[Assessment 1132] Re: Observation checklist

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Forrest Chisman forrest at crosslink.net
Wed Feb 6 11:07:57 EST 2008


Ted,



This is fascinating stuff. Jodi will probably have more questions about it
than I do. (Jodi take note!) My major question is how far one can generalize
from the DLIELC experience. After all, military personnel are a “captive
audience” and it’s part of their “job” to learn English via DLI. As a
result, one would assume they are a very motivated bunch. Do you think this
skews your finding about class size, instructional time and other variables,
or not? Also, how large were the test differences when you “squeezed in” a
few more students/class? Do you think the tests were good enough to make
those differences meaningful?



Forrest







From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Ted Klein
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 8:58 AM
To: Jodi Crandall; The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1130] Re: Observation checklist



Hi Jodi,



Greetings from Lake Travis in Texas. We met a couple of times in the past, I
think at least once when you visited the Defense Language Institute English
Language Center in San Antonio and at TESOL. The reason I mention DLI is
that it represents a language program with little leeway to fail. I spent 20
years from 1968-1988 with them. Their mission was/is to train allied and
friendly military personnel worldwide in general and specialized English.
Most students start ESL in their home countries with DLIELC personnel
advising, and in some cases teaching, in these overseas military language
centers. It may still be the largest language program in the world. Students
after reaching certain levels go to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio,
complete their general English, usually go through specialized terminology
and then on to whatever training their country needs with the U.S. military.
Students have run the full gamut from recruits and NCO's up to generals and
admirals. This is a very tightly organized "well-packaged" language program
with predictable training times and results.



Here's why I bring you this background. The rule of thumb while I was at at
DLI on class sizes was 8 students optimum and 10 maximum. This was rarely
broken. However, once in a while a higher headquarters' bean counter would
calculate that if a mere two or three students could be added to a class,
voila, look at the money we would save! This money came both from foreign
governments and Uncle Sam. DLI would argue and then try it, I believe
several times over the years. However, in an organization that has a very
effective testing system; both achievement and proficiency, it was soon
noticed that the scores were going down, just enough so that they could
prove that no money was being saved on teacher salaries and other expenses.
I spent three years with the Royal Thai Navy for DLI as language training
advisor and remember having to twist arms with the RTN Navy Education
Department with the same problem. They wanted 15 in a class.



Here's what I suggest. I accept these numbers and know during my last eight
years of teaching adult immigrants that my best classes have consistently
been smaller. My students average around 9-11. If an organization is stuck
with a low budget, make the hours of training per week lower, but keep the
class sizes within 10 or so students. Fewer hours of really effective
training are certainly better than large classes where the student attention
level and collegiality are reduced. I remember Mary Finocchiaro saying years
ago that she didn't care how many students were in her classroom, she would
teach them! Unfortunately, most of us just aren't THAT dynamic.



Cheers, Ted

www.tedklein-ESL.com







----- Original Message -----

From: "JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall" <crandall at umbc.edu>

To: "The Assessment Discussion List" <assessment at nifl.gov>

Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 9:23 PM

Subject: [Assessment 1125] Re: Observation checklist



Usha,

I'm not sure where Ted came up with that number. Ted, is it your
experience that with more than 10 students, learning decreases? If so,
how do you fund that number? I think a lot of people would be interested
in ways to decrease class size.

It's more typical to have larger classes because of the funding
constraints you talk about. With more students, it becomes more important
to involve them in activities in which all get to participate, which means
less teacher talk and more student interaction. But even small classes
need that.

What do others feel about the "ideal class size"?

You have also identified some of the major reasons adults drop out of
classes (or opt out, only to return at a later date). Do any of you keep
records of your students that would identify those who do return? Do you
have any idea of whether they have tried to continue learning English
outside of the classroom and how they did this? I don't know of any
research about adult English Language Learners in this area, but there is
an ongoing study by Stephen Reder and others at Portland State University
following adult literacy level students for several years. They have
identified some ways in which adults continue learning outside of the
classroom and also that some of these learners come back to classes after
being out of them for some time.

Providing support services is always a challenge. Have any of you been
able to partner with other organizations to reduce the cost of these
services to your program? What kinds of partnerships have been most
effective? If you teach in a community college, have your students had
access to the various support services provided to other students?

