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Modes of Communication
Process: Using the modes in
To maximize learning, the three modes of communication must be considered as three parts of a single goal: communication. Keep the visual images of the NAEP and the Wisconsin model in mind. It is possible to consider the modes separately, but their strength is in their interrelatedness. Keep in mind also, that assessing the interpretive, interpersonal and presentational modes of with a performance assessment, in which the three modes are interrelated, occurs over several days, and that the building blocks of related grammar and vocabulary will have been tested as they were learned with quizzes, dictation, fill in the blank, matching, and other appropriate assessments.
Consider some projects that are often part of a foreign language classroom. For example, students often prepare a travel brochure or poster about a city or country where the target language is spoken. Think of the project with the three modes of communication in mind. The brochure or poster is the Presentational mode. To adhere to the characteristics of the presentational mode, the student needs to submit draft documents for feedback. The goal is a polished brochure or poster that can be displayed or shared with others because it has gone through revisions until it is “ready to publish.” The feedback students receive is part of what ACTFL refers to as “A Cyclical Approach” (ACTFL, 2003). It increases learning and links the presentational task to the modes of communication.
The unit is not finished with the completion of the poster. What can the students do to meet the criteria of the Interpretive mode? They could read a travel brochure in the target language and check off statements on a worksheet that are true about the place described in the brochure.
In the Interpersonal mode, the brochures or posters produced by the students could be the basis for a discussion about what places the students would like to visit and why. Students could sit in pairs to discuss. The teacher can monitor the discussion while students could be asked to complete a peer assessment sheet after time is up.
See Resources for more on interpersonal tasks.
By looking at a project through the three modes of communication, the opportunities for students to use the language related to the theme multiply. Because the three tasks are interrelated, the learning links in the brain are strengthened. And all three modes of communication are valued in the assessment.