An American [Language Teacher] in Madrid

It’s a good idea to have a “fluent” speaker accompany you on a trip. Of the ~56 hours of input I received in Madrid, about half of them were comprehensible, but about half of those were only comprehensible because they were made comprehensible to me by my Spanish-speaking wife.


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Grade [Spin]Doctors: Playing by our School’s Rules

A colleague (let’s just say that there are some who call him……Tim?) asked about using my Grading & Assessment materials and how to make them work for him. I’ve written about a complete overhaul, as well as what to do when you have certain grading categories imposed, but Tim’s situation was different. He was prepared to go full-MagisterP-Grading of only Proficiency and DEA, but had a grading weight scheme imposed upon him of 70/30 (i.e. 70% Summative, and 30% Formative). I won’t discuss how arbitrary these numbers are, or even use the word asinine to criticize such a policy (especially when it comes to language acquisition), but it is what it is for Tim. Let’s look at an option I presented to him…

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A New Grading System: The last one you’ll ever need (once you’re ready)

**Updated Expectations Rubric**

This grading system is the result of my experience combining common weighted grading categories (e.g. Homework, Unit Tests, Quizzes, etc.) with Standards Based Grading (SBG), and a Classroom Management (adaptation of Robert Patrick’s D.E.A.). Despite overall positive outcomes, the combination had its drawbacks. Besides, the longer I teach, 1) the less explicit instruction I give, and 2) the more streamlined/simple my practices become. From what I’ve learned from veteran teachers, this is a normal progression for a teacher, but I seem to have skipped about 10 years of trial and error. This new grading system is extremely easy to use as a teacher and extremely clear to understand as a student.

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