With the new teacher observation system, modern language teachers have to be able to show student gain from a pre-test to a post-test (student learning outcomes or SLOs) Although many teachers have opted to use a grammar point such as the future tense as their performance measure, I would suggest that having a speaking goal is much more impressive.
For example, a teacher could state that as a result of studying the vocabulary and grammar of the school unit, students will be able to say ten sentences about school. For a pre-test students talk to their partner who records the number of sentences said about school at the beginning of the unit. Most students will say no sentences or they may be able to make up one or two. The teacher collects these partner sheets and transfers them to her official sheet or puts them directly into a spreadsheet.
After studying the unit, the students can easily say ten random sentences to explain what they do in the class such as “I study. I do my homework. I work alot. I write. I have three pens. I work with a classmate. I talk in Spanish. I look at pictures. My Spanish book is big. My teacher teaches.” Again, they can tell these sentences to their partner who counts the sentences and records the number. The teacher collects these partner sheets and records them on her official sheet to show the dramatic increase in sentences said.
She puts the numbers in a spreadsheet to get both individual and class achievement. She produces a chart that shows the very low scores in the beginning speaking and the very high speaking scores at the end.
Administrators who see the results will be doubly satisfied. Not only has the teacher shown improvement in his/ her students’ academic growth but he/she has had them speak which is what many administrators see as the main goal of modern language study. They see this as a worthwhile performance goal.
How will you show student growth in your modern language class?
My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (29+) includes Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Speaking Mats ( Student can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas in pairs or small group), Modified Speed Dating (Students ask their partners one question from a card-whole class), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawings from 2-4 people), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle.
At the same site, I have a series of modern language visual stories with no words (the beach, the city, school, etc.) for two students to role play; the restaurant role play involves four students. These can be used in any language since there are just visuals, no words.
My book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and my book, Formative Assessment, Responding to Students, are available at http://is.gd/tbook