In addition to two one-on-one interviews, our students record themselves talking in Spanish throughout the year to track their growth.
Below are videos from one of our current 7th graders. Before starting OWL, if I had listened to these videos, I would have noticed the errors in her grammar. I would have focused in on that and worked on perfecting her structure. Which would’t have helped her at all. Now when I listen, I listen for what she is able to do so that I can push her to the next language level.
It’s also important to remember what ACTFL tells me my expectations should be. This students starts as a Novice-Low. That means she is non functional and can only state a few memorized words or memorized phrases in isolation at most! Throughout the year, we hope she will move toward the Novice-Mid level which means she will be listing vocabulary on a variety of topics and begin to recombine some vocabulary and phrases. Novic-Mid speakers do not need to use sentences. A Novice-Mid speaker also only needs to be comprehensible to interlocutors who are accustomed to language learners.
When you listen to her videos, listen to what she can do. It’s also interesting to note if you cannot let yourself get past the errors in her grammar. Why is your ear trained to do that? I’m curious, what do you hear from her? How does that align with the ACTFL guidelines?
These are all impromptu videos. Students are given open ended prompts to target their level and sometimes to probe to the next level (when the level is targeted, the speaker is at ease, but the language tends to fall apart when probed to next level).
This was her first video as a 6th grader after a few weeks of Spanish.
This was her most recent video, two months into 7th grade
If you’re interested in seeing the ones in between, you can see them here:
Here are some more examples of students who have been in our OWL program.
Remember to think about: what CAN they do? What are you hearing for text type and functions? How does their language line up with the proficiency guidelines?