Dancing Bears

I am opposed to assessment of speech – ever. We wait until it happens and then, when it happens, why assess what they say when we can just enjoy it? Why assess when the goal of the class is to teach them the language so that they can profit from knowing it in a million different ways connected to their self-esteem and happiness in life? Because language is beauteous. Or does that count? Have our jobs become about getting the fastest language gains possible to a few of the students or are we teachers? Why judge those innocents so much? Why rank kids against each other? Because that’s what grading is – judging. I say we stop judging them and start lifting them up. How? By looking realistically at how long it takes to get to any degree of authentic speech output even with comprehensible input. They are not dancing bears. They are human beings. And they process language at different speeds. And there is nothing we can do about that, except avoiding making the slower processors feel stupid in languages by the way we test them, or don’t.

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1 thought on “Dancing Bears”

  1. I fully agree with you! My thoughts have been along the same lines for some time. But I believe these kind of thoughts are too revolutionary for our cultures where duty, hard work and the slogan “Time is money” are high values still.
    Only yesterday I talked to my group of students (grade 7) about SSR and learning bc I had got the feeling that my periods sucked and most of them said that SSR was okay but they wanted vocabulary and some regular homework and also a test every now and again. Please bear in mind that they don’t get grades and they seem to need this feeling of achieving sth and the proof in black and white. And I can’t blame them bc this is the way in their other subjects.

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