...consider the assessment criteria for the next language phase
As MYP language teachers, everything we do in class must support the three areas of communication: oral, visual and written. We must help students understand what is expected of them and provide them with tasks that reflect the expectations in the four MYP assessment criteria.
I recommend starting with writing to help them gain the confidence to speak about topics discussed in class. Also, talk to them in Spanish about everything! The more you speak to them in Spanish, the more comfortable they become as they develop their listening skills. Have them read to develop their comprehension skills and vocabulary. Ask them comprehension questions in their mother language to help them express their understanding when their Spanish skills are still developing.
When designing any assessment, in addition to using the four assessment criteria, consider the criteria for the next language phase to help determine the next step. Not everyone will achieve at the highest levels, but tasks should be developed in such a way that even your most proficient students are challenged to show what they understand.
For Criteria A and B, provide open-ended questions for strand iii. For writing tasks, suggest additional information that could be included, enabling students to go beyond the fundamental requirements if they are able.
For interactive oral tasks, encourage your students to elaborate on their responses by avoiding yes/no questions. Ask them more challenging questions based on their responses to previous questions. If the questions prove too challenging, help them regain their confidence by asking a question more suitable for their level of language acquisition.
If we provide our students with a foundation from which they can grow their language skills, we will instil in them the confidence they need to become confident communicators.
Maureen Hunt is a Head of World Languages with more than 20 years' teaching experience. She has consulted on the MYP Language Acquisition curriculum and assessments, as well as the pilot ePortfolio. Maureen conducts workshops for MYP and DP teachers.