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!

_________

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

 

blurb 65a

We Teach Languages Episode 64: Teachers’ Perspectives on the Seal of Biliteracy with Melanie Thomas and Pat DiPillo

In episode 64, Stacey continues with a three-part series on the Seal of Biliteracy in the US with Melanie Thomas and Pat DiPillo. Melanie and Pat decsribe how their own districts navigated the early stages of implementing the Seal and offer resources and advice.

Also see episodes 62 and 63 for more on the Seal of Biliteracy.

Or listen on iTunes!

_________

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.

Melanie Thomas received her MATL (Master of Arts in Teaching Language) from the University of Southern Mississippi where she studied SLA (second language acquisition) and became a firm believer in a communicative classroom.  She received her National Board Certification in 2006 based on evidence of teaching that used SLA principles as a firm foundation.  She successfully renewed that certification in 2016 where she relied on ACTFL’s revised Proficiency Guidelines in providing feedback to students in order to help students grow in their proficiency path. You can find Melanie on Twitter @senoraMThomas, on her blog, or by email here.

Pat DiPillo is a department chair in Falmouth, MA which is on Cape Cod. She is also a Fulbright Scholar, NBPTS Assesor, MaFLA Board of Directors, and an NCATE Reviewer, a position in which she can help ensure teacher are candidates prepared in proficiency methodology. You can reach Pat by email here.

Check out more info on the Seal of Biliteracy here!

If you want to know more about proficiency and performance (mentioned by Melanie)…
…Check out ACTFL’s performance descriptors and accompanying materials

…Or listen to episode 23 with Paul Sandrock for a great, concise description of the topic!

ACTFL’s Core Practices (mentioned by Pat, but this great post is by World Language Classroom).

MaFLA resources including the proficiency academy! (mentioned by Pat)

 

blurb 64a

 

We Teach Languages Episode 63: An Introduction to the Seal of Biliteracy with Linda Egnatz

In episode 63, Stacey continues with a three-part series on the Seal of Biliteracy in the US with an interview with Linda Egnatz. Linda describes how Illinois became the third state to pass the Seal of Biliteracy as well as her vision for the future of the Seal.

 

Or listen on iTunes!

_________

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 follow Linda Egnatz on Twitter @miprofeAP or on her blog.

Check out more info on the Seal of Biliteracy here!

blurb 63a

 

We Teach Languages Episode 62: A Throwback on Advocacy and the Seal of Biliteracy with Caleb Howard and Amanda Seewald

In episode 62, Stacey kicks off a three-part series on the Seal of Biliteracy in the US by looking back at an episode from 2017 in which Caleb Howard interviewed Amanda Seewald about advocacy and the Seal of Biliteracy in the state of New Jersey. Check out the show notes for links to the full episode as well as useful resources related to the Seal of Biliteracy.

 

Or listen on iTunes!

_________

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.

Amanda originally appeared on episode 24

Check out more info on the Seal of Biliteracy here!

blurb 62a

 

We Teach Languages Episode 61: A Throwback Episode with Dorie Conlon Perugini and Manuela Wagner

In episode 61, Stacey looks back at two episodes from 2017 in which two of the editors of the book Intercultural Communicative Competence Across the Age Range discuss the book’s origins and ideas. Check out the show notes for links to the full episodes as well as useful resources related to intercultural communicative competence.

 

Or listen on iTunes!

_________

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.

Dorie was originally on episode 8 and Manuela was originally on episode 27

Teaching Intercultural Competence Across the Age Range From Theory to Practice Edited by: Manuela Wagner, Dorie Conlon Perugini, Michael Byram

A few more resources on intercultural communicative competence…

… Byram’s excellent book Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC)

an entire issue of The Language Educator was dedicated to ICC in 2015. Manuela Wagner and Michael Byram wrote an article in that issue (as did Stacey Margarita Johnson, by the way)

an introduction to the intercultural dimension of language teaching by Michael Byram

an article by Michael Byram

an alternative take on ICC

We Teach Languages Episode 58: Principles of Outstanding Language Teaching with Steve Smith

In episode 58, Steve Smith discusses principles for language instruction that will help teachers navigate the complexity of the current post-methods era. Between book/blog writing, academic study, and classroom teaching, Steve is a perennial source of useful information for language teachers.

Or listen on iTunes!

_________

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.

