or “describe an image and explain how it
associates with the unit of study.”
Guided projects are also great exercises.
Allowing students to choose their owntopics for research projects and presentations provides them with opportunitiesto take ownership of what they are doing.
These are just a few examples of assessmentpossibilities that put the power of learning in the hands of the learner. Remember:Assessments should inspire students tocontinue practicing the target language, andas teachers we should always remind ourstudents that “trying to do things they can’tyet do, failing, and learning what they needto do differently is exactly the way expertspractice” (Duckworth, 2016, p. 138).
Modeling Values in the
In addition to wise assessments, establishing, explaining, and consistently modelingclassroom values reinforces positive attitudestoward learning. When students understandand assimilate classroom values that priori-tize improvement above all else, they feelempowered to direct their energies towardcompetency and content mastery.
Classroom values should be unique to
each teacher in a way that reflects the needs
of the school, the course, and the students—
which could all vary depending on the
educational context. Here’s an example of
some basic classroom values:
These can be posted in the classroom, on
the syllabus, on the course website or learn-
ing management system, or all of the above.
Make sure to review and discuss these aspart of the course orientation on Day One,and then refer to them often.
Teachers can also have students self-evaluate according to the values. How are youlearning from the mistakes you are making?
What is your effort like? What’s one valueyou could improve upon and how? This provides students with another opportunity totake ownership of their learning by reflecting on values that foster improvement ratherthan strictly performance.
Developing a growth mindset is arguablythe most valuable skill a student can takeaway from school, and the world languageclassroom is an ideal setting in which to develop this. Language teachers who employ aprocess-oriented approach aimed at improving linguistic proficiency have already laidthe framework to instill this mindset in theirstudents. From there, it takes only some careful coaching to help students see how steady,intentional practice yields growth over time.
Once in this frame of mind, students aremore likely to play a more central role intheir own learning. They begin to set reasonable goals and chart a pathway to achievethem. Assessing learning must be done judiciously so as not to cement a fixed mindsetbut instead promote steady improvementthat students themselves can track.
Finally, we must share and review essential course values so that our processesremain front and center in the minds ofour students.
Grant Gearhart is Associate Professor of Spanishat Georgia Southern University in Savannah, GA.
• Mistakes because theare necessar steps in thelearning process.
• Effort because it is the engineof impro ement.
• Participation because Omatter and together e learnbetter.
• Deliberate practice becausethe right actions performedconsistentl lead to lastingimpro ement.
• Positive attitudes because
ithout the right mindset e
can’t get an here.
TOGETHER WE CREATE
A LANGUAGE LEARNING
LABORATORY EVERY DAY
Brock, A., & Hundley, H. (2016). The growthmindset coach: A teacher›s month-by-monthhandbook for empowering students toachieve. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The powerof passion and perseverance (Vol. 234).
New York, NY: Scribner.
Dweck, C. S. (2016). Mindset: The newpsychology of success. New York:Ballantine Books.
Moeller, A. J., Theiler, J. M., & and Wu, C.
(2012). Goal setting and student achievement: A longitudinal study. The ModernLanguage Journal, 96( 2), 153-169.