As I always write (but add again because if you haven’t seen it- you need it in your life!), my life changed when I found out about Rebecca’s Interpersonal Bootcamp! I had always dreaded doing speaking assessments- they seemed stilted and forced and time consuming! I would either have to dedicate time to talking to each student individually or listening to a TON of recordings and grade them. However, after interpersonal bootcamp even my level 2 students were starting to have a conversation that they might even have in real life! And although my classes are smaller (the largest was 19 students), I was able to assess a whole class within our 50 minute class period! I could also take notes while they spoke, so I would have enough to fill out a rubric after class without having to listen to a lot of recordings.
This year, I started with level one, and I was unsure of how to get my level one students to where they could do an interpersonal bootcamp. They cannot ask questions yet according to proficiency scales. It would also be difficult for them to add on thoughts to another student or even ask a follow-up questions. I was worried that small group tasks would involve them repeating other answers that they heard since they also are unable to form unique sentences. I was happy to have Wendy help me set it up initially. In my first trimester, I would ask my students questions one on one. It didn’t take too long because I would only ask about four questions per student. They also could only elaborate so much. I was also able to have a few options, so I wasn’t asking the same questions to all students. As the trimester progressed, I also added some follow-up questions. I rated them individually on their response to each question. My rubric went like this:
- 0- did not respond
- 1- responded, but responded inaccurately
- 2- responded correctly with one word
- 3- responded correctly using multiple words/a complete sentence
- 4- responded correctly and added more details by either asking me the same question (¿y tú?) or by elaborating on their responses. (Also as I added on follow-up questions, I would give them a 4 if they could also answer 1-2 follow-up questions correctly.)
In the next step after one-on-one interviews, I provided a list of questions for students to ask each other in small groups. They have enough questions available that they can answer different questions and not repeat others’ responses. I did this for their trimester exam speaking section. They can add questions if they are able, but for the most part, they will ask the questions that are provided. At this point, I moved to this rubric:
- I have trouble interpreting the majority of the questions, and my responses are difficult for my teacher and peers to understand.
- I interpret half of the questions, and my responses can be difficult for my teachers and peers to understand.
- Typically my responses are easy to understand by my teacher and peers, and I demonstrate comprehension of the question. However, a few of my responses do not match the question or cannot be understood by my teacher or peers.
- All of my responses are easy to understand by my teacher and peers, and I demonstrate comprehension of all of the questions.
- I use an extremely limited amount of vocabulary in my responses.
- I am using repetitive vocabulary throughout my responses.
- I am starting to expand on my use of vocabulary with only occasional repetition.
- I am able to incorporate much of the vocabulary that we have learned from this year so far into a variety of responses.
- I only respond in brief responses when students directly ask me.
- I am starting to respond in complete thoughts, but I do not ask any questions.
- I give adequate responses and take initiative to respond, but my questions have been asked by other students.
- I give strong responses to other classmates, and I ask new questions that have not been asked before.
Level of Discourse:
- I give one to two word answers to all responses.
- I give one or two word answers half of the time, but I answer in complete thoughts the other half of the conversation.
- I mostly answer in complete sentences throughout the conversation.
- I always answer in complete sentences during the conversation.
In the third trimester, I will have students add their own questions with only 1-2 guiding questions from me. This will allow students to be prepared to run an interpersonal bootcamp independently by level 2. Ideally, I would only grade my students on these topics in level 1, but I also have to be realistic for the rest of my department. They highlight grammar a bit more than I do, so I will add a language control feature in the third trimester. In my ideal world, I would add it in at the beginning of level 2 or level 3! How do you scaffold interpersonal communication for level 1? I am always excited to hear others’ ideas on this!