2023/24 Academic year
Please find below information that will support you and your students taking an online Language course with Pamoja Education.
It is vital that you, as a SBC, are informed about the policies and guidelines that your students, taking an online Language course with Pamoja Education, will be expected to abide by.
The document below details, and explains, the relevant policies and guidelines that are important for student success. You can either navigate through the document by scrolling through it, or, for your convenience, you may click on the topic headers under ‘Document Quick Access links’ below to be taken directly to that specific aspect of the policy.
We appreciate your support in helping us to apply these guidelines and support student learning and language acquisition. We also encourage you to speak to your students about these guidelines.
Document Quick Access links:
To learn a new language takes time and it can be challenging.
For true beginners, a student will begin their language learning journey by mimicking what they have heard. At this stage their language is often free from errors.
However, students will quickly begin to independently create with the language and should strive to think in the target language. If students try to think about a task in English, they may resort to using online translators or try to seek help from others to express their ideas. A second language ab initio student should try to keep their message and language simple.
There is a correlation between what a student is able to say when speaking and what they are able to write. They are both productive skills. In both instances, spontaneous and independent production is strongly encouraged so that personalised feedback can be given enabling students to learn and grow. Students cannot expect to be perfect and should see mistakes and errors as learning opportunities.
Ultimately, the goal is for students to be independent and creative in the language.
We have established the following guidelines to help support this goal:
- In speaking sessions, students should review the material beforehand and think about questions they may be asked. They should be discouraged from trying to memorise answers to any guiding questions in the lessons as they progress through the course.
- In the first week of the course, students are reminded about academic Integrity in languages.
- Our teachers are all very experienced in supporting ab initio learners. If, in their professional judgement, they suspect malpractice they will use the Protocol below. Please note that students should highlight or change the font of any language that is not their own. Any of the following constitutes malpractice:
- Having work proofread by a native speaker (a friend or tutor) without referencing this by highlighting or changing the font
- Using a translator or a dictionary without referencing this
- Copying whole chunks of sample material from the course/IB text format booklet without referencing this
- Using vocal translators without referencing them
Please find details on the Academic Integrity Protocol in Languages below:
|Stages||Communication with SBC||Communication with student|
|1st Piece of work||
The SBC will be messaged by the teacher with their observations
The Academic Integrity contract signed by the student at the start of the course will be referenced.
The student’s work will receive feedback, but no Grade
The student will be contacted by the teacher and SBC will be CC’d in on the communication. This is considered a warning. The student will be reminded of the Academic Integrity contract signed at the start of the course.
Additionally, in this communication, the students will be reminded of appropriate practice when using external help:
-Spanish/French: if students do look something up, students should change the font and cite where they are looking up words or if they are receiving human help.
-Mandarin: students should list the words they have looked up as annotations at the end of the work.
|2nd Piece of work||
The SBC will be copied into the message to the student
If a student has not attended any conversation session and 2 pieces of writing work are of Academic Integrity concern, the SBC will be requested to encourage the student to sign up for an oral.
Lack of oral attendance means teachers cannot authenticate written language production skills
If a student’s total 2 pieces of work raises Academic Integrity concerns, the SBC will be requested to have the student write the latest task under supervision so that a grade can be provided
Work will not be graded
The student will be told that the work has not been graded with the reasons why .
A conversation will be encouraged between the SBC and the student
The student will be told that a Pamoja Academic Integrity report will be issued if a 3rd concern is raised
|3rd Piece of work||
Formal Academic Integrity process to be followed
The teacher will fill in an Academic Integrity report and send it to Courses
The SBC will be contacted by Pamoja Courses to say that an Academic Integrity report has been filed and to ask for the SBC to formally follow up
The work will not be graded, a zero will be marked in the grade book.
The student will be told that an Academic Integrity report has been filed.
|Persistent concerns||The SBC will be contacted||Work will not be graded until issue is resolved with the school and student.|
Formal Academic Integrity process to be followed in the following instances
End of Year/Trial exam- if there is clear evidence of unfair practice (this should be less likely as exams are being supervised in school)
A piece has been completely Google translated and you can identify the source
The work will not be graded , a zero will be marked in the grade book.
The student will be told that an Academic Integrity report has been filed
We appreciate your support in helping us to enforce these guidelines and support student learning and language acquisition. We also encourage you to speak to your students about these guidelines.
In Ab initio Year 1 courses, students will be asked to complete a 45-minute written task that is supervised by SBCs. This will help teachers to obtain an authentic writing sample for each student early in the course and will facilitate teachers’ ability to evaluate how a student is approaching their written assignments. We ask for your support in helping us to administer this task. Detailed instructions will be sent in Week 9 for Spanish and French Y1 students (task to be done in weeks 10-11) and in Week 12 for Mandarin Y1 students (task to be done in weeks 15-16).