Several of you have talked about the differences in progress made by
students with more advanced education and those who are at literacy level.
Because literacy level students take longer in making progress, most
programs provide separate classes for literacy level students and literate
beginners. Those learners with limited formal schooling and literacy will
need more time to make progress. I'm going to ask Forrest to talk about
what he and Steve Spurling and Sharon Seymour found out about persistence
of literacy level students and their learning gains.

Students with advanced education in their own language may be able to have
a condensed program since they are already experienced as students and
often have high motivation to get through English so that they can take
courses related to their previous or future career. City College of San
Francisco offers an "accelerated course" in which 2 semesters worth of
work is taught during one. Do any of your programs offer something along
these lines?

Jodi



> I have not been a part of this discussion and I really liked the tool that

> Ted has shared with us. However, I have question and I hope that it is

> not

> something that has already been asked and answered.

>

> The first item on Ted¹s list is a little confusing. In most of our ESL

> classes we enroll more than 10 students because of fiscal constraints and

> the need for ESL in the community. So is it a negative or a positive to

> have fewer than 10 students in a class? In our case, we expect to see

> more

> than 10 students in a class and for the teacher to sustain the numbers.

>

> As for the achievement gap, it is huge issue in all literacy programs

> because of many socio-economic factors.

>

> In our area, part of the Bay Area, the boom in the housing market (in past

> several years) and high rents made it difficult for people to stay in one

> neighborhood. Therefore they constantly move (this is seen more in people

> who do not have high levels of education from their native country).

>

> People with a certain level of education (college degrees from their

> countries are more likely to find stable jobs and have some kind of

> community support). Most other people hold two or more jobs, go in and

> out

> of classes, change schedules, and finally drop out because of various

> constraints. More than likely, they lack study skills and have no time to

> practice.

>

> The achievement gap stems not only from the differences in educational

> levels of immigrants, but also due the huge difference in the

> availability

> of community resources.

>

> Usha Narayanan

> Sunnyvale-Cupertino Adult Education

> California

> 408-522-2737

>

>

> On 2/5/08 1:00 PM, "Ted Klein" <taklein at austin.rr.com> wrote:

>

>> Marie,

>>

>> I did this list years ago based on literally decades in and out of the

>> U.S.A.

>> teaching, training teachers, supervising, coordinating, etc. in ESL. It

>> is

>> based on what seems to work or not work. I'm proud to say that I'm back

>> in the

>> ESL trenches after, among other things, twenty years with the Defense

>> Language

>> Institute English Language Center. I've been teaching immigrants part

>> time for

>> the last eight years for the Adult Education Department at Austin

>> Community

>> College. Getting back in the trenches has reminded me of what language

>> teaching is all about. I feel sorry for anybody who has to work at a

>> higher

>> level, because that's really not as much fun! I truly hope that I apply

>> everything on my list daily and don't fall into any of the "easy traps."

>> I

>> have distributed this list over the years to anybody who seemed

>> interested and

>> it is published on my website at

>> http://www.tedklein-esl.com/ESL/20questions.html Feel absolutely free

>> to use

>> it in any way that will make life easier for students. Thank you very

>> much for

>> the input. Questions are welcome.

>>

>> Cheers, Ted

>>

>> Theodore A. (Ted) Klein, Jr.

>> Independent Consultant in Language

>> and Intercultural Training

>> 14456 Agarita Road

>> Austin, Texas 78734-2009

>> Phone:512-266-1801

>> taklein at austin.rr.com <mailto:taklein at austin.rr.com>

>> www.tedklein-ESL.com <http://www.tedklein-ESL.com>

>>

>>

>> ----- Original Message -----

>>>

>>> From: Marie Cora <mailto:marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

>>>

>>> To: Assessment at nifl.gov

>>>

>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 1:42 PM

>>>

>>> Subject: [Assessment 1110] Re: Observation checklist

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> Hi Ted,

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> Thanks for this. This is a great list - did you generate it yourself?

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> I guess I have a bunch of questions for you about it:

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> How do you use it? As a general guide, or do you deliberately try to

>>> address each item? Are you the only one who uses this, or do others

>>> you

>>> work with?

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> Do you find that if you adhere to these principles, that the students

>>> advance?

