Teach English in Lidian Zhen - Xiaogan Shi

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During the grammar lessons of learning English, the aspect of tenses is inevitable. Tenses could be past, present or future which could further be broken up into present past, simple present or future continuous just to highlight a few. The past tense is important because it gives one some background information of an event when such an event is assessed. Testing is a process that can be done using a particular scale say for example having figures with ranges of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). It is a process of administering the test on the learner in order to obtain a quantitative representation of a cognitive trait hence the teacher then measurers the learners progress and learning outcomes. There are different types of tests which may involve diagnostic (assess knowledge and skills in specific areas accrued from past experiences), progress (in specific areas), aptitude (predict probable future performance), placement (enable grouping by current ability) and proficiency (current knowledge and reference to future task) just to mention but a few. Evaluation is an application of measures which implies some judgement of the effectiveness, social utility or desirability of a programme; process or progress in terms of carefully defined and agreed upon objectives. A progress test for instance calls for the teacher to mark it shortly after giving the students, annotate and return to the students as soon as possible. Thereafter, remedial teaching should cover common areas of weaknesses. The frequency of the tests depends on the length of a particular course of lesson. For a shorter lesson an end of course test is sufficient. For a longer course a mid way progress test and at the end of the lesson or course one progress test suffices. The teacher, students (learners) as well as the course ought to be subjected to regular and evaluation. The exercise of evaluation or testing is necessary on the part of the learners in order to find out if the activity or course has been understood or grasped. This could entail the different areas of such an activity, lesson or course. The work of a teacher is to impart knowledge to the student using various ways and activities in a classroom. At the end of the course an assessment or evaluation is needed to ascertain the progress of the individual or group of students. This is in fact a way of determining a learners’ performance in a particular exercise, course or activity. Through the evaluation and testing, the weaker or stronger areas of a student are brought out and hence the teacher is able to address such shortcomings in the preceding lessons, courses and/or activities. The two main levels of evaluation include programme (determine whether a programme has been successfully implemented or not) and student evaluation (how well a student is performing in a programme of study). These are further split into formative and summative. The teacher too needs to be evaluated by the students. In this case the evaluation would point out where the teacher needs to improve either in his/her language presentation for instance, lesson planning or on the use of activities in the classroom. Usually many teachers would not want to carry out such an exercise but it is helpful because the students do not normally evaluate the teacher with any form of malice. Evaluation enables the teacher to ascertain the efficiency of a class activity or course. It includes recommendation for any constructive action in the classroom. It gives some evidence of effectiveness, suitability or goodness of a programme. When exercising various skills acquired over a teaching period, a teacher may use different authentic and non-authentic materials in the classroom. At times it might be too much or too little. If this is the case, then a teacher will need to review all the activities and materials more often so as to facilitate improvement on the same. In the end a teacher may develop one’s own syllabus that suits a particular group of students. Evaluation (using end of course questionnaire) of a programme, course, activity or lesson could bring about reliable decisions about educational planning which accrues from the particular lesson planning activities and case studies carried out by the teachers. It helps to ascertain the worth of time, energy and resources invested in a programme. Evaluation of students helps to identify their growth or lack of it in acquiring desirable knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. The teacher benefits through it in that, it helps to determine the effectiveness of his/her teaching techniques and learning materials. In the needs analysis, tests and evaluations help to motivate students to want to learn more as they discover progress or lack of it in some given tasks. The evaluations also help the employers or the administration with adequate information about the teachers’ effectiveness and skills needed. Evaluation and testing is a tool that is necessary in all aspects of human life not just on the educational aspect. One has to look back, adjust the present and hence project into the future. A language has numerous areas to look at from the basic alphabet to the most complicated language themes in Business English World for instance. This is why tests and evaluation play a great role and the necessity cannot be overemphasized. Not every learner likes tests or evaluations because it tends to divide students into those who are looked upon as smart and those who appear not clever. This has made students or teachers at times to ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ exam answers in order to pass and not be left behind. There are cases of exam results being cancelled because of such malpractice. There is need to device ways of testing or evaluating learners that does not give one group an edge over another. Another major problem with tests or evaluations of students is that the exams have become predictable and some teachers have used that to their advantage in drilling their students only on what will be examined.