Global Educators Cohort Program - Teacher Education

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Observation Studies


Language Assessment Case Studies

  • What: A detailed chronology that represents your ability to first identify, describe and understand language problems and then plan, implement and evaluate programs that are designed to enhance language competence.
  • Why: This language assessment ability, as demonstrated within both home and school settings, represents a critical and expected skill of all teachers of students who are d/hh.
  • How: Informal observations and interactions within selected context, over a period of three to four weeks, for each of the two case studies.
  • When: (see the schedule below)


Directions & Examples:
  • Case Study #1: Self
    • Contextual Information: (all contexts)
      • Description: Identify and describe three to four contexts (i.e., place, time, person & modality [speech, Sign, combined]) in which you consistently have three or more face-to-face (i.e., no phone, IM, email exchanges) a week.
        • e.g., in the kitchen, dinner time, with Mom via speech
        • e.g., in my apartment, after dinner, with "Tom," via speech
        • e.g., in my Intern classroom, before the 1st bell, with "Ms. Jones," vis speech + signs
        • etc.
      • Most Important: Identify which of those contexts are most important to you, i.e., the one where you are most interested/invested what is discussed
        • e.g. in my apartment, after dinner, with "Tom," via speech
      • Topics Discussed: Within the most important context,identify topics that are discussed. Pace this information in a Word table, i.e., dates and topics and then create a pie graph to represent the data. Upload the table and graph to your Case Study #1 wiki page. Continue to update and upload this page throughout the case study project.
    • Language Assessment Information: (most important context only)
      • Communication Breakdown (CB) : Within your "most important context" describe the reoccurring pattern of visual, motorical and verbal behaviors that indicate a "communication breakdown" has occurred, i.e., when what you expected to happen did not occur. Describe this pattern of behavior, as demonstrated by you and your partner, i.e., what does a communication breakdown look like when you experience it vs. what does it look like when experienced by your partner.
        • e.g., Me: I look up at "Tom," turn my head and wrinkle by brow and then say "What did you just say?"
        • e.g., "Tom:" looks up at the ceiling, sighs, rolls his neck, looks at me and then says "OK, what did I do now?"
      • CB Topics: During each observation note the occurrence of communication breakdowns by conversational topic. Place this information in a table, i.e., dates, topics and frequency of communication breakdown, and then create a comparative bar graph to represent the data. Upload the table and graph to your Case Study #1 wiki page. Continue to update and upload this page throughout the case study project.
      • CB Causes: Identify that topic on which you have either the most frequent, or the most serious, CB. Identify the conversational tasks (see Johnson Conversational Model + "Language Functions" on page 26, Figure 1.7 of the Schirmer 2000 text) that you and/or your partner is trying to achieve when the CB occur. Place this information in a table, i.e., dates, topic, tasks and frequency of communication breakdown, and then create a comparative bar graph to represent the data. Upload the table and graph to your Case Study #1 wiki page. Continue to update and upload this page throughout the case study project. Identify what you think is the most likely cause for the communication breakdown.
        • e.g., Topic: "responsibilities"
        • e.g., Tasks: Conversational Task #5 + Communication Tasks
        • e.g., Cause: a) how I established the topic; b) how I conveyed information re. the topic; c) how we failed to effectively repair the communication breakdown; and d) there is a "mismatch" in our communication tasks re. this topic, i.e., I want him to do it and he does not think it is his job to do
      • CB Impact: Provide a brief description of what typically occurs following a CB on the identified topic (e.g., "responsibilities")
        • e.g., We go back-and-forth 3-4 times, then I usually say "never mind, I'll do it" as I look away, cross my arms and let out a sign. We then just stare at the T.V. until one of us raises a new topic.
    • Language Intervention Information: (most important context & most frequent/serious CB topic only)
      • Language Goal: Describe what you want to happen when you raise this topic.
        • e.g., I want "Tom" to see my point of view and take care of 'x' (e.g., clearing off the dinner table) in the future without me having to remind him all the time and/or getting upset when I ask him to do this. To accomplish this, I will need to use a different pattern of behavior and language. More specifically, I will have to establish the topic and engage "Tom" in an interaction that does not result in a communication breakdown, but does result in him doing 'x' without me nagging him all the time.
      • Language Intervention (LI) Strategy: Describe the pattern of visual, motorical and verbal behavior you will use to achieve your goal. Note the conversational tasks you will incorporate into your strategy.
        • e.g., "1)" I will look t "Tom," lean forward, place my hand on his arm, wait for him to look at me and when he does I will ask him to tell my why (task = "request for information" = "Heuristic) he does not want to clear the table. As he talks, I will maintain eye contact and keep my hand on his arm. "2)" If I do not understand his position, I will ask for more information (task = "request for clarification" = "Heuristic). "3)" In addition, I will tell him why this is so important to me (task = "express personal need" = "Instrumental). "4)" Finally I will propose a few ways we can stop fighting about problem (task = "solve problem" = "Heuristic). Once we agree to a problem solving strategy, I think all will have to do is "5)" teas him (task = "Humor") and he will follow-through.
      • Impact of LI Strategy: Note how many times that you use the LI strategy, the number of turns (i.e., back-and-forth between you and "TOM") that occur during each LI and "Tom" resulting patterns of visual, motorical and verbal behavior. Place this information in a table, i.e., dates, LI strategy (i.e., "1), 2), 3) & 4)"), and then create a comparative bar graph to represent the data. Upload the table and graph to your Case Study #1 wiki page. Continue to update and upload this page throughout the case study project. Identify which of the LI strategies you consider to be most effective and why.
    • Resources & Reflections:
      • Resources: In APA format, identify the informational resources that utilized to complete this case study.
      • Reflections: In an outline format, summarize what you learned re.:
        • Language Competence:
        • Language Problems:
        • Language Assessment:
        • Language Intervention:


