Effective teaching depends on preparation. Here are eight things to do at the beginning of the semester to help yourself have a rewarding and enjoyable teaching experience.
1. Content: Find out what the department expects you to teach and what materials you are expected to use. Review the curriculum or textbook to get a roadmap of the semester as a whole. Working through the curriculum should be a process of discovery for the students, but not for the instructor.
2. Method: Find out what teaching approach you are expected to use. Are you expected to stick closely to the textbook, or to bring in outside materials to supplement? Is your teaching practice expected to be more learner centered or more teacher centered? Are you expected to teach grammar overtly, or just explain it as it comes up in various contexts?
3. Students: Find out what level your students will be. If they are “second year” or “intermediate,” ask what that means. What have they studied previously? What materials have they used? This will let you know what to expect from them.
4. Plan: Outline a plan for the semester, even if the department has given you a plan. Know when and how you will introduce new material and when and how you will review. What will you do when you get behind? It always happens.
5. Orientation: Find out what facilities are available for students and where they are: language lab, computer lab, library. Make a reference card for yourself with the hours when labs are open. Then, when students ask, you won’t look like a doofus.
6. Relationships: Learn the names of your students as soon as you can. Use their names when talking with them and when giving language examples in class. Attending to your students as individuals will help you assess their progress more effectively. Also, if students believe that you care about them, they will care about you.
7. Expectations: Ask how much and what kind of homework is usually given to students at the level you are teaching. Find out what expectations the department has for frequency and type of testing. Let your students know what the expectations are in these areas.
8. Guidance: Ask your supervisor or another experienced instructor to serve as your mentor. A mentor can review your plan for the semester before classes start to be sure you’re on the right track, and can meet with you on a regular basis throughout the semester to answer questions and give you support when you need it. Having a mentor is especially important toward the end of the first semester of teaching, when many teachers begin to feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or frustrated.
Learning to communicate in another language takes a long time. It is one of the most challenging tasks your students are likely to undertake, and they can easily become discouraged and bored with it. This section presents techniques that language teachers can use to keep their students interested and motivated by helping them understand the language acquisition process, connect language learning with their larger educational and life goals, and succeed as language learners.
A self-evaluation worksheet, available in pdf format, allows instructors to assess their current and potential motivation techniques. A supervisor observation worksheet enables supervisors to support instructors' development of such techniques.
In language classrooms in the United States, instruction focuses on the learner and the learning process. The instructor creates a learning environment that resembles as much as possible the one in which students learned their first language. Students participate in the learning process by establishing learning goals, developing and choosing learning strategies, and evaluating their own progress. In the classroom, students attend to models provided by the instructor (input) and then build on those models as they use language themselves (output). Classroom activities incorporate real-world situations.
Learner-centered instruction encourages students to take responsibility for their own language skill development and helps them gain confidence in their ability to learn and use the language. Teachers support students by devoting some class time to non-traditional activities, including teaching learners how to use learning strategies (see Motivating Students), how to use available tools and resources, and how to reflect on their own learning (see Assessing Learning).
Many U.S. students have had experience with learner-centered instruction and expect it to be used in their classrooms. Students who are accustomed to more traditional teacher-centered instruction may resist the learner-centered model at first because it expects them to be more involved in the learning process. However, when they discover that learner-centered instruction enables them to develop real-world language skills while having fun, they usually become enthusiastic participants.
For further discussion of learner-centered instruction, see Models of Language Teaching in What Language Teaching Is.
Language instructors at the university level in the United States are often in one of three situations:
These instructors often must begin their work in the classroom with little or no guidance to help them appreciate which methods work, how, and why. In response, they may fall back on an outdated model for understanding language teaching and language learning.
Older model: Language learning is a product of transmission. Teacher transmits knowledge. Learner is recipient.
This teacher-centered model views the teacher as active and the student as fundamentally passive. The teacher is responsible for transmitting all of the information to the students. The teacher talks; the students listen and absorb (or take a nap).