Steve Smith was a French teacher for 33 years, and continues to write books, blog, create resources (frenchteacher.net), speak, and train teachers. He is a visiting lecturer for the University of Buckingham, UK, the author of Becoming an Outstanding Languages Teacher (Routledge, 2017), and co-author of The Language Teacher Toolkit (Createspace/Amazon, 2016) along with Gianfranco Conti who was featured in episodes 16 and 17. You can reach out to Steve by email, or on Twitter @spsmith45.

Resources mentioned on the show…

Dylan William on formative assessment

…Doug Lemov’s website and Twitter @Doug_Lemov

12 principles of second language learning from Steve’s blog

Michael Swan’s intensive input/output work

Steve’s web resources about using texts

…Steve also mentioned his co-author Gianfranco Conti whose blog The Language Gym is a terrific, research-based resource, and was featured in a two episodes last year on the podcast.

Episode 16: Making Research More Accessible to Teachers with Gianfranco Conti, Part I  and Episode 17: Gianfranco Conti, Part II

And look at Steve’s blog post about his interview experience!

blurb 58a

We Teach Languages Episode 57: CLIC Resources, TalkAbroad, and Online Teaching with Florencia Henshaw

In episode 57, Stacey interviews Dr. Florencia Henshaw, Director of the Center for Language Instruction and Coordination (CLIC) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Florencia discusses some of the resources CLIC has to offer teachers such as free online webinars, how the virtual exchange tool TalkAbroad is making a difference in Florencia’s program, and some of the ways that concepts from second language acquisition should be applied to online language teaching.

Or listen on iTunes!

_________

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.

Dr. Florencia Henshaw holds a PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education and is a certified Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) tester in Spanish and the author of two Spanish textbooks. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Language Instruction Award within the School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. You can reach out to Florencia by email, or you can like CLIC on Facebook or follow the center on Pinterest.

Resources mentioned on the show…

…CLIC’s bank of classroom observation form 

…the archive of freely available webinars

TalkAbroad

 

 

blurb 57a

We Teach Languages Episode 56: How to Write Comprehensible Texts with Martina Bex

In episode 56, Stacey talks with Martina Bex, whom many listeners might recognize from her blog, the Comprehensible Classroom. Martina tells us about her journey of figuring out what works best for her classroom and outlines how teachers can write comprehensible texts for their students. If you want to create your own level-appropriate written and oral L2 texts in order to bring in culture or current events, this episode will get you started.

Or listen on iTunes!

_________

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 learn more about Martina Bex and the resources she makes available on her website The Comprehensible Classroom, on Facebook, or on Twitter @MartinaBex

Check out this excellent blog post Martina wrote in response to a listener question about this episode!

Martina read from the leveled reader about Brandon wanting a big dog. You can find that book along with others by Fluency Matters here.

Note: At one point in the interview, I refer to talking about culture using “your 10%”. I was referring to the ACTFL guideline of using the target language 90+% of the time during instruction, and how teachers might use that 10% of L1 in class.

blurb 56a

We Teach Languages Episode 55: L2 Writing Instruction and Corrective Feedback with Heather Willis Allen

In episode 55, Stacey learns about designing instruction that promotes L2 writing development from Dr. Heather Willis Allen, associate professor of French at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Heather is an accomplished teacher and researcher, co-author of a 2016 book on multiliteracies along with Kate Paesani and Beatrice Dupuy, and brings a research-informed perspective to topics such as how to provide written corrective feedback and how to scaffold assignments to help students avoid common writing pitfalls.

Or listen on iTunes!

_________

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 learn more about Heather Willis Allen on her faculty page and can access many of her publications here.

You might remember Heather’s co-author Dr. Kate Paesani from Episode 49: Multiliteracies and CARLA Resources for Teachers with Kate Paesani

Some resources mentioned on the show…

…The Foreign Language Annals article Students’ and Instructors’ Perceived Value of Language and Content Curricular Goals by Nicole Mills & Samuel T. Moulton

The Undergraduate Spanish Major Curriculum: Faculty, Alumni, and Student Perceptions by Tammy Jandrey Hertel & Abby Dings

Hiram Maxim’s professional website where you can find quite a few PDFs of publications, including one paper on textual borrowing

 

Just as an aside, here is a resource on student writing that I really enjoyed and that presents another perspective. If you liked this episode, you might also enjoy this post from Senor Fernie: https://senorfernie.wordpress.com/2018/05/10/editing-final-projects-an-exercise-in-giving-up-micromanagement-part-1/

blurb 55a