Last year I had one of those ideas that was a game changer for me. I completely abandoned any type of testing a few years ago, but I was still trying to control an awful lot of my assessments. But student choice was working so well in other areas that I decided to extend it to the final exam – and it was a huge success. For more information about allowing students almost complete choice in their final exam, see here.
As part of their project, my requirement is that students include some type of interpersonal communication – some conversation or email or something in which they’re expecting and using a response. This year, CF wrote to the police department in Mexico City about street art and they sent her the goals and objectives of their initiative to direct youth to more positive artistic and cultural expression instead of vandalistic, illegal graffiti. HO emailed the bloggers at Spanglish Baby asking her thoughts about Pocoyo and got a response (thanks chicas!) that she quoted in her project. CT polled Yahoo! Answers (Mexico) users on what they thought were similarities and differences between the quinceañera and “sweet sixteen” traditions and got several replies. These replies don’t always come, and I don’t penalize students for that -at least they tried- but when they do it’s amazing what it means to the student!
More examples from this year: GE posted a poll on Vogue.es’s style forum to see who preferred which style and which trends from Oscar de la Renta’s spring collection. RP wrote to a Zumba instructor in Madrid. JM posted on the NFL’s Spanish-language forums to find out more about Hispanic heritage month in the NFL.
See the common theme? No? It’s just this: students using language on purpose for their purpose. This is intrinsic motivation blossoming.
Foto: Carlos Carreter