In an early post on this blog I talked about making assessments based on what students “can do” with language. This year, as we redo our Intermediate Arabic curriculum, we also decided to have no tests. In some ways, this is just a change in terminology, as we have a week of Can-Do Assessments at the end of each unit, in which we repurpose some of our old test materials. In other ways, it is new, as even the materials we repurpose (such as a description of a celebration for students to read, describe to their partner, and then choose which student’s celebration they will attend) are very different from the traditional language tests I took as an Arabic student, and gave my students in the early days of my career. These usually had a vocabulary section (such as a cloze test), some grammar drills (e.g. fill in the correct verb form), and a skill section (reading or listening plus comprehension questions or a writing prompt).
In my last post, I reflected upon the second week, and plans for week 3. As I’m posting every other week, the class is going faster than my blog, so this post will cover a week 3 recap, plans for week 4, the week 4 recap, planning week 5, a week 5 recap, and planning week 6. Almost the end of the semester!
As I mentioned last week, the current stage of our curriculum development is creating our own curriculum and materials. Given time constraints (a constant in teaching!) we are focusing on doing this only in our second year class in the upcoming academic year, and making only minor modifications to the other classes. With the permission of my colleagues (and yes, they read this blog) I’m going to try to document this process here as we go. يالله بنا!