Award Digital Badges for World Language Proficiency

This is a summary of my ISTE June 2015 poster session  “Award Digital Badges for World  Language Proficiency”

(ACTFL Can-Do Statements)

College Students’ Preferences for Beginning Spanish Class:
Digital Badges – 52%         Paper Certificates – 48%

Digitial Badges

TuttleDigitalBadgesforCanDo
Pro
– Is a waste of paper / will loose paper
– Breaks down proficiency more
– Shows what I can / can’t do; check progress
– Is more attractive
– Is more appropriate since we use Schoology

Paper Certificate
TuttlePaperCertificateNoviceLow
Pro
– Looks more official / credibile
– Is physical /  can touch it
– Is easier for me, limited tech at home
– Have when course / Schoologyfor course ends
– Can easily show to others
– Can post on frig

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, I have 5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities  for beginning students (including 5 Can-Do ones). At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have an ebook. Modern Language Proficiencies-Can-Do with many activities.  At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have an ebook 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and many current culture activities). At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, I have a book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, I have numerous students-as-investigators cultural activities (modern language culture).

Real Language in Modern Class Based on Modern Language Travel

I recently returned from an almost two week trip to Ecuador.  On the second day, I became very aware of communications in Spanish: What?- I asked the breakfast lady what the breakfast foods were; Where? – Where was the nearest bus stop? Do the bus go to a certain location?   How much?- How much is the fare? How much is the juice?  When? – When does the museum open?; Etc.  I also overheard and participated in many conversations about family, work, school, sports, food, etc.

Both the modern language class and the modern language daily life involve communication. How much authentic and purposeful language do modern language students use in the class? How much time do our students spend in learning about the language as opposed to using the language? How prepared are our students for real language interaction, the give and take in the language?  How prepared are our students to quickly switch from one topic to another  as in a normal conversation such as from family to jobs to hobbies to travel? The learning in our modern language classes has to go beyond book learning to realistic language use even at beginning levels.

How much real language interaction takes place in your classroom?

 At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have an ebook 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and many current culture activities).

 Also, at http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, I have 5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities  for beginning students (including 5 Can-Do ones). At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have an ebook. Modern Language Proficiencies-Can-Do.  At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, I have a book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, I have numerous students-as-investigators cultural activities (modern language culture).

Culture Trips- historical or modern day culture

On a recent trip, I met a high school student who had just returned from a  school trip to the target language country. When I told him, I was a Spanish teacher, he showed me his itinerary- three cities with visits to historic and religious buildings. As I heard him describe what he saw and did in the trip, I wondered why it was a Spanish language trip since most of what he saw was  buildings. Yes, the students and teachers spoke in Spanish but their tours were in English. The students learned about these famous buildings and the history behind them. It sounded  like a Social Studies trip.
Another thing that fascinated me was that the students had no contact with native speakers except for the tour guides. They did not have the opportunity to learn about the daily culture of today. The trip only focused on the past as seen in buildings, not the living breathing culture of today.

What type culture trips do you take with your students?

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, I have numerous students-as-investigators cultural activities (modern language culture). At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have an ebook 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and many current culture activities).

 Also, at http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, I have 5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities  for beginning students (including 5 Can-Do ones). At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have an ebook. Modern Language Proficiencies-Can-Do.  At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, I have a book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.

Comprehensible Input’s Impact on World Language Learners

If world language teachers do 70% of the class in the target language, then the students hear the language and the students use the language for 70% of the time. If  those teachers use  comprehensible input through gestures, visuals, etc, then the teachers can increase the class to 90% or 100%  of comprehensible input (ACTFL says teachers should talk 90% in the target language). What impact does changing from 70% to 90% have?

In a comprehensible input based classroom where 90% of the classroom is in the target language, each day students hear  and use 20% more language than in a classroom with 70% language, Each week in less than four total classroom days of 90% input, the students have exceeded the amount of language heard and used  in a 70% classroom. By the end of the week, they will have heard 1.4 days more of the  target language.  Within less than a month of 4 weeks, the 90% comprehensible input teachers will have picked up 1.4 x 4 days or 5.6 days extra.  10 months at 5.6 days = 56 additional days of hearing their world  language.These teachers have actually increased the students learning time without increasing the school year.

Do you increase or decrease your students’ opportunity to hear and use the target language?

