Let me ask you a question:  If you signed up for a class on riding a unicycle and at the end of the class I had taught you all the parts and mechanisms of a unicycle but not how to ride it, would you be upset?  Would you feel like I missed the point of teaching the class?  You betcha. Huh? You want to RIDE the want to be proficient in riding a unicycle.

Let's then talk about proficiency.  Proficiency is being able to communicate in Spanish, "riding the unicycle".  Your mission in this class is to improve your ability to communicate.  Here is what proficiency looks like in each level:

Spanish 1:  You move from knowing nothing to being able to communicate in phrases and sentences on many different topics.

Spanish 2:  You are now able to use more complex sentences, strings of sentences with using a few of the major tenses:  the present and the two past tenses.

Spanish 3:  You are communicating in strings of sentences and sometimes paragraphs.  You are able to create your own sentences.  You are also able to use the major time frames (present, past, future, subjunctive) with some success. You begin to expand on what you are saying.

Spanish 4:  You are able to communicate at length and with accuracy.  You have a large breadth of vocabulary. Your speed and precision increases.


But what is communication?  There are 3 modes of communication:

Interpretive - can I get the gist and some details of an authentic source?  For example, if you are listening to an Hispanic radio station, can you get the gist and some possible details of what is being said?  Or, if you are reading La Jornada newspaper, can you understand the main ideas of the articles?

Interpersonal - can I have a spontaneous conversation with someone in Spanish?  Can I ask and answer questions?  

Presentational -  can I present information orally or written by using connected sentences with details?  

ACTFL scale

The Arizona Standards for World Language are aligned with the American Council on the Teaching of a Foreign Language (ACTFL).  There is a focus on proficiency vs performance.  It takes a moment to wrap our minds around the definitions of these because we think of performance as being able to communicate, right?  But actually, what do you do for a performance?  Yes, you practice and memorize.  ACTFL places emphasis on proficiency, that is what you can DO with the language.  This is what stays with you for a long time, not what has been memorized.

To help you achieve proficiency, I am constantly researching the best methods for sharpening our skills.  We will do all kinds of different activities.  Also, there is a NO INGLES policy in our class, but you will be rewarded for that (stay tuned!).  My previous students will tell you that it is so much more meaningful to be able to spontaneously communicate in the language as opposed to being the best verb conjugator in the world!

For additional information, see this site:  Proficiency guidelines

For student feedback about proficiency vs performance, listen to Logan:

I will be your cheerleader and support you as you climb that ladder to Spanish stardom.  I am so happy to have you in my class this year!!