This is the second most asked question we get. Honestly, I usually sort of hem and haw around this answer when we're at Homeschool Conventions, because the answer is so very dependent on so many aspects:
~ the Spanish learner
~ the teacher/guide
~ how often you do the lessons
~ how motivated the students are
~ how long you go between moving forward to the next lesson
~ any preexisting attitudes toward learning languages, or learning in general....
So, I hem and haw. (Is that a phrase everywhere, or just in Texas?)
But, happily, there are concrete ways to describe your language fluency level in fairly objective terms, and this blog entry will help you to understand them, and more importantly move between them, onward and upward toward fluency.
Check out this handy dandy chart. You start at the tippy top, well bottom point, and journey upward to superior speaking. Most native speakers don't ever become distinguished - most of us don't support that type of a vocabulary. Let's start at the bottom.
In a perfect world, with a motivated student achieving one lesson per week, Novice Low is what you would deem yourself after just the first level of Flip Flop Spanish: Ages 3-5: Level 1 Workbook My disclaimer remains: if the student absorbs and practices all lessons.
I remember the first semester the workbook came out, and a well meaning friend told me his son had completed the entire workbook in six days. I was so sad for him. His language absorption was ZERO, (he didn't even know how to respond to my "¡Hola!" because he just checked it all off and raced through the lessons, with no time for absorption. But that workbook was ALL filled in, and he had listened to every track on the Spanish CD. Honestly, it reminded me of why I wasn't teaching in public school anyway.
Here's the nitty gritty on Spanish Levels and Flip Flop Spanish products.
Novice High is the correct description for a student who completes a full year (consistently) for See it and Say it Level 1. Intermediate Low would be an accurate description for a student who works hard for the full two years of See it and Say it Level 1, and adds in appropriate enrichment exercises and activities for the break weeks ,like the fun book guides and movies we've been adding in for various blogs and newsletters.
Of course, the more you learn how to learn Spanish, you'll notice your student (and you!) moving ahead faster and with more interest as they want more Spanish vocabulary to describe themselves and their surroundings better. With each Level (like The Bridge, due out September 1) the guides will become just that: guides. Your student will become self taught, a goal I have for ALL my students, especially the ones with whom I share a last name.
I hope all this helps you to know where to place your expectations for yourself, and for Flip Flop Spanish.
Continue reading to access the direct details from the official language level descriptions, as well as the link at the very bottom, from the ACTFL.
Speakers at the Intermediate Low sublevel are able to handle successfully a limited number of uncomplicated communicative tasks by creating with the language in straightforward social situations. Conversation is restricted to some of the concrete exchanges and predictable topics necessary for survival in the target-language culture. These topics relate to basic personal information; for example, self and family, some daily activities and personal preferences, and some immedi- ate needs, such as ordering food and making simple purchases. At the Intermediate Low sublevel, speakers are primarily reactive and struggle to answer direct questions or requests for information. They are also able to ask a few appropriate questions. Intermediate Low speakers manage to sustain the functions of the Intermediate level, although just barely.
Intermediate Low speakers express personal meaning by combining and recombining what they know and what they hear from their interlocutors into short statements and discrete sentences. Their responses are often lled with hesitancy and inaccuracies as they search for appropriate linguistic forms and vocabulary while attempting to give form to the message. Their speech is characterized by frequent pauses, ineffective reformulations and self-corrections. Their pronunciation, vocabulary, and syntax are strongly in uenced by their rst language. In spite of frequent misunderstandings that may require repetition or rephrasing, Intermediate Low speakers can generally be understood by sympathetic interlocutors, particularly by those accustomed to dealing with non-natives.
8 | ACTFL PROFICIENCY GUIDELINES 2012 © ACTFL, INC., 2012
ACTFL Pro ciency Guidelines 2012 – SPEAKING NOVICE
Novice-level speakers can communicate short messages on highly predictable, everyday topics that affect them directly. They do so primarily through the use of isolated words and phrases that have been encountered, memorized, and recalled. Novice-level speak- ers may be dif cult to understand even by the most sympathetic interlocutors accustomed to non-native speech.
Speakers at the Novice High sublevel are able to handle a variety of tasks pertaining to the Intermediate level, but are unable to sustain performance at that level. They are able to manage successfully a number of uncomplicated communica- tive tasks in straightforward social situations. Conversation is restricted to a few of the predictable topics necessary for survival in the target language culture, such as basic personal information, basic objects, and a limited number of activi- ties, preferences, and immediate needs. Novice High speakers respond to simple, direct questions or requests for informa- tion. They are also able to ask a few formulaic questions.
Novice High speakers are able to express personal meaning by relying heavily on learned phrases or recombinations of these and what they hear from their interlocutor. Their language consists primarily of short and sometimes incomplete sentences in the present, and may be hesitant or inaccurate. On the other hand, since their language often consists of expansions of learned material and stock phrases, they may sometimes sound surprisingly uent and accurate. Pronuncia- tion, vocabulary, and syntax may be strongly in uenced by the rst language. Frequent misunderstandings may arise but, with repetition or rephrasing, Novice High speakers can generally be understood by sympathetic interlocutors used to non- natives. When called on to handle a variety of topics and perform functions pertaining to the Intermediate level, a Novice High speaker can sometimes respond in intelligible sentences, but will not be able to sustain sentence-level discourse.
Speakers at the Novice Mid sublevel communicate minimally by using a number of isolated words and memorized phrases limited by the particular context in which the language has been learned. When responding to direct questions, they may say only two or three words at a time or give an occasional stock answer. They pause frequently as they search for simple vocabulary or attempt to recycle their own and their interlocutor’s words. Novice Mid speakers may be understood with dif culty even by sympathetic interlocutors accustomed to dealing with non-natives. When called on to handle topics and perform functions associated with the Intermediate level, they frequently resort to repetition, words from their native language, or silence.
Speakers at the Novice Low sublevel have no real functional ability and, because of their pronunciation, may be unintelli- gible. Given adequate time and familiar cues, they may be able to exchange greetings, give their identity, and name a num- ber of familiar objects from their immediate environment. They are unable to perform functions or handle topics pertaining to the Intermediate level, and cannot therefore participate in a true conversational exchange.