perspectives on this topic! To contribute to the conversation started here, leave us a voicemail or send a text message to (629)888-3398. Or you can follow us on Twitter @weteachlang or use this contact form to send us an email.

Savas Savides has worked for a number of private language schools in Greece, and has also worked as a test center administrator. For the past 18 years, he has been an educational consultant for international publishers (like Oxford University Press and Pearson – York Press), and a teacher trainer. Savas blogs about all things education at www.brightclassroomideas.com.  He can be reached via Twitter @BrightClassIdea or by email.

Dongbing Zhang is a PhD student in Australia. Prior to starting grad school, he was an English teach in China. If you want to reach out to Dongbing to ask him questions, you can find him on email.

Previous episodes connected to this topic…

…the previous series on the Seal of Biliteracy: Episodes 62, 63, 64

Episode 23: Performance Assessment, Can Dos, and ACTFL resources with Paul Sandrock

Episode 25: Responding to a Listener Comment on Tests

Episode 52: Story Listening and Efficient Acquisition with Beniko Mason

Episode 58: Principles of Outstanding Language Teaching with Steve Smith

 

Some useful sites on standardized testing in the countries mentioned…

…the US: AP exam, AAPPL exam, TOEFL

…Japan: new plans for standardized testingthe tests accepted for university admission

…UK: GCSE, A Levels

…China: CET (which includes, as Dongbing mentioned, band 4 and band 6 tests, news plans for standardized testing in China

…Greece: Savas mentioned in the interview that there are currently 23 different English tests in Greece, and here’s an interesting paper I found online about Greece’s foreign language testing

CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning 

 

The Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR)…

An overview

A detailed look

A comparison between CEFR and the US/ACTFL proficiency levels

 

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We Teach Languages Episode 45: Thematic Units and Social Justice with Anneke Oppewal and Jennifer Wooten

In episode 45, Stacey talks with Anneke Oppewal, a middle school teacher in North Carolina, and Jennifer Wooten, a college instructor in Florida, about how they have transformed units on food and housing by focusing on questions accessible to novice and intermediate students. Anneke and Jen share specific examples from their own teaching–lessons and units they have built over time through collaboration and experimentation.

 

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Show Notes

We welcome feedback, resources, and diverse perspectives on this topic! To contribute to the conversation started here, leave us a voicemail or send a text message to (629)888-3398. Or you can follow us on Twitter @weteachlang or use this contact form to send us an email.

Both Jen and Anneke expressed that they would love to hear from listeners and possibly even collaborate with others doing similar work. You can email Jennifer Wooten here. You can email Anneke here or follow her on Twitter @an_oppewal

Resources…

…Anneke’s mini-unit on La Cosecha

EdPuzzle, a tool mentioned by Anneke that lets you turn videos into interactive quizzes

…Jen, Anneke, and a colleague’s ACTFL 2016 presentation on social justice that touches on many of the same issues discussed in this episode

…Jen, Anneke, and two colleagues’ ACTFL 2017 presentation on social justice that touches on many of the same themes as this episode.

…the book Anneke mentioned by Maria Souto-Manning with a forward by Sonia Nieto Multicultural Teaching in the Early Childhood Classroom.

…Terry ‘Osborn’s book Teaching World Languages for Social Justice.

Words and Actions: Teaching World Languages Through the Lens of Social Justice

ACTFL’s Critical and Social Justice Approaches SIG

Past episodes mentioned…

…check out ep 43 with Ryuko Kubota

…and ep 44 with Terry Osborn

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We Teach Languages Episode 44: A Preview of the 2018 Dimension Special Issue with Terry A. Osborn

In episode 44, Stacey shares an interview with Terry Osborn that she conducted as part of the 2018 issue of Dimension, the peer-reviewed journal of the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) . This special issue, which Stacey co-edited with Paula Garrett-Rucks, contains seven chapters all focused on how critical pedagogy and social justice play out in the language classroom. Listeners will get to hear a portion of the interview with Dr. Terry A. Osborn that comprises the first chapter of this special issue.

 

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Show Notes

We welcome feedback, resources, and diverse perspectives on this topic! To contribute to the conversation started here, leave us a voicemail or send a text message to (629)888-3398. Or you can follow us on Twitter @weteachlang or use this contact form to send us an email.

You can find Terry Osborn here. 

Resources…

…Terry’s book Teaching World Languages for Social Justice.

…Terry’s book with Reagan called The Foreign Language Educator in Society.

Dimension, a peer-reviewed journal from the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT)

Words and Actions: Teaching World Languages Through the Lens of Social Justice

ACTFL’s Critical and Social Justice Approaches SIG

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We Teach Languages Episode 42: Choosing Critical Cultural Content over Grammar with Daniel Woolsey

In episode 42, Stacey interviews Daniel Woolsey, an associate professor of Spanish at a liberal arts college in Michigan, who teaches courses including fourth-semester Spanish and Hispanic linguistics. Daniel explains that language teachers can focus on critical cultural content, let go of explicit grammar instruction, and trust the acquisition process to take place.

In the month of March, we will be focusing on social justice and critical perspectives on language teaching to celebrate the March release of a special issue of Dimension, SCOLT‘s peer-reviewed journal. In this first of five episodes, Daniel Woolsey gets us started by showing that we can let go of grammar and embrace critical cultural content as the core of our classes.

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Show Notes

We welcome feedback, resources, and diverse perspectives on this topic! To contribute to the conversation started here, leave us a voicemail or send a text message to (629)888-3398. Or you can follow us on Twitter @weteachlang or use this contact form to send us an email.

Daniel Woolsey grew up in Santiago, Chile, and earned his Ph.D. in Language Education from Indiana University. He has been teaching Spanish at the college level for twenty years, including courses in Hispanic Linguistics and Language Teaching Methods. Daniel is especially passionate about first- and second-year Spanish courses: bridging SLA theory with teaching practices, and incorporating critical topics from culture, history and literature into beginning levels of instruction. He is co-author of two textbooks for first and second year Spanish courses, Ritmos: Beginning Spanish Language & Culture (2012, 2017) and its forthcoming intermediate counterpart Rostros (2019). Info and free demo of his textbooks can be found at: https://evialearning.com/ritmos-store.

For more information and to connect with Daniel, visit his faculty page.

For instructors interested in moving toward content-based communicative teaching, he recommends some resources…

Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen, by James Lee and Bill VanPatten

How Language Are Learned, by Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada

…Bill VanPatten’s podcast Tea with BVP (Daniel loves whatever BVP is doing!)

Resources from the show…

…The 2017 conference https://hope.edu/academics/modern-classical-languages/crisis-management-innovation/

more about James Lee, the instructor Daniel mentioned from Indiana University

…MLA 2007 white paper Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World

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