Reflections on authenticity in teaching and learning
Well, after 5 weeks of our pre-intermediate General English course we have just completed out mid-term tests. Students have already done 4 peer tests. At the beginning, with a little encouragement that it is OK for them to do so, students were keen to negotiate and write their own rules for the tests. They are:
Our other observations are:
The results of the peer tests so far show an average score of 31 out of 40 (76%). In their formal grammar and vocabulary test they have just completed the average score was 32 out of 50 (64%).
We have decided to have a session next week to have a discussion of their progress so far and to give them (and us) a chance to find out how they feel about the experience so far and to compare the peer tests with the formal mid-course test set by the teacher.
There has already been some discussion in the class. I allowed them to talk in Arabic to allow them to express themselves clearly without linguistic constraints and without them feeling judged by the teacher. I do not speak/understand Arabic besides the basics but the response seemed overwhelmingly positive. The intonation used seemed to indicate that the majority of the students are enjoying it and feel they’re getting a lot out of this type of test. One or two seemed to offer alternative opinions and at this point other students chimed in, it seemed, to convince them. It was an animated debate with even the more reticent students offering their opinions and joining in the discussion. It seemed everybody had something to say!
We will also be asking students to write about their feelings in the session. This is to offer them a chance to express their opinions in a more personal, private way and also to give us recorded responses to the trial that we can refer to in the future.
So watch this space, there’s more to come…
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