India Plough is an assistant professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) at Michigan State University. She teaches sociolinguistics and is the director of the RCAH’s Cultures and Languages across the Curriculum Program. Her current research and publications are in the area of Interactional Competence (Language Testing 2018). She led the development of the speaking component of the Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (Michigan Language Assessment). She has worked with students, teachers, and administrators in Brazil, China, Greece, Japan, Peru, South Africa, and the U.S. on collaborative projects including language teaching, learner assessment, teacher training, and program development.
Teaching and testing speaking in the classroom
For almost four decades, language teachers have been guided by the concept of Communicative Competence (Canale and Swain, 1980). Educators are now recognizing the importance of another, distinct aspect of speaking proficiency—Interactional Competence. Rather than highlighting the abilities of only the individual, Interactional Competence “presupposes…the construction of a shared internal context … that is built through the collaborative efforts of the interactional partners” (Kramsch, 1986). In this talk I describe how features associated with Interactional Competence emerge through student-centered, collaborative project-based instruction. I share a specific project and a speaking test completed by students learning Spanish as a foreign language.