What are your thoughts on the proposed changes to the lower levels? (Remember that you can find all of the documents related to this hereCurriculum Continuum Proposal Discussion.)

The general idea of the proposal is that we assess more in Basic, teach more material in Low, and use Intermediate as more of a review level in preparation for High and Advanced.

I (Micah) know that some people have already expressed their thoughts either to me in private or at the pre-service meeting to everyone. If I recall correctly, the following points were brought up:

  • The changes would make things easier for teachers in High and Advanced.
  • Past tense might be difficult to introduce in Basic, but it has already been introduced to some extent in Low (although the proposal does call for teaching more past tense in Low.)
  • Generally, people seemed to agree that the proposal would make the difficulty progression of our program more even for our students.

Overall, I feel that the feedback has been quite positive, but it would be good if all of the instructor could share their thoughts so that we can reach a consensus. If anyone has questions or concerns, this is the time and place to share them! Since I have been working on the curriculum assessment proposal for quite some time, I look forward to hearing all of your thoughts on this!

(Also, please remember that we need to conclude the discussion of the proposal by Oct. 26.)

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5 Comments

  1. It would definitely be easier to have students arriving in High with a better grasp of the verb tenses in general and of simple past in particular. Of course this would increase the burden of instruction on the lower levels. The question is whether we can place an increased emphasis on verb tenses without other skills receiving less instruction, which would mean the students would be less prepared in that area.

  2. I understand that the proposed changes could make things easier for those who teach in the higher levels (though I am not sure we could guarantee that).  And, while I can see how the proposed sequence of topics would appear to "even things out", I am not convinced that that should be a goal as the needs of beginning MAP students and those at the other end of the program vary so widely.   So many Basic students arrive overwhelmed and in need of so many skills beyond grammar.  Those of you not accustomed to working with these kids may not be aware of just *how long* it takes to teach and reinforce pretty much everything in Basic.  My big concern would be that pushing  more of the grammar down to the lower levels might crowd out other important skills, particularly speaking  and reading/writing. 

    Having said that, I can see where certain suggestions would be easy to incorporate.  The past of be comes up naturally in Basic and would be easy to make an official part of grammar instruction.  I am not as experienced as some of you in teaching Low but I do always spend time on regular/irregular past tense verbs and some modals so neither of these seem like a stretch.

    I would like to thank Micah for taking the time to examine the lower levels in such depth.  Having worked with these students for so long, it's nice to get a different perspective and a big picture. 

    1. Micah Park AUTHOR

      I think you bring up some good points, Melisa. There is already plenty to teach in Basic, as you have pointed out. The proposal, however, isn't talking about moving material into Basic so much as making the promotion tests for students who want to move into Low better. For example, the COGS call for teaching time expressions in Basic, but we aren't really assessing students' knowledge of those terms well at this time. The main change for Basic would be assessing more of what is already being taught in Basic.

      This is in contrast to the proposed changes to Low, which include teaching some concepts earlier. Others may have a different perspective, but in my experience, Low is not nearly as hectic as Intermediate, so we may be able to teach more past tense and such in Low rather than cramming most of it into Intm.

      I hope this helps clarify some things. Comments are appreciated!

  3. I think it is possible to improve Basic promotional test by assessing more of what has been taught in accordance with the COGS for the level.

    As for the Low level I agree with Mikah that introducing more grammar tenses ( past tense) is doable.

  4. I think we should break Intermediate into 2 sections (or 2 levels.)  The first would cover what it currently covers and start preparing students for more academic reading and writing.  The second would cover the missing grammar needed for success in High, plus expand on reading/writing/speaking.  Many students need 2 terms already.  This would lift the stigma of "failing" a level, plus allow the students time to master and apply material and concepts they now just have time to recognize, if that.