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Surviving (and Thriving) in a “Perfect Storm” Environment Ray T. Clifford 22 February 2007 The Perfect Storm Too little time. Limited funding. Not enough qualified teachers. Rising expectations. Some Recent Headlines Court Creates Demand for Translators
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Ray T. Clifford
22 February 2007
[With language “text type” highlighted in red]
All expected of an educated NS [Books]
Accepted as an educated NS
Tailor language, counsel, motivate, persuade, negotiate [Chapters]
Wide range of professional needs
Extensive, precise, and appropriate
Errors never interfere with communication & rarely disturb
Support opinions, hypothesize, explain, deal with unfamiliar topics [Multiple pages]
Practical, abstract, special interests
Concrete, real-world, factual
Intelligible even if not used to dealing with non-NS
Narrate, describe, give directions [Multiple paragraphs]
Q & A, create with the language [Multiple sentences]
Intelligible with effort or practice
Memorized [Words and Phrases]
It is good [for students] to become acquainted with languages, for they may have to go abroad, and should be able to talk to people, and not look like fools. I care not how much intelligence you have, if you cannot exhibit it, you look like an ignoramus.
John Taylor, 1852
“Americans’ incompetence in Foreign Languages is nothing short of scandalous, and it is becoming worse.”
Defense – 8.7%
Education – 24.4%
(Even if you could, how could you prove you’ve done it?)
Peter T. Ewell , Council for Higher Education Accreditation, September 2001
School score = (((((X23*100)*Y23) + ((X24*100)*Y24) + ((X25*100)*Y25) + ((X26*100)*Y26) + ((X27*100)*Y27) + ((X28*100)*Y28) + ((X29*100)*Y29) + ((X30*100)*Y30) / ((X23 + X24 + X25 + X26 + X27 + X28 +X29 + X30)*100)) + ((((Z23*100)*Y23) + ((Z24*100)*Y24) + ((Z25*100)*Y25) + ((Z26*100)*Y26) + ((Z27*100)*Y27) + ((Z28*100)*Y28) + ((Z29*100)*Y29) + ((Z30*100)*Y30)) /((Z23 + Z24 + Z25 + Z26 + Z27 + Z28 + Z29 + Z30)) / ((Z23 + Z 24 + Z25 + Z26 + Z27 + Z28 + Z29 + Z30)*100))) / 2
The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2001, page A24
(For students, nothing defines course objectives like a test.)
THE NATIONAL INTEREST AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES
Eight- and ten-year sequences of foreign language study will become common in the public schools.
The better colleges and universities will require demonstrated proficiency (not high school “units”) in a foreign language for entrance, and demonstrated proficiency in a second foreign language (often non-Western) for graduation.
WILLIAM RILEY PARKER for
THE U.S. NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR UNESCO, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 1961.
Aligning testing programs with our testing purposes requires knowing what makes proficiency tests different fromperformance testsand achievement tests.
Task: A wide range of abilities Specific Job Skills
Context: Broad, in-depth, variable Focused, restricted
Accuracy: Ascending expectations Situation dependent
then William Riley Parker’s vision of second language programs in the U.S. might yet become a reality!