Teach English in Tingzu Zhen - Ezhou Shi

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First we will have a look at Level testing and needs analysis. The first question we need to ask is, “What is a level test and what does it show?” What they should show, if they have been designed correctly, is the ability of the participant to use the language. Usually these level tests are graded, which means that they start off easy and progressively get harder. For example if the first ten questions are answered correctly the student would be placed at level two. If the next five or eight questions are answered correctly, the student would be placed at the level three. Often this is presented in the form of “Can do” statements. There are many different level descriptors, used by different examination and testing bodies. We will adopt a five-level scale being: Starter – Someone who has a basic command of the language required for a range of familiar situations. Elementary – Someone who has an effective, but limited command of the language in a range of familiar situations. Pre-intermediate - Someone who has a generally effective command of the language, in a range of situations and who can take part in discussions. Intermediate – Someone who has a good operational command of the language, in a wide range of real world situations and can participate effectively in discussions and meetings. Upper-Intermediate – Someone who has a full operational command of the language at a high level and in most situations can present an argument and use suasion. Having gained some knowledge of the student’s level from, the level test, the next step you can take is to carry out a needs analysis. This will give you an idea of the student’s previous learning experiences, what they will use English for and what they feel would be the most beneficial areas to study. This can be in the form of a simple questionnaire. Using the results from both these tests, you are now in a position to arrange your groupings. It is important for yourself as the teacher and for your students, that some regular form of testing or assessment of learning takes place. This will allow you to measure the efficiency of your program and allow your students to monitor their progress as well. It will also provide you with information to guide any modifications or improvements that can be made to your course. The next question is then, “What tests should you give and how often?” We will start by look at the type of tests which are available and what these tests are designed to do. A diagnostic test is designed to assess the students’ knowledge and skill in specific areas that have accrued due to past learning experience. These tests would take place before your course begins. A placement test is designed to enable you to group students by their current ability in a range areas rather than anything specific. These tests often take the form of multiple choice style questions to make the marking much quicker and easier. An aptitude test is designed to predict the students’ probate future performance on a course. They try to assess if the student will be able to use the language. An achievement test is designed to assess the students’ learning of a known body of work, for example the syllabus. They are usually designed to give a maximum discrimination between students, so that individual progress can be monitored. A Proficiency test is designed to assess the students’ current knowledge and reference this forward to some future task. For example. Will this student be able to study Medicine in the medium of English at university? A progress test is designed to assess students’ progress in learning specific areas taught in the class. They tend to be less formal than external achievement tests and are often created by the teacher. They can inform the teacher of the efficiency of their program and motivate students by their knowing what they don’t know. The teacher should always bear in mind, regardless of what test is given, that she/he ensures that, one, the tests are marked very shortly after they are given. Two, that they are annotated and returned to the students as soon as it is practicable and three, that some form of remedial teaching takes place to cover common areas of weakness indicated in terms of the test results. On completion of your course, particularly for the older age groups, it is advisable to do some form of evaluation. This is useful for a number of reasons. It will help you as the teacher, to evaluate your material and suggest improvements that you can make to it to better it. It gives your students an opportunity to feedback on your course and evaluate its efficiency, against your initial stated aims. It can sometime be difficult for teachers to ask their students to give feedback on their teaching but your will find that the information they give you, both good and bad, will be very valuable. Finally it provides you with useful information that can form the basis of a report that you can give to your employer, which they can expect from you. Rather than giving your own personal general impressions, you can show them the students’ feedback and comments. An efficient way to gather this information is through the use of an end of course questionnaire. On it you should list the initial aims of the course and ask them to rate the various aspects of the course on a scale. On it you should also provide blank lines for them to write down any further comments that they feel is necessary. You could also ask students to list their suggestions for improvements.