The teacher-centered model may be attractive to new language instructors for several reasons:
However, experienced language instructors who reflect on their teaching practice have observed that the teacher-centered model has two major drawbacks:
To overcome these drawbacks, language teaching professionals in the United States and elsewhere have adopted a different model of teaching and learning.
Newer model: Language learning is a process of discovery. Learner develops ability to use the language for specific communication purposes. Teacher models language use and facilitates students' development of language skills.
In this learner-centered model, both student and teacher are active participants who share responsibility for the student's learning. Instructor and students work together to identify how students expect to use the language. The instructor models correct and appropriate language use, and students then use the language themselves in practice activities that simulate real communication situations. The active, joint engagement of students and teacher leads to a dynamic classroom environment in which teaching and learning become rewarding and enjoyable.
Language instructors who have never experienced learner-centered instruction can find it daunting in several ways.
This final point is an important one. In fact, in an effective learner-centered classroom, the instructor has planned the content of all activities, has set time limits on them, and has set them in the context of instructor-modeled language use. The instructor is not always the center of attention, but is still in control of students' learning activities.
This site is designed to help new language instructors become comfortable with learner-centered instruction and put it into practice in their classrooms. The pages on Teaching Goals and Methods, Planning a Lesson, and Motivating Learners provide guidelines and examples for putting learner-centered instruction into practice. The pages on Teaching Grammar, Teaching Listening, Teaching Speaking, and Teaching Reading illustrate learner-centered instruction in relation to each of these modalities.
For a set of learner-centered instruction techniques, see Guidelines for Instruction in Teaching Goals and Methods.
Reflective practice is aided by the use of a professional portfolio. A teaching portfolio is a record of a teacher’s classroom performance, development as a teacher, and building of coherence through reflective practice.
To allow a teacher to track personal development
Section 1: Background and philosophy
Section 2: Documentation of performance
Section 3: Evaluations
A teaching portfolio can be a valuable tool for you as a language instructor. The reflective work that goes into producing it will encourage you to clarify for yourself what you are doing and why. It will also help you understand the professional value of teaching.
Your teaching portfolio will allow you to present both your language teaching philosophy and the best or most interesting examples of its application in the classroom. Your portfolio should not be a static collection that you develop once and never revise; you should review and update it every year so that it reflects your growth as a language teaching professional.
One of the most challenging tasks for language instructors is finding effective ways to determine what and how much their students are actually learning. Instructors need to think carefully about what kinds of knowledge their tests allow students to demonstrate.
This section provides guidance on ways of using traditional tests and alternative forms of assessment. Popup windows on the Alternative Assessment page illustrate the use of checklists and rubrics for evaluation. The page on the ACTFL Guidelines includes popup windows on specific languages.
Traditional pencil-and-paper tests ask students to read or listen to a selection and then answer questions about it, or to choose or produce a correct grammatical form or vocabulary item. Such tests can be helpful as measures of students' knowledge of language forms and their listening and reading comprehension ability.
However, instructors need to consider whether these tests are accurate reflections of authentic language use. The tests usually do not present reading comprehension and listening comprehension questions until after students have read or listened to the selection. In real life, however, people know what information they are seeking before they read or listen. That is, they have specific information gaps in mind as they begin, and those gaps define the purpose for reading or listening.
To make language tests more like authentic listening and reading activities, instructors can give students the comprehension questions before they listen to or read the selection. This procedure sets up the information gaps that students will then seek to fill as they listen or read.
Instructors also need to be careful about what pencil-and-paper tests are actually testing. A quiz on which students listen to a selection and then respond to written questions is testing reading ability as well as listening skills and will give a lower-than-appropriate score for students whose oral comprehension is stronger than their reading comprehension. A test on which students read a selection and then answer multiple-choice questions is testing their knowledge of the language used in the questions as well as that used in the selection itself. If the language used in the questions is not keyed to students' proficiency level, the test will not reflect their ability accurately.
