Listening and understanding spoken speech may be quite a challenge for any student. They may read, write, translate and even speak fluently, but whenever they are up against a listening comprehension task they may freeze, hover in uncertainty or even stop reacting. There are a few strategies which have been useful to me over the years, and which I share with my colleagues at any opportunity. Sometimes an EL teacher with decades of experience, who is used to conducting most of the lessons in their own mother tongue, would ask me for helpful tactics to overcome their own problems.
There are some terms that we often use synonymously, but actually they are not. When you assess your students, regardless of whether you use a test or not, you evaluate all the information in order to measure it and grade them.
Let´s make it clear:
-Assessment implies gathering information and observing progress. We can document attitudes, knowledge and skills.
Of the four major language skills, speaking and listening are by far the oldest forms of communication and pre-date formal human writing systems by tens of thousands of years (Brittanica, 2019). What does all that mean? In simplest terms, it means that speaking and listening are fundamental human communicative tools and since the beginning of humankind have been our most basic and primal way of conveying messages.
A popular saying goes ‘Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk’ In fact, most in the ELT field would agree that listening is one of the most frequently used skills from amongst the four skills ( i.e. Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening).
If we take a step back and think about it, we will conclude that we have to individualize the assessment and create a differentiated classroom.
“How much of homework that you give your students is listening?” This is a permanent sticky note addressed to myself that will never be removed from my “Organisation and Methodology” virtual board in MIRO, formerly known as Realtimeboard, which I use not only for my online lessons, but also for keeping myself focused on certain job-related issues.
I often tell my students that last lessons should be like first lessons as the beginning and end of year represent for me the two sides of the same coin. While we are celebrating the achievements of the nine-month learning journey we are at the same time getting ready to embark on a new one which will start after the summer break.
While we are celebrating the achievements of the nine-month learning journey we are at the same time getting ready to embark on a new one which will start after the summer break. Over the years, I've seen that my end of year lessons have shifted from purely language-related tasks (reading activities, vocabulary recap tasks, writing challenges) to ones which focus more on each student's individual learning journey, their reflection of the year that's passed, their thoughts on their areas of improvement/strength as well as challenges for the year ahead.
Assessment and grading are traditional indispensable staples of teaching and learning; it encompasses any subject and all the aspects of our work. Ideally it is supposed to show a student’s progress and our own ability to teach. In a simplified way, it goes like this: we “give” a topic, students do exercises and homework, regurgitate all the new knowledge in the classroom with various success. They get daily marks for every exercise fulfilled which produces an overall impression about the new material for us and for them.
But the cultural background of students has always been a core factor that could perplex teachers when they assess the students’ performance, especially in the linguistic domain. This means that teachers are to be aware of all the thorny issues that could impede the accurate assessment and assist students in making academic progression.