Blog topics for September and October 2016

Many thanks for all of your blog posts in July and August this year! For those of you going back to school this month, we wish a great new academic year! 

Our four new topics for September and October 2016 look at the theme of 'assessing learning' and ask you to think about some of the ways we can assess learners and the effects and implications of assessment. 

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Vicky Saumell: Using rubrics to assess projects

We have been using PBL for 6 years already and one of the most difficult aspects to work on has been assessment. After a few trial-and-error takes on project assessment, I decided to stick with rubrics.

A rubric is a document that clearly states the expectations for an assignment, task or project by listing the criteria and levels of achievement or performance.

Average: 4 (2 votes)

David Petrie: Exam classes - keeping the balance

The answer to that question will obviously differ depending on the students, their previous learning experience, what they do in their free time and what their strengths and weaknesses are in English, but the one thing that none of them will need or benefit from is exam practice.
This might be a slightly controversial thing to claim as exam practice does form the mainstay of many exam preparation courses, teachers often see it as having value and students seem to want it.  A 2010 study (Perrone) found that exam practice in FCE classes rose from
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Symbols:Incorporating the Real World Into ELT.

Nina MK, Ph.D.
When I hear about symbols, the first association is always with Dan Brown’s novels. “The Da Vinci Code” acquainted us with the unusual occupation of symbologist. The main hero Robert Langdon is a professor who deals with various symbols and thus helps solve many complicated problems in real life. The novels and especially the films with Tom Hanks as the lead helped popularize the whole concept of using symbols as a means to learn the meaning of incomprehensible phenomena and events.

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Larry Ferlazzo: Strategies for self assessment

Carol Dweck, the psychologist well-known for her work on a growth mindset suggests that creating opportunities for students to clearly see for themselves the growth in their own knowledge can help give them a

Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

Vicky Saumell: The role of methodologies and approaches in organic lessons

Over the years, I have found that due to my own beliefs about the teaching and learning processes, I tend to favour certain strategies over others. However, I can say that my lessons usually include an eclectic mix. The question is “How does this mix come about?”

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David Petrie: Space for spontaneity

It was the Polish academic Alfred Korzybski who famously said “The map is not the territory”, in the context of the developing field of general semantics. His phrase has since been widely used, even to promote holidays and to sell cars, but at its core it represents the fundamental difference between our perception of a thing and the reality of the thing itself.

The education version of Korzybski’s dictum might be: “The plan is not the lesson”.

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The 'Real' Test

A 'real world' assessment is an assessment adjusted to your students' everyday/professional experience. It is supposed to indicate the odds to succeed in their current or desired environment. Therefore, it should not be separate from the learning process, but rather an integral part of it. This is the reason to consider using portfolio instead of standardized tests.
So what is the assessment process like?

It is very much like a ping-pong game between the students and the teacher. To illustrate my point I would like to list the steps of such process and a case description.

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