Our project offers strategies and materials for the beginning Spanish classroom to increase oral proficiency of students through an emphasis on individual and small-group interviews with the teacher, which will be an integral part to every classroom test. These interviews will be referred to also as “One-On-One orals,” “OOOs,” or simply “encounters,” inspired by the oral proficiency interviews (OPIs) first developed in the 1980s to measure speaker competence in a second language--as per the proficiency guidelines of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). (Our project’s classroom materials begin on page 5.)
As we know today, the speaking competencies that the OPIs strive for and measure have shaped much of the evolution of our classroom teaching. Now, with this project, the goal is to use test-day interviews that parallel the OPI as a way to further develop speaking abilities and consolidate grammatical concepts and vocabulary.
The interviews can be as simple as having students communicate prepared/practiced material in Spanish to the instructor face to face--while the rest of the class is completing written portions of the exam. Our project will details sample interviews to help teachers imagine what they themselves might try (see page 5). We also provide some suggestions for technology use and share an activity that is outside the scope of the testing interview but can be a fun way to encourage classroom speaking (pages 12-15).
Akers, John C.; Calvert, Casey; and Davis, Kalle, "Oral Interviews for Testing in the High-School Spanish Classroom" (2014). Arthur Vining Davis High Impact Fellows Projects. 28.