Language instructors also encounter students who do well on pencil-and-paper tests of grammar and sentence structure, but make mistakes when using the same forms in oral interaction. In such cases, the test is indicating what students know about the language, but is not providing an accurate measure of what they are able to actually do with it.
When the goal of language instruction is the development of communicative competence, instructors can supplement (or, in some cases, replace) traditional tests with alternative assessment methods that provide more accurate measures of progress toward communication proficiency goals. This can be done by combining formative and summative types of assessment.
Alternative assessment uses activities that reveal what students can do with language, emphasizing their strengths instead of their weaknesses. Alternative assessment instruments are not only designed and structured differently from traditional tests, but are also graded or scored differently. Because alternative assessment is performance based, it helps instructors emphasize that the point of language learning is communication for meaningful purposes.
Alternative assessment methods work well in learner-centered classrooms because they are based on the idea that students can evaluate their own learning and learn from the evaluation process. These methods give learners opportunities to reflect on both their linguistic development and their learning processes (what helps them learn and what might help them learn better). Alternative assessment thus gives instructors a way to connect assessment with review of learning strategies.
Features of alternative assessment:
Successful use of alternative assessment depends on using performance tasks that let students demonstrate what they can actually do with language. Fortunately, many of the activities that take place in communicative classrooms lend themselves to this type of assessment. These activities replicate the kinds of challenges, and allow for the kinds of solutions, that learners would encounter in communication outside the classroom.
The following criteria define authentic assessment activities:
With alternative assessment, students are expected to participate actively in evaluating themselves and one another. Learners who are used to traditional teacher-centered classrooms have not been expected to take responsibility for assessment before and may need time to adjust to this new role. They also may be skeptical that peers can provide them with feedback that will enhance their learning.
Instructors need to prepare students for the use of alternative assessments and allow time to teach them how to use them, so that alternative assessment will make an effective contribution to the learning process.
As students find they benefit from evaluating themselves and their peers, the instructor can expand the amount of alternative assessment used in the classroom.
Effective alternative assessment relies on observations that are recorded using checklists and rubrics.
Checklists are often used for observing performance in order to keep track of a student's progress or work over time. They can also be used to determine whether students have met established criteria on a task.
To construct a checklist, identify the different parts of a specific communication task and any other requirements associated with it. Create a list of these with columns for marking yes and no.
For example, using a resource list provided by the instructor, students contact and interview a native speaker of the language they are studying, then report back to the class. In the report, they are to
Students are told that they will need to speak for a minimum of three minutes and that they may refer only to minimal notes while presenting. A checklist for assessing students' completion of the task is shown in the popup window.
Checklists can be useful for classroom assessment because they are easy to construct and use, and they align closely with tasks. At the same time, they are limited in that they do not provide an assessment of the relative quality of a student's performance on a particular task.Rubrics
Whereas a checklist simply provides an indication of whether a specific criterion, characteristic, or behavior is present, a rubric provides a measure of quality of performance on the basis of established criteria. Rubrics are often used with benchmarks or samples that serve as standards against which student performance is judged.
Rubrics are primarily used for language tasks that involve some kind of oral or written production on the part of the student. It is possible to create a generic rubric that can be used with multiple speaking or writing tasks, but assessment is more accurate when the instructor uses rubrics that are fitted to the task and the goals of instruction.
There are four main types of rubrics.
1. Holistic rubrics
Holistic scales or rubrics respond to language performance as a whole. Each score on a holistic scale represents an overall impression; one integrated score is assigned to a performance. The emphasis in holistic scoring is on what a student does well.
Holistic rubrics commonly have four or six points. The popup window shows a sample four-point holistic scale created for the purposes of assessing writing performance.
A well-known example of a holistic scale is the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines (1986). However, the ACTFL guidelines are not appropriate for classroom use, because they are intended for large-scale assessment of overall proficiency and are not designed necessarily to align with curricular objectives or classroom instruction.
