Information for teachers
Please | Register for more |, take the tests, and open the door to the next phase in your teaching career!
You are welcome to encourage your students to take these tests right here on this site. Many of them will certainly do so and indeed benefit from it in several ways. We know from vast experience.
Here's an alternative ...
As a teacher you are welcome to sign up for a private online course room for your class/es. There are obvious advantages:
You get all your students diagnosed in a quick and simple way You get easy access to all the test results You get excellent tools for individualization You get a fully furnished on-line course room as an extension to your physical one | Contact us now |
Here's how Marilyn uses the tests and the on-line course room ...
I have been teaching English in three different Asian countries in the past five years. My students are generally very diligent, well behaved, and eager to please. As I think it is frustrating to teach large groups, I have been trying to find ways of individualizing as much as possible.
Last year I made all my first-year students take the ForumEducation tests during the first week of the term. I also interviewed them one by one and got them to set their individual goals. Although I could point both to the test results and the interviews, it was hard work holding them back in order to make their proposed/negotiated goals realistic. At the end of the term my students and I had an open discussion about what had been good and what could be improved.
Here's a brief account of how I am now using the tests and my ForumEducation virtual course room with my current 47 first-year students:
All the students have taken the tests
During the first week the students took the four tests and the two self-assessment bits as a home assignment. They either used their own computers at home or went to the school library. They didn't seem to have any technical problems, and they seemed to understand the results tables and what they needed to focus on. They actually started a spontaneous discussion about the relationship between the test results and how they viewed their ability to communicate (speak).
We discussed the option of cheating, and they agreed that I would certainly detect any cheater.
This is indeed an excellent first week home assignment. It gives them a feeling of both freedom and responsibility, and we have concrete individual goals for their basic work.
All the students have set individual goals
Like last year I interviewed them (in English) one by one, and after negotiations they set their individual goals. We "signed" contracts. The students took on the task of doing their best and I promised to nudge them whenever I found that someone's work wasn't up to scratch. This means that as long as I don't act they know that they are working successfully towards their goals and that there will be no surprise grades.
I find that this year's students have already become much more aware of their goals. They seem to be learning to phrase their goals in concrete terms.
There is a terrific span in skills among them. Twelve students are so good already that they really don't have to do anything to get the top grade. They do want to improve and they need very special attention. My solution has been to ask my headmaster's permission to give them out-of-class assignments. Twelve students less in the classroom. What a relief!
As "the top twelve" are all planning to go to university after high school, we decided to kill two birds with one stone. Their first assignment was "learning and working strategies for self-reliant university studies". They used the ForumEducation materials on "self-reliant learning", they searched the Internet, they interviewed students at the university, and wrote papers that I corrected. To conclude the assignment they came to the classroom to report and to perform workshops with three students each.
The setup with individual basic study plans for everyone, with twelve students away, and more group work than before, I get much more time for communicative exercises and I can see the students one-on-one much more often. It is indeed a challenge to keep an eye on all of them. More than once have I asked myself the question "How much control do I need?" I think I am in the process of changing my teaching style from telling them as a group what to do, to guiding them as individuals.
The dynamics of interaction
As the students work individually on their basics on-line, consulting me or each other for feedback, we use much of the time we have in class for communication. We no longer have any old-fashioned homework, but they prepare their work in class with our weekly/monthly themes. They do this by listening to the news, reading the newspapers, and finding information on the Internet.
I am gaining experience in choosing themes, and one conclusion is that it is much better to let the students decide them! Our next theme has been decided: A Sustainable Future - For Whom?
I have really had to work quite hard, learning how to combine work on-line with work in class. In the beginning I had to brace myself as I knew they would come up with questions I wouldn't be able to answer and words I didn't know. I am slowly accepting that a teacher doesn't have to know everything as long as she is able to guide her students towards success.
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