Bunthorne's Blog

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Archive for the tag “speaking”

Discovery, The Speaking Task

I’ve written a few other times about speaking tasks we’ve tried with different years. This is really a follow-up. My faculty has written its new Discovery task. Here it is: HSC_AoS_Asst_Notification_2015
As you’ll see, it’s following the pattern we’ve used before. Students begin by reading 300 words of their own writing, usually an excerpt from a story. This is a story they’ve written in controlled conditions so that there’s a minimalisation of the chances for plagiarism. They are then required to link this back to their prescribed and related texts in a six minute talk with (if they wish) a visual presentation to support their work. Nearly all of them do this, of course.
I’ve left this as a word file so that others can take it and use it if they wish. As usual, please acknowledge the source of this activity in any public forum.


Speaking task alternatives.

This is part of a continuing series. Some might say an on-going saga. But I think it’s worth sharing the latest thinking in my staff on speaking tasks.

Here’s the one we’ve just finished writing: T1_Yr 10_Social_Justice_Asst_Notification_2014. Naturally it comes with a couple of extras, like a scaffold and a marking criteria: T1 Yr 10 Social Justice digital presentation Scaffold 2014, T1_Yr 10_Social_Justice_Marking_Criteria_2014

It’s our attempt to keep mixing it up when it comes to speaking tasks. We’re very happy with our Stage 6 tasks, where we have students reading their own creative writing aloud and reflecting on their own writing, with support from a visual presentation if desired. In case you’ve missed it previously, here’s one of them: 1. HSC_AoS_Assessment_Notification_2014

The great thing about this task in Stage 6 is that it formally values the creative side of the syllabus and encourages students to see it as an essential part of the course. And, of course, it values the part of English that a lot of us love – the creative and the imaginative. However, we didn’t want our Year 10 task to be a ‘lite’ version of the HSC task.

Year 10 have just finished their speaking task – it went over exceptionally well, probably because we did have an authentic audience in mind and encouraged students to speak directly about issues that matter to them. The opportunity to pre-record before presenting, or to present a digital video, was taken up by about thirty students and prevented a lot of the refusals and melt-downs we’ve seen in the past.

So we’re very happy with this one. Hopefully you’ll be able to use this to inform your own practice! If you’ve got a better alternative, please share!

‘Feed forward’ in practice.

At the end of last year I was visiting my school to talk about plans for 2013. While I was there, the staff were dealing with appeals on the just-completed Year 12 speaking task.  I took the opportunity to deal with one appeal, from a conscientious student who’d received a high B but thought his speech deserved an A.

If we’re serious about student voice, then we have to see appeals as being a legitimate part of the process; annoying as they are, they are a part of our communication with students and should be seen as an opportunity to build relationships. So, in consultation with the staff, I put some time into preparing some very detailed feedback/ feed forward for the student. 

I’ve included everything from the assessment task through to the feedback/ feed forward here. That’s partly because I’m particularly fond of this task. Krystal Bevin at HSPA had a big hand in re-designing the old speaking task so that we had one that valued students’ creative writing. But it’s also in the interests of transparency: here is the entire context. Depending on your own context, you’re likely to find different points of interest.

Here’s the original assessment task: AoS Speech Belonging Creative HSPA

Here’s the document with the example and response: Feed forward practical example English

Here’s the student’s PowerPoint: Imp writing Belonging speech pp


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