Holistic scoring is primarily used for large-scale assessment when a relatively quick yet consistent approach to scoring is necessary. It is less useful for classroom purposes because it provides little information to students about their performance.
2. Analytic rubrics
Analytic scales are divided into separate categories representing different aspects or dimensions of performance. For example, dimensions for writing performance might include content, organization, vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics. Each dimension is scored separately, then dimension scores are added to determine an overall score.
Analytic rubrics have two advantages:
However, analytic scoring has also been criticized because the parts do not necessarily add up to the whole. Providing separate scores for different dimensions of a student's writing or speaking performance does not give the teacher or the student a good assessment of the whole of a performance.
3. Primary trait rubrics
In primary trait scoring, the instructor predetermines the main criterion or primary trait for successful performance of a task. This approach thus involves narrowing the criteria for judging performance to one main dimension.
For example, consider a task that requires that a student write a persuasive letter to an editor of the school newspaper. A possible primary trait rubric for this task is shown in the popup window.
This kind of rubric has the advantage of allowing teachers and students to focus on one aspect or dimension of language performance. It is also a relatively quick and easy way to score writing or speaking performance, especially when a teacher wants to emphasize one specific aspect of that performance.
4. Multitrait rubrics
The multitrait approach is similar to the primary trait approach but allows for rating performance on three or four dimensions rather than just one. Multitrait rubrics resemble analytic rubrics in that several aspects are scored individually. However, where an analytic scale includes traditional dimensions such as content, organization, and grammar, a multitrait rubric involves dimensions that are more closely aligned with features of the task.
For example, on an information-gap speaking task where students are asked to describe a picture in enough detail for a listener to choose it from a set of similar pictures, a multitrait rubric would include dimensions such as quality of description, fluency, and language control, as the example in the popup window shows.
Instructors should plan to introduce alternative forms of assessment gradually, in conjunction with traditional forms of testing. Using a combination of alternative assessments and more traditional measures allows the instructor to compare results and obtain a more comprehensive picture of students' language performance than either alternative or traditional measures alone would provide.
At first, the instructor should use checklists and rubrics to evaluate student performance but not ask students to do self and peer evaluation. When creating checklists and rubrics, instructors can ask students to provide input on the criteria that should be included in each. This approach gives the instructor time to become more comfortable with the use of alternative assessments, while modeling their use for students. The process helps students understand how they will benefit from alternative assessment and how they can use it effectively.
Because alternative assessment depends on direct observation, instructors can most easily begin to use it when evaluating students' writing assignments and individual speaking tasks such as presentations. Once an instructor has reached a level of comfort with checklists and rubrics, they can also be used when observing students interacting in small groups. When doing this, however, the instructor needs to be aware that group dynamics will have an effect on the performance of each individual.
Once students are familiar with the use of checklists and rubrics for evaluation, they can gradually begin to assess their own learning and provide feedback to their peers. This aspect of alternative assessment can easily be included in the evaluation segment of a lesson (see Planning a Lesson). In classrooms where traditional forms of assessment are required, this gives the instructor multiple ways of measuring progress without increasing the time students spend taking traditional tests.
One of the ways in which students internalize the characteristics of quality work is by evaluating the work of their peers. However, if they are to offer helpful feedback, students must have a clear understanding of what they are to look for in their peers' work. The instructor must explain expectations clearly to them before they begin.
One way to make sure students understand this type of evaluation is to give students a practice session with it. The instructor provides a sample writing or speaking assignment. As a group, students determine what should be assessed and how criteria for successful completion of the communication task should be defined. Then the instructor gives students a sample completed assignment. Students assess this using the criteria they have developed, and determine how to convey feedback clearly to the fictitious student.
Students can also benefit from using rubrics or checklists to guide their assessments. At first these can be provided by the instructor; once the students have more experience, they can develop them themselves. An example of a peer editing checklist for a writing assignment is given in the popup window. Notice that the checklist asks the peer evaluator to comment primarily on the content and organization of the essay. It helps the peer evaluator focus on these areas by asking questions about specific points, such as the presence of examples to support the ideas discussed.
