Black Box

Outline Enquiry Plan – Formative Assessment in teaching Trainee Foreign Language Teachers

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(720 words)

Which aspect of your practice do you wish to develop?

With respect to planning trainee teacher lessons and the delivery of them, while making sure concepts delivered through each session focus on foreign language teaching, I still wonder within the short time allowed for each module the trainee teachers actually absorb the vital information given to them. Consequently, when they finish the TEFL trainee teacher course, they can put all these factors into practice in their new employment overseas. My job as an instructor is to help the trainee teachers become proficient educators. While I try to administer these various teaching sessions, I need to see more proficiency in the trainee teacher’s lesson planning and practice teaching where I can observe them using techniques they had already been taught to them over their time learning to teach a second language. This strengthens my thoughts and beliefs about how well they are achieving on the TEFL course and how well I have delivered the content of each teaching module.

What are your reasons for choosing the above?

Having used formative assessment in my classes before and been given written feedback on this, I consider this is a worthy method to check my (trainee teachers) students’ understanding of methods of teaching a second language at various stages over the length of the TEFL course.  Of course, my assessment procedure needs work, and getting to know how much of the subject matter the students have processed is a major factor for myself succeeding in my class and personal pedagogically. My 20 hour part of the 120 hour TEFL course and the modules within it are each on a set time limit and students have some difficult days of study absorbing all the information. Within the 20 hours of the practical part of the TEFL course, the students have many modules to complete. From this, it means that students must be able to comprehend the subject matter for each module, take in all that the teacher offers and be able to show this in practice in their teaching as a final project. Although I am fundamentally teaching the basics of TEFL and what the students essentially need to begin their first teaching experience abroad, I still need to give them more than enough information to achieve this. This leads me to improve on improving on my approach, method, and techniques to enhance the learning experience that each and every student has grasped the subject matter of the module. The students then can walk away after the course feeling they have the confidence and the knowledge to prepare for their first foreign teaching assignment, while at the same time, the knowledge they have gained will inject that incentive to further their studies and their teaching. It is this inspiration through my teaching that I want to improve on. This, I feel, can be enhanced by formative assessment of each module during the TEFL course.

What relevant secondary sources (e.g. existing publications etc) have you found.  How have they helped to clarify your research?

As teachers use assessment and learning dynamically, they increase their capacity to derive a deeper understanding of their students’ responses. This then serves to structure increased learning opportunities (Darling-Hammond, Ancess, & Falk, 1995, p. 131).

Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment By Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam

From my initial reading, I have come to recognise formative assessment as a vital part of the classroom experience. Black and William’s evidence shows that formative assessment is an essential component of classroom work. This has been very informative and is certainly a background for my research project. Black and William highlight that outside the box (the classroom) there are many initiatives and assessments for learning but this leaves out what really happens in the classroom and the teaching experience. It also makes mention to students competing in the class for the best results thus leaving out many students who feel let down by their education. This could change where students become more able to assess their learning thus far and be able to change that. I feel that the acknowledgment for my students that their learning is an ongoing passage through their course they (including myself) can regularly assess how they (and myself) are acquiring the knowledge to succeed thus helping both parties.