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Having used formative assessment in my class before and been given written and verbal feedback on this, I feel this is a great method to check my students’ understanding of the subject matter at various stages of their foreign language teaching course. Of course, my formative assessment procedure needs work, and getting to know how much of the subject matter the students have processed is a major factor of myself succeeding in my class and developing educationally. My course and the modules within it are on a set time limit and students have some difficult days of study absorbing all the information as within their 20 hours of study they have many modules to complete. From this it means that students must be able to comprehend the subject matter; take in all that the teacher offers and be able to show this in their practice teaching. Although I am fundamentally teaching the basics of TEFL and what they essentially need to begin their first teaching experience, I still need to give them more than enough information to achieve this. This leads me to improve on my approach, method, and techniques to enhance the learning experience, so that each and every student has grasped the subject matter of the module, and can walk away after the course feeling they have the confidence and the knowledge to prepare for their first teaching assignment while at the same time the knowledge they have gained will inject that incentive to further their studies and their teaching. As well as improving on my delivery and content, I would like to see the students’ collaboration heightened during the formative assessment. By formative assessment, I not only need to know the content delivered is valuable but also to see students showing others what they have learnt and recognising what others have learnt that they may not have noticed. This I feel can be enhanced by formative assessment of each module during the course.
The first aspect of formative assessment is that it focuses on the feedback received which will then be used to adjust the students’ learning and make positive changes. This puts the focus on meaningful formative assessment such as ‘when students are involved in the process through peer and self-assessment’ (Black & Wiliam,1998). Furthermore, formative assessment will judge the students’ comprehension of each module over the period of study. Important to this research is to collate what concepts and skills the students have found to be most important while showing which ones they should have recognised. This highlights the fact of mastery of learning that by showing that they have identified concepts and skills students can progress which confidence. Various formative assessments will be completed over the students’ course of study; written and verbal feedback will be taken. This will form the bulk of my research.
When it comes to the students’ actual practice teaching, the method of research will be achieved by direct observation. This will observe those aspects of teaching that highlight clear instruction, lesson content, delivery, time, and action. Although this will be reactive observation, no judgments will be made on their teaching but this will be used as a statement of progress. Observation forms will be filled out and given to the students. Paired with each formative assessment are specific “corrective” activities for students to use in correcting their learning difficulties (Guksky, 2005, pg4). This formative assessment research will focus on the students collaborating in group activities to help their development; therefore, I must differentiate the students’ instruction, both in their initial teaching and especially through corrective activities (Bloom, 1976).
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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.
My university research paper focused on classroom formative assessment. The research question was: which methods of formative assessment do trainee foreign language teachers find helps them best with their ongoing studies that consequently has a bearing on them using formative assessment as new teachers?
My intention was to gather knowledge of the students’ learning, be it positive or negative, to further their studies and also help improve my teaching as a whole. I also sought to observe and study the students performing each formative assessment focusing on them working with pairs, groups, and individually. I was hoping that it would show me how the students collaborated and gave peer-to-peer knowledge and encouragement that would enhance each of their ongoing development. All this would have to be done in an environment that was conducive to asking questions, acquiring answers, and problem-solving. Students would be asked to contribute where honest answers were given (within pairs, groups, and the class), but not to the detriment of those students, but wholeheartedly to a mentality that all participants help create a better learning environment.
I feel this research and the methods I adopted for it proved that formative assessment is a viable and very important part of each of the students’ classroom sessions. The large proportion of positive feedback and data I retrieved showed that students were benefiting from the experience of each of the formative assessments. I feel this showed that the values of formative assessment far outweigh, for example, summative tests that just test what the students have learnt at the end of the term (and methods like this) that do not highlight where the students are going wrong or having trouble and how to rectify this. I believe the students showed they were aptly able to perform the formative tasks and marry their knowledge with other people thus encouraging dialogue that was better for all involved.
The expectation of the research was to further my knowledge of the students’ learning and to further their progression in formative assessment and the session subject matter. The goal of the research was to gather vital feedback on methods used to aid the students in contributing to their advancement by formative measures that highlighted material that developed their studies; notwithstanding specific missing information in their ongoing studies. Various formative methods were used to help the students’ knowledge. The importance of formative assessment pushes the boundaries of the scope of the knowledge the teacher has of their students’ learning that reflects upon their ongoing development of their presentation of each lesson and the approach to the students’ learning. I firmly believe this additional impact of knowing so much more about all factors within a class adds so much value to the existing store of knowledge that the teacher has of their students and the teacher themselves. This deeper understanding has so many positive contributions to all.
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