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> Marie

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> -----Original Message-----

>>>> From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov

>>>> [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On

>>>> Behalf Of Ted Klein

>>>> Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 9:49 PM

>>>> To: The Assessment Discussion List

>>>> Subject: [Assessment 1105] Re: No Questions or Comments?!

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> Marie,

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> In the long run, this may be all that I know.

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> Ted

>>>>

>>>> www.tedklein-ESL.com <http://www.tedklein-ESL.com>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 20 Questions: LANGUAGE CLASS OBSERVATION CHECKLIST YES

>>>> NO

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 1. Were there 10 or fewer students in the class?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 2. Was the classroom comfortable in terms of

>>>>

>>>> environment and learning atmosphere?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 3. Did the instructor have a pleasant and

>>>>

>>>> supportive personality?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 4. Were the lessons communication centered,

>>>>

>>>> rather than informational, most of the time?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 5. Was the instructor a native-speaker or

>>>>

>>>> near native-speaker of the target language?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 6. Was the target language used as a medium

>>>>

>>>> of instruction all or most of the time?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 7. Did the students do most of the communication,

>>>>

>>>> rather than the instructor?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 8. Did the instructor maintain control of the class

>>>>

>>>> in a non-threatening manner?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 9. Did members of the class seem compatible with each

>>>>

>>>> other and the instructor?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 10. Did the students seem closely matched in their

>>>>

>>>> target language proficiency?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 11. Did all of the students participate?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 12. Were students enthusiastic?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 13. Did the instructor use a variety of techniques

>>>>

>>>> to elicit communication activities?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 14. Did the instructor assist students, rather

>>>>

>>>> than push them?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 15. Did the instructor use normal, rather than

>>>>

>>>> exaggerated speech?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 16. Were training aids used to enhance or reinforce

>>>>

>>>> results?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 17. Were new learning objectives reinforced adequately?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 18. Was correction applied moderately and positively

>>>>

>>>> so that it wouldn't inhibit communication?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 19. Was there a balance of language skills (listening,

>>>>

>>>> speaking, reading and writing?)

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 20. Were students dealt with appropriately for their

>>>>

>>>> ages? (e.g. adults treated like adults).

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> ---- Original Message -----

>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> From: Marie Cora <mailto:marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

>>>>>

>>>>> To: Assessment at nifl.gov

>>>>>

>>>>> Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 5:50 PM

>>>>>

>>>>> Subject: [Assessment 1103] No Questions or Comments?!

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Hello everyone,

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> I¹m so surprised! No one has anything to comment on regarding your

>>>>> program¹s effectiveness at helping ESL students advance?? I was

>>>>> very

>>>>> curious to know if subscribers experience the same types of issues

>>>>> that

>>>>> Dr. Chisman and Dr. Crandall found in their research: a lack of

>>>>> intensity

>>>>> of instruction/few protocols for transitioning students/few

>>>>> opportunities

>>>>> for professional development.

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> What are the issues in your program that you feel inhibit the ESL

>>>>> student

>>>>> from advancing? What do you try to do about that?

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Please post your questions and comments now.

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Thanks!

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Marie Cora

>>>>>

>>>>> Assessment Discussion List Moderator

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Marie Cora

>>>>>

>>>>> marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com

>>>>> <mailto:marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

>>>>>

>>>>> NIFL Assessment Discussion List Moderator

>>>>>

>>>>> http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/assessment

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> -------------------------------

>>>>> National Institute for Literacy

>>>>> Assessment mailing list

>>>>> Assessment at nifl.gov

>>>>> To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to

>>>>> http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/assessment

>>>>> Email delivered to taklein at austin.rr.com

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> -------------------------------

>>> National Institute for Literacy

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>>

>>

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>> Email delivered to usha_narayanan at fuhsd.org

>

>

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--
JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall
Professor, Education Department
Director, Ph.D. Program in Language, Literacy & Culture
Coordinator, Peace Corps Master's International Program in ESOL/Bilingual
Education
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250
ph: 410-455-2313/2376 fax: 410-455-8947/1880
email: crandall at umbc.edu
www.umbc.edu/llc/
www.umbc.edu/esol/
www.umbc.edu/esol/peacecorps.html



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