RIFLA 2014

At the beginning of October I attended the RIFLA Fall Conference, which was held in Narragansett, RI. This was a small language conference which gave me the opportunity to speak with some high school teachers about German instruction at the high school level. It was nice for me to learn more about the AP German exam. While we often get students at Yale who have taken the AP exam, their skills vary strongly and I never really knew why that was the case. I had wondered if the teachers were grading the AP exams and so maybe assessment wasn’t completely objective. I learned from the language teachers that the AP exam is very strictly monitored, and that a team of trained teachers grades the tests. It sounded like it was a very fair process and it certainly made me think to value the AP scores more highly.

I also attended an interesting presentation about discussion forums and blogs. Many of the presented ideas were not new to me, but I did like the suggestion that a simple google doc can serve as a discussion forum if one does not have time to create a forum elsewhere. The presenter showed how a chart in a google doc can serve as a template where students can exchange information on any given topic. It seemed like something I could try out, especially because of google docs review function where you can see what changes students made to their own contributions.

It was nice to have an opportunity to connect with language teachers at the High School Level because many of our students come from High School Instruction. Knowing what and how they are taught can certainly help better assess their strengths and can guide my own ideas on how to help them transition to college language instruction.

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