ACTFL Take-Away #1 & #2
In the midst of selling a house and buying another somehow I actually made it to ACTFL this year! Here are my top 10 take-aways from this years annual conference, starting with Take-Away #1: Adapt the text & #2 You can't assess proficiency if you're not using #authres.
#1. Adapt the Text
Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell from Musicuentos gave a great presentation called "Adapt the task, NOT THE TEXT". Find her slides and more information here. If you've never heard that saying before it comes from the idea that we should be able to use authentic resources for all levels in our classrooms, and we should do just as it is stated, adapt what we're asking our students to do (the task) and we should NOT alter the resource (the text). When you alter the text it becomes "not 100% authentic". However, this is exactly what Sara suggested that we do: ALTER THE TEXT to fit our needs, make it easier to read, and to make it more comprehensible.
I LOVED this session not only because Sara is going against the grain a little on this one but because I felt it was the first session that ACTFL Core Practices and "CI" were really being talked about at the same time. She brought up the elephant in the room (at least for me) and really helped me process why there are two very differing opinions when it comes to Core Practices/Authentic Resources/CI. That's a blog for another time but for now I agree with Sara: adapt the text. Use authentic resources in your classroom and adapt them as needed. Adapt them to make them prettier (formatting, bolding, highlighting, etc). Adapt them when there are errors. Adapt the length! Adapt for new vocabulary. Adapting the text might actually make it a much richer, more valuable resource for you and your students.
#2. You can't assess proficiency if you're not using #authres
This take-away also comes from Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell. I'm not sure I'm going to do this one justice but it is something that really resonated with me last weekend that I want to further understand. Sara gave this example during her session: "The nightly news is authentic text but I don't sit my 8 year old down in front of it."
Using #authres is NOT A HARD AND FAST RULE...going back to Take-Away #1, adapt it as needed HOWEVER...
"YOU CAN NOT ASSESS PROFICIENCY IF IT IS NOT AUTHENTIC."
"A resource has to be AUTHENTIC to assess proficiency. It has to be COMPREHENSIBLE to build proficiency. BOTH = WIN, WIN."
We MUST be incorporating Authentic Resources into our classrooms, curricula and program-wide scope and sequencing. In order to assess proficiency we need to use resources that expose our students to un-comprehensible vocabulary that forces them to use their context clues, discover key words and build their inferencing skills. Authentic Resources do NOT have to be boring or un-comprehensible. Authentic absolutely 100% positively can be compelling, comprehensible and comprehended!
Hasta la próxima,