What does proficiency mean in the modern language classroom? Proficiencies are defined either by the state curriculum such as the NYS checkpoint A, B, or C or by the ACTFL proficiency standards / NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements.
Proficiencies do not refer to individual activities such as translating a word from English to the modern language nor doing a verb conjugation. A proficiency is not identifying the forms of a verb. A proficiency is not saying the names of the family members in the modern language from a list of English words. A proficiency is not pronouncing places. The ACTFL Can-Do statements do have a Grammar proficiency section. Grammar is integrated in meaningful ways such as Interpersonal Communication Intermediate High- I can participate with ease and confidence in conversations on familiar topics..in various time frames.”
Proficiency refer to the student’s ability to communicate such as speaking at the Interpersonal Communication Novice Mid level – “I can communicate basic information about myself and the people I know” as the student says “something about the members of my family and ask about someone’s family”. When students demonstrate this communication, they have shown a specific speaking proficiency. With the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements, students can see their achievements as they accomplish more proficiencies. Since the Can-Do statements divide up the big level of Novice into three subcategories and each subcategory has numerous proficiencies, students can see progress as they go from Novice Low to Novice Mid to Novice High.
For our students to be proficient in the modern language, we will want to quickly move them from the low subskills of vocabulary and grammar to the proficiencies of language for communication. The more we have them use the modern language for real life purposes, the more proficient they become.
What do you mean by proficiency?
By early May, my book, tentatively titled, Modern Language Proficiency: Can-Do Strategies will be published at Smashwords. It contains many strategies for developing Can-Do proficiencies for speaking, listening, reading and writing;it also has sections on vocabulary, textbook and mobile; the major emphasis is on speaking. Each strategy contains a Can-Do statement and a sample activity.
To help your beginning and more advanced students move toward spontaneous speaking which students need as they climb the Can-Do statements. I have developed 5 Visual activities/games for any modern language (no words) and have developed 28 Spanish activities for students. I am developing activities based on the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements. Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle
My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.You can instantly use these many communication and cultural activities in your classroom with even beginning students when only half the class has mobile devices. It can be downloaded as a pdf.
My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at http://bit.ly/tuttlebks