Schools are responsible for selecting the appropriate language course for their students. The IB underlines the importance of selecting a course which provides appropriate challenge:
Misplacement of a student into a language course which does not provide an appropriate degree of challenge for the student may provide the student with an unfair advantage over those who are appropriately placed into the course. Intentional misplacement may be considered school maladministration according to Academic Integrity.
The IB has a publication: ‘DP language courses overview and placement guidance’ which provides specific, practical support for schools and students in deciding on the appropriate language level.
If the Pamoja teacher feels that a particular student may not be in the appropriate language course, the SBC will be notified.
Synchronous Conversation Sessions
As a language course, the development of speaking skills is of utmost importance.
The course content is structured to provide quality input in the target language and therefore does expect the students to produce quality output at their current proficiency level.
To really foster the speaking skills, we have a structured system where students have the opportunity to have interactive group conversations with their classmates and their teacher on a regular basis.
These excellent learning opportunities allow for students to interact and communicate with the peers in their chosen language and to have the teacher assess their communication and offer them immediate feedback to focus on improving their speaking skills.
The system works in the following way:
- Conversation practice takes place every 2-3 weeks
- Students are required to book a convenient date and time for them to attend a conversation session/event via the Calendly platform
- The teacher will post in the ‘Discussions’ area of ManageBac when a new booking link is available. Students are notified that this post has been shared via ManageBac notifications
- Students access the Calendly booking link in the ‘Discussions’ post and sign up for the date and time best for them. All dates and times automatically default to the student’s time zone, so no calculations are required
- Calendly emails the student a confirmation of their booking
- Teachers set up the booked session in Managebac ‘Calendar’. The event will contain a link for Zoom – the platform used to ‘meet’ the teacher for the conversation session (and peers in a group session)
- Managebac will again notify students that this session/event has been set up in the ‘Calendar’ area
- On the day of the conversation session, the student will log into ManageBac, go to the session/event date and time in ‘Calendar’ and join via the Zoom link within. Students should sign in at least 5 minutes prior to the start time.
Please take a moment at your next meeting with students to go over this information with them and to underline the importance of engagement and time management. It can be helpful to support your students in identifying appropriate time slots for them to attend orals.
Students should be mindful of the time it takes teachers to schedule and organise conversation practice. As a courtesy to their peers and teachers, students should sign up promptly and attend their practice on time. Please note the following:
- If a student does not sign up, we will remind them to sign up prior to the deadline. If they choose to not sign up, they will not be able to make up that session at a later date because they have consciously chosen not to take action.
- If they do not show up for their time, without justifiable reason, they will not be able to make up their session, unless they can join another upcoming time slot in the same session.
- If students fail to attend an oral, teachers will mark it as incomplete and SBCs will be notified.
- Where a student’s absence is due to illness, or is another legitimate absence, the engagement rating will not be affected but it is important that this is confirmed by the SBC. We therefore suggest that students email their teacher and copy in the SBC.
No Grade Policy
In order to receive a numeric Term Grade, students must have completed at least one assignment in each of the four skills (listening, reading, speaking, writing) during each term. Without evidence of all four skills, teachers will not have the evidence required to award an accurate numeric Term Grade and students may receive a No Grade (NG). Students should be made aware of this from the start of the course.
To help you best support your students and track their engagement, you will receive automated emails from the School Services team if students miss key assignments and may therefore be at risk of a No Grade. These emails are designed to encourage a conversation with your student about their ATLs primarily focussing on self-management (working habits) and for you to offer guidance and support for the student.
Converting time: We have provided students with explanations and tools on how to convert timezones. However, you may need to follow up with them and support them in learning how to accurately convert the time or use a web-based time zone converter. This is an example: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html
Accessing Calendly: Signing up to conversation sessions is managed through Calendly, but all booking links to do so will appear in ManageBac ‘Discussions’ posts. Should a student not be able to access Calendly to book the session, or are struggling to find the booked session/event in ManageBac’s ‘Calendar’, they should contact their teacher via ManageBac’s messaging system.
If issues persist, they should email email@example.com with relevant screenshots and clear, written explanations.
Unknown technical difficulties: At the scheduled time of the conversation practice, if students encounter an unknown technical issue, they should contact their conversation teacher via the platform messaging system as soon as possible to be able to chat, and to navigate or troubleshoot the technical issues.
This article covers some Frequently Asked Questions for troubleshooting:
Typical troubleshooting tips are:
- close the browser and start it up again
- shut down/restart the computer
- clear cache/cookies/history
- check internet connection (wifi/Data/etc)
- communicate with teacher immediately if something isn’t working (platform messaging)
We would encourage SBCs to check with their students after the first oral (first orals take place around week 4) if they were able to successfully join the session/event. It is important to try and resolve technical issues early on.
Communication. If they are having difficulty finding a suitable date/time, or have any other concern, they need to communicate with their teacher via the platform messaging system as soon as possible.
THANK YOU – Pamoja Academic Team