ODE Around the State, Fall 2013

ODE World Languages TeamRyan Wertz, Paula Sondej and Kathy Shelton, ODE World Language Consultants 

The ODE Welcomes Its Newest K-12 Language Consultant

To start off our article, we would like to share some great news. On August 12th, Kathy DiPofi Shelton joined the Ohio Department of Education as our state’s newest full time world language consultant. For the first time ever, the ODE Office of Curriculum and Assessment has a complement of two full-time consultants and one part-time consultant working on behalf of K-12 world language teachers and learners in Ohio.

Prior to her arrival at the ODE, Kathy was a French teacher for 25 years. She began her career as a graduate teaching assistant at The Ohio State University. After two years in this role, she left the university setting to teach French in private and online schools. Most recently she taught French in the Westerville and Bexley City School Districts in Central Ohio. In addition to a Master’s Degree in French, Kathy also has her TESOL certification. As a regular presenter at OFLA conferences, Kathy has focused on helping teachers establish a web presence and integrate technology into their curricula. Recently, she served on the ODE Model Curriculum Development Committee, and she has been leading OFLA-sponsored Proficiency/IPA workshops. She shared with us that she has a great appreciation for the knowledge and enthusiasm demonstrated by her colleagues around the state.

Kathy Shelton ODEIn her new position at ODE, Kathy has jumped in head first and is already busy helping facilitate the implementation of the new learning standards and the new teacher evaluation system and assisting with the development of the new Model Curriculum tool. Kathy promises to be a staunch supporter of extended sequences of language learning from the early grades right through to the post-secondary level, and she is very excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with so many dedicated teachers throughout Ohio.

Ryan and Paula are thrilled to welcome Kathy onto the ODE’s world language team. Her appointment as Ohio newest world languages consultant is good news for us all!

Model Curriculum Development Committee Works Hard Over the Summer!

The Ohio Department of Education would like to thank the following Ohio world language educators who worked diligently during the end of last school year and throughout the summer on three tasks: 1.) the collection and filtering of authentic instructional resources that support our new learning standards, 2.) the development of a comprehensive list of instructional strategies that support our new standards specifically and best practices in proficiency-based, communicative language learning in general, and 3.) the elaboration of thematic samples in many languages and across many levels which will show K-12 language educators how to draw from the standards and model curriculum resources to build units of study. Two formal meetings were held on May 11th and June 27th in Columbus to calibrate the committee members’ work and engage in some peer review and assistance with each other’s contributions. Here are the members of the committee who represent a diverse cross-section of languages, levels and teaching situations. They deserve our collective appreciation for their efforts and for the time they gave up from their summer vacations to work for the collective betterment of us all.

  • MC Committee - 1MC Committee - 3MC COmmittee - 4Lee Link Bishop
  • Melissa Burgess
  • Nancy Butterman
  • Robin Boling
  • Gary Dibianca
  • Parthena Draggett
  • Bryan Drost
  • Tricia Fellinger
  • Fadia Hamid
  • Amanda (Chiwei) Lin
  • Gabriela Linik
  • Debbie McCorkle
  • Michelle Mize
  • Kelly Modlich
  • Kathy Shelton
  • Laura Skidmore
  • Lori Winne
  • Ping Wu

Ready, Set, Go! World Language Teachers Forge Ahead with SLOs and IPAs

For many world language educators, this fall marks the full implementation of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) to establish growth targets for their students.  The new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) requires 50 percent of teachers’ evaluations to be based on their students making adequate growth during a given interval of instruction.  For world language teachers this growth is measured by their students’ overall growth across interpretive reading/listening/viewing, interpersonal communication, and presentational writing/speaking/signing.

Given that multiple measures must be used to determine growth, ODE recommends using the Linguafolio “I Can” statements, portfolios of student work samples and Integrated Performance Assessments (IPAs) in combination to assess each learners’ overall proficiency at the beginning, midpoint and end of the year.  To help teachers become familiar with this new process of assessments, ODE and OFLA have been partnering to provide workshops across the state for world language educators.  Beginning last fall with workshops unpacking  Ohio’s New Learning Standards for K-12 World Languages, progressing into the spring with workshops on how to write SLOs aligned with the standards, and culminating in workshops this summer and fall on teaching and assessing using proficiency based IPAs, the ODE and OFLA have worked together to ease the transition for teachers.

Several important factors are involved in writing an IPA that truly tests proficiency.  First, the sources that are used for the interpretive tasks must be “authentic” resources, i.e., source that are written by native speakers for native speakers and which have not been modified for learners of the language. Secondly, the tasks of the IPA must be integrated using a common theme.  This means that the interpretive task should segue logically into the interpersonal task, which should then segue easily into the presentational task.  Lastly, to truly test proficiency (and not performance), the tasks for the students must be spontaneous and unrehearsed. The tasks can relate to themes that have been studied in the course, but the actual tasks should be not have been previously seen nor practiced. The students’ ability to communicate in an appropriate manner in such a situation will demonstrate their level of proficiency.

This method of teaching and assessing proficiency may constitute a paradigm shift for many teachers.  Whereas vocabulary and grammar are still an integral part of learning a language, they are no longer the end goal.  Instead, they are tools that will help support the overall goal of true communicative proficiency in the language. Our new learning standards speak to this, with the main emphasis being placed on communicating in culturally appropriate ways. Indeed, most students choose a language because they want to be able to communicate with speakers of that language either here or abroad.  A native speaker would never ask a student to conjugate the verb “to want” in six different tenses, but they would expect the student to use the verb appropriately in a request. When teachers keep this end goal of communicative proficiency as the core of their teaching and assessment, it affects every aspect of student learning.  From lesson planning to instructional strategies to methods and assessment, communication becomes embedded into the culture of the classroom.  Students become more enthused and interested because they see the possibilities of using the language in real-world situations.

The world languages content area has been at the forefront of establishing reliable methods of assessing proficiency for quite some time.  Since we don’t have a state-mandated test to administer, we have had the opportunity to consider the most cutting-edge, research-based strategies and tools and develop our recommendations around them.

Teachers are strongly encouraged to become part of the SLO teams in their buildings or districts.  World language learning is often misunderstood by those who are unfamiliar with our content area or those who last experienced language learning under a prior paradigm of teaching and learning. By becoming members of their local committees, world language teachers can ensure that they have the ability to measure student growth using LinguaFolio in combination with appropriate pre-, mid- and post-assessments.

In closing, we at ODE would like to thank ALL of the language educators around the state who have been assisting the profession by leading workshops, contributing information and resources to the OFLA’s SLO Weebly Website, asking insightful questions and sharing their experiences around the implementations of SLOs and Student Growth Measures (SGMs). This has been a challenging time for many, but the level of collaboration and sharing that we have been observing is truly inspirational. As a result, positive change is happening at the K-12 level all around the state, and ultimately our learners are going to become even more proficient over the long run as a result. The only thing left to say is….“KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!”

This entry was posted in Advocacy, Around the State, Vol. 52, No. 1 - Fall 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

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