Comment on @CeciELT’s blog post: ‘My (Initial) Two Cents Worth on Assessing Students…’

31 07 2011

mcneilmahon July 31, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Hi Cecilia,

Sorry couldn’t make