Teach English in Chenzhuang Zhen - Zibo Shi

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An ESL course requires a lot of time and effort from both the teacher and the students. It is therefore essential to include evaluation and testing at the beginning and throughout the course in order to show that progress has been made from the original language level of the students. Placement testing helps teachers group students in classes of similar strengths. Diagnostic testing then assists teachers in further tailoring the lesson plan in order to challenge the students at the appropriate level. Progress and practice tests can be taken throughout the course in order to show that the issues these students were experiencing with the language have been addressed and understood. Furthermore, they show that the lessons can be applied to external tests that the students may be interested in taking after completion of the course. I will further explore these types of evaluations and how they are integral to the success of an ESL course within this summative task. Placement tests, conducted before the start of a course, inform the students of their true language level baseline. If a teacher was appointed to instruct a class made up of students at vastly different levels, he or she would likely be spread too thin and would struggle with preparing enough activities. However, when a class is made up of students experiencing the same issues with the language, teachers can prepare material that would engage and challenge the whole group. The students will be able to work in large groups and the lesson plan will be streamlined and much more enjoyable for the teacher to present. Diagnostic tests are similar to placement tests because they are completed by the students before any major language lessons have taken place. However, diagnostic tests are designed to take a closer look at the trends of errors and confusion in the class group. Diagnostic tests can also provide the teacher with the students’ goals and expectations of the course, and if a teacher can keep those things in mind throughout the course they will have greater success with motivating the students to complete their work. At the end of a lesson or lesson series, a short tutorial can give the class a chance to discuss the major takeaways of the language point and how close the class came to meeting the goals of the lesson. The students can ask questions about concepts they might not fully understand, and the teacher can point out specific tasks the students struggled with so that they can continue to work on the concepts outside of class. With a clear picture of what is correct and what is expected, students will have more confidence and incentive to work on language skills they have not yet mastered. Tutorials can be conducted individually or can be a more informal discussion with the entire class. This is comparable to another evaluation method: evaluation by the students. Through an informal discussion or the completion of questionnaires, students can provide feedback to the teacher on the balance and pace of the course. This student evaluation will typically result in some adjustments to future lessons and provide the students with a way to communicate how they feel about their progress in the course. Being involved with the course path will keep the students engaged with individual lessons, and the teacher will have more realistic expectations of the students if the course is tailored to their individual needs. Progress tests are a great way for students to review the information they have learned so far in a course. They involve all four skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) and will inform teachers and students alike on what language points have been forgotten. Progress tests can be intimidating if given in a formal way, but they can be as simple and casual as a conversation with the class. The course will only truly be a success if the students can retain the information they have learned; progress tests can serve as a sort of wake-up call for students who have trouble remembering what they learned a few weeks ago. Practice tests will follow the format of external examinations, like the Cambridge Assessments, IELTS, and Trinity College London ESOL Skills for Life (U) exam, so that students can show potential employers, universities, and immigration authorities that they have the language skills necessary to excel in a desired position, college, or country. Though these practice tests aren’t focused on the current course, they will motivate students to apply themselves completely to lessons because they will be reminded of their larger goals which are more tangible than a letter grade in a language course. It can be very difficult to learn a new language, but a student can review their test results and be assured that progress has been made. Teachers, likewise, benefit from evaluation and testing because at times it can be hard to gauge the true language level of all students through informal conversations and activities. Testing and evaluations can inform the teacher on which adjustments should be made to the lesson plan in order to keep pace with the students’ progress. A course, after all, is only successful if the students can retain and utilize their new knowledge.