Note: To the extent possible, please use an outline format, using the headings I have provided, for your second observation study.

  • Case Study #2: Intern Student
    • 1. Contextual & Student Information:
      • a. Description + provide the rationale of why you choose this context and student
      • b. Topics Discussed:
        • listed from most, to least frequently discussed
        • summative pie chart + data table
          • Note: you can collect frequency and/or duration data, but provide the rationale for the type of data you choose to collect
    • 2. Language Assessment Information:
      • a. Communication Breakdown Indicators (CB) :
      • b. CB by Topics
        • listed from most, to least severe
        • summative pie chart + data table
          • Note: you can collect frequency, duration and/or intensity data, but provide the rationale for the type of data you choose to collect
    • 3. Language Intervention Information:
      • a. Topic focused upon + provide the rationale for your decision
      • b. Most likely causes of CB on this topic, listed in order of importance
        • BONUS points for grounding/referencing the cause as represented within the course lecture material
      • c. Statement of resulting language goal, written as a behavioral objective + provide the rationale for your decision.
        • Note: The goal should be designed to reduce either the frequency and/or severity (duration data) of the CB
        • BONUS points for grounding/referencing your rationale as represented in the course lecture material
      • d. Brief description of your language intervention strategy(ies)
        • line graph representing the occurrence of CB prior to, and during your intervention effort + data table
          • Note: You can collect frequency, and/or intensity (duration) data, but provide the rationale for the type of data you choose to collect
          • Note: It may take more than one strategy to resolve the problem causing the CB. If this occurs, simply draw a "phase interrupt line" noting the baseline (i.e., prior to intervention) and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd intervention strategies.
      • e. Brief description of the impact of your language intervention strategy upon the occurrence, and/or severity of CB
        • BONUS points for grounding/referencing the impact as represented within the course lecture material
    • 4. Reflections:
      • Reflect upon and share what you NOW know vs. what you knew at the onset of the second observation study in relation to:
        • a. Causes of Language Problems:
        • b. Carrying out a Language Assessment
        • c. Designing & Implementing Language Intervention Efforts
      • BONUS points for grounding/referencing your reflections as represented within the course lecture material






Evaluation Rubric:
    • 20%: Submitted on time, complete, well written and consistent data collection
    • 50%: In depth and accurate
    • 30%: Insightful reflections