Speaking has been very difficult for many of the online students. Maybe they didn’t expect to have to speak so much in an online class? But when I talk with them about gaining proficiency in speaking, they tend to express some of the same fears.
- They are afraid of making mistakes.
- They are afraid of not understanding someone and knowing how to reply.
- They feel comfortable with the written practices, but when speaking, they don’t know how to apply what they’ve learned.
Here are some conversations I’ve had with my students about speaking.
In our messenger system:
student: I cant understand and it is embarrassing i try to do the work and i cant speak or coprehend the majority of what is going on i will try to find someone to help me. and i apologize
Josie Wilkins: How much talking did you do in your last Spanish class? I know it’s hard to actually speak, especially in front of peers. But it’s a necessary part of learning a language and at least in VHS, you’re not talking in front of a class of students watching you. smile How about you call me and we practice conversation a bit? That might give you some confidence for next week’s sessions.
Right now, your grade for your oral is 7. Please look back at the rubric and reread what criteria determines a rating of 7. Look at what is required for a higher rating and, after some practice, let’s see if you can score higher next week.
*Note: the following week, this student was much more prepared to speak and was giving good, extended responses.
I have an assignment for them in which they have to read the rubric for oral proficiency and answer questions about it. here are the questions and the responses from two different students, one in Spanish II and one in Spanish III.
- How would you rate your oral proficiency right now? Maybe a 7.I would give myself an 8
- Do you feel like you know what you’re doing in Spanish? Yes, I do feel as if I know what I am doing, but, I do have moments where its very confusing.No not at all I can read it and figure out what it means by looking for words I am familliar with and i can hear it pretty well but when it comes to me writing it I have no confidence and when speaking I have verry little confidence
- Do you try to take risks in the language, using words that are new or unfamiliar?I am a little nervous about train wrecking sentences so, normally I don’t unless I have had prior practice with it.No i try to stick with what i know but as I learn new words I will try to use them
- The average student would be classified as “developing”. What are the differences between a developing student and an advanced student? The sentences are more elaborated and detailed. They take more risks by applying unfamiliar terms and structure with the knowledge of its meaning. a developing student is one who is trying to grasp the content of the subject while an advanced student has complete confidence and understand the material
I think the response from the student in orange sums up our goal very well. She said that an advanced student has confidence and understands the material. Our goal is to build their confidence in speaking. Their confidence depends on how well they feel they understand the material.