For peer evaluation to work effectively, the learning environment in the classroom must be supportive. Students must feel comfortable and trust one another in order to provide honest and constructive feedback. Instructors who use group work and peer assessment frequently can help students develop trust by forming them into small groups early in the semester and having them work in the same groups throughout the term. This allows them to become more comfortable with each other and leads to better peer feedback.
Students can become better language learners when they engage in deliberate thought about what they are learning and how they are learning it. In this kind of reflection, students step back from the learning process to think about their language learning strategies and their progress as language learners. Such self assessment encourages students to become independent learners and can increase their motivation.
The successful use of student self assessment depends on three key elements:
Goal setting is essential because students can evaluate their progress more clearly when they have targets against which to measure their performance. In addition, students' motivation to learn increases when they have self-defined, and therefore relevant, learning goals.
At first, students tend to create lofty long-range goals ("to speak Russian)" that do not lend themselves to self assessment. To help students develop realistic, short-term, attainable goals, instructors can use a framework like SMART goals outline shown in the popup window.
One way to begin the process of introducing students to self-assessment is to create student-teacher contracts. Contracts are written agreements between students and instructors, which commonly involve determining the number and type of assignments that are required for particular grades. For example, a student may agree to work toward the grade of "B" by completing a specific number of assignments at a level of quality described by the instructor. Contracts can serve as a good way of helping students to begin to consider establishing goals for themselves as language learners.
Students do not learn to monitor or assess their learning on their own; they need to be taught strategies for self monitoring and self assessment. Techniques for teaching students these strategies are parallel to those used for teaching learning strategies (see Motivating Learners). The instructor models the technique (use of a checklist or rubric, for example); students then try the technique themselves; finally, students discuss whether and how well the technique worked and what to do differently next time.
In addition to checklists and rubrics for specific communication tasks, students can also use broader self-assessment tools to reflect on topics they have studied, skills they have learned, their study habits, and their sense of their overall strengths and weaknesses. An example of such a tool appears in the popup window.
Students can share their self-assessments with a peer or in a small group, with instructions that they compare their impressions with other criteria such as test scores, teacher evaluations, and peers' opinions. This kind of practice helps students to be aware of their learning. It also informs the teacher about students' thoughts on their progress, and gives the teacher feedback about course content and instruction.
เทคนิค คือ กลวิธีต่างๆ ที่ใช้เสริมกระบวนการ ขั้นตอน วิธีการ หรือการกระทำใดๆ เพื่อช่วยให้ กระบวน การ ขั้นตอน วิธีการ หรือการกระทำนั้นๆ มีคุณภาพและประสิทธิภาพมากขึ้น ดังนั้น เทคนิค การสอน จึงหมายถึง กลวิธีต่างๆ ที่ใช้เสริมกระบวนการสอน ขั้นตอนการสอน วิธีการสอน หรือการดำเนิน การทางการสอนใดๆ เพื่อช่วยให้การสอนมีคุณภาพและประสิทธิภาพมากขึ้น เช่น ในการบรรยาย ผู้สอนอาจ ใช้เทคนิคต่างๆ ที่สามารถช่วยให้การบรรยายมีคุณภาพและประสิทธิภาพมากขึ้น เช่น การยกตัวอย่าง การใช้ สื่อ การใช้คำถาม เป็นต้น
ทักษะการสอน คือ ความสามารถในการปฏิบัติการสอนด้านต่างๆ อย่างชำนาญซึ่งครอบคลุม การวางแผนการเรียนการสอน การออกแบบการเรียนการสอน การจัดการเรียนการสอน การใช้วิธีสอน เทคนิคการสอน รูปแบบการเรียนการสอน ระบบการสอน สื่อการสอนการประเมินผลการเรียนการสอน รวมทั้งการใช้ทฤษฎีและหลักการเรียนรู้และการสอนต่างๆ
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