Posts Tagged ‘teaching style’

Teach & test

19 December 2012

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

One girl, Penélope C., was asked to draw her classroom and two students writing sentences on the board. This is what he did. The guy on the left must be me ;-)

One girl, Penélope C., was asked to draw her classroom and two students writing sentences on the board. This is what he did. The guy on the left must be myself 😉

I have just tried a different type language test from a new different teaching style. My focus is mainly on meaning. I want my students to understand what they are doing.

Among other activities in the test, the students must complete English words from which they are provided one or two initial letters and their Spanish meaning. We work with blocks of words by means of packs of photocopies. My students have to study and learn words and their meanings by heart.

Some of my students wrote their opinions about the new tests on a sheet of paper days ago. They confessed that some questions were not easy to understand. Also they noticed their lack of vocabulary to understand all  exercises. We both (students and teacher) must work harder with words and dictionaries.

Another point was grammar. Most students said that there was little room for grammar. And they are right, maybe I should have included a few more grammatical exercises.

The exam was too long, that´s true. There were too many exercises to do and not enough time. . This is something to be reconsidered.

The exercise on English culture was the most unpopular activity among students because they could not admit that learning the Christian name of the Queen of England or the author of Ulysses were interesting issues. On the other hand, I have the impression that they loved an exercise where they were asked to draw things such as their own desk, our classroom or their favourite gadgets, for example. (And some kids were really good at doing this).

The new tests included an English original text to be translated into Spanish language as well as short sentences to be translated into English.

There was an episode in the test named Classroom diary after our daily routines in class. I think this is important. The students see the relevance of paying attention to teachers and taking active part in class life.  There were questions on “functional language” or useful phrases and a short essay on a current topic, e.g. “write a note to your friend that you are leaving later from school” or “ advantages of having a mobile phone”.

Two more points were a reading comprehension text with questions on form and meaning and a strict exercise titled Basics focused on elementary aspects of language such as writing ordinal numbers, telling the time, listing the past participle forms of verbs, quoting all the possessive adjectives, etcetera.

Something that I have not included in these new tests was a listening comprehension text, namely a listening recording or a short dictation. I think this must be included next time.

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