By Lydia Kohler
On March 25, several hundred world language students will gather at the new Cathy and Don Jacobs Building at the University of Kentucky for the Kentucky World Language Association’s (KWLA) 2017 State Showcase and Competition.
The event is modeled after best practices in world language assessments, which allows students to show what they can do with language. It is open to late elementary, middle and high school students.
The showcase portion of the day will involve students being rated according to the proficiency levels from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Each participant takes a listening and reading assessment and an interpersonal speaking assessment the day of the showcase. The presentational writing assessment is completed prior to the event and is assessed by the classroom teacher. Each student will receive an overall score based on their performance in their language of study that day.
Students who participate in this event really enjoy getting to see how well they do speaking their language of study with someone other than their teacher. Virtually all students who attend want to return the following year to see how they have grown in their language study.
For the competition, students create a project, which may take shape as an art piece, food samples, construction model, costume, dance, dramatic monologue, film, poem recitation or a song. Students do research ahead of time on a subject they love that is related to the target culture of their language of study. During the interpersonal interview, the student presents his or her project to a judge, who asks questions in the target language about the project. Students can receive awards for first, second and third place projects among Novice High, Intermediate Low, Intermediate Mid+ and Native Speaker categories.
To complete the students’ schedule during the event, there are a variety of cultural and language lessons offered, including such things as a Chinese tea ceremony, Russian language lessons, German fairytales and songs, Spanish folktales and more. Students are able to interact with faculty and students at the host institution, as well as learn how their language of study can enhance their future career.
This year, the showcase also will be welcoming local businesses and organizations for which world language students are a vital part of their future workforce.
The guidelines, scoring rubrics and registration form are available here. Email specific questions to Lydia Kohler, showcase director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is $10 per student to cover administrative fees and trophies. Registration deadline is March 3, with graded presentational writing pieces due to KWLA by March 17.
We hope you will consider bringing your students so they can show what they can do with language!
Lydia Kohler teaches French at George Rogers Clark High School (Clark County) and serves as the showcase director of the Kentucky World Language Association. She also is president of the Kentucky chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French and is a board member of the Kentucky World Language Association.