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle,  I have 5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities  for beginning students (including 5 Can-Do ones); and numerous students-as-investigators cultural activities(modern language culture).  At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have two ebooks, Modern Language Proficiency: Can-Do Strategies and 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and culture). At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, I have a book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.

Increase World Language Comprehensible Input through Gestures

World language teachers want to immerse their students in the target language. One technique to keep the class in the target language is through gestures that indicate the meaning of a word or sentence. As the teacher introduces a new word, he/she does a gesture to help the students understand the meaning of the world. A good gesture makes the meaning clear to the students and helps students to remember the word  since the gesture visualizes the meaning.  For example, one sign for “separated” as in
“My father and mother are separated” is both hands in fists with the knuckles touching, lift up the thumbs and quickly spread the hands apart ; students understand “separated” instantly.  Likewise, as a teacher tells a story and comes upon a new word, the teacher gestures the meaning of the world.  Additionally, as students talk in the language, they may not remember a world and the teacher can do the gesture to help them remember the word.  Gestures can help clarify grammar such as when the teacher does a flip of the hair to indicate a feminine ending after the student uses an incorrect masculine ending.  Gestures help the class stay in the target language.

The teacher has several options for gestures:
1) Create his/ her own gestures to convey the meaning of words or sentences.
2) Use the gestures from a program such as the  Accelerated Integatived Method (AIM)
3) Use TPR gestures
4) Use ASL (American Sign Language) signs such as from the Signing Savvy webiste.
5) Use sign gestures from the target language country by searching for “sign dictionary online” +country such as this one for Spanish teachers  from Ecuador 

How do you use gestures to help your students have more comprehensible input in the  class?

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle,  I have 5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities  for beginning students (including 5 Can-Do ones); and numerous students-as-investigators cultural activities(modern language culture).  At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have two ebooks, Modern Language Proficiency: Can-Do Strategies and 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and culture). At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, I have a book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.

Real Life Conversations in World Language, Not Textbook Topic Conversations

World language textbooks do not have real life conversation in any meaningful order. For example, in a college textbook the food unit and the question “How much does it cost?” are in the last chapter covered in the semester. Students wait for over four months to learn the foods and how to say “How much does it cost?”  However, if a person actually went to a world language country that person would have to use food vocabulary and the question “How much does it cost?”  on the first day!  A textbook topic such as “the classroom” is not critical to a real life conversation and yet is is often a very early chapter in many tesxtbooks.  Many textbooks use  topics that do not produce real life common language conversation; these textbooks prevent students from being able to have a realistic conversation with someone outside the classroom.

Do your students learn critical vocabulary for real-life conversations or do they learn vocabulary for classroom based conversations?

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle,  I have  5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities (including 5 Can-Do ones) for beginning students; and numerous students-as-investigators cultural activities(modern language culture).  At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have two ebooks, Modern Language Proficiency: Can-Do Strategies and 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and culture).At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, I have a book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.

World Language High Frequency Vocabulary For Student High Use

If world language teachers teach their students high-frequency (or high-use)  words, then the students will be able to communicate sooner and better.  There are lists of  the 100 most common words for any language and teachers can check what vocabulary they teach against this list. They might even look at the bigger 1,000 most common words. If the vocablary does not appear on the list, then probably it is not  worth teaching since the word has such a low level of use. Often thematic units in a textbook present vocabulary that is not high-frequency. For example, students may never use the word “chalk”  or “chalkboard” outside of the classroom but they certain will use words like class vocabulary such as “table” ,  “chair”, and  “wall”.  All of these words are used in many other settings such as “home”, “restaurant”, and  “buildings”.   When world language teachers teach high-frequency words, the students learn words that they would normally use in a conversation.  These high-frequency words are repeated often in normal conversations.

So far in my first Spanish unit, I have covered 35 of the top 100 words. I am replanning my second unit to incoporate more of the top 100 and some of the top 200 words so that my students can communicate in the world language with essential words. I want students to spend their time in learning critical vocabulary.

How high-frequency are the world language vocabulary you teach?

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle,  I have  5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities (including 5 Can-Do ones) for beginning students; and numerous students-as-investigators cultural activities(modern language culture).   At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have two ebooks, Modern Language Proficiency: Can-Do Strategies and 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and culture).At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, I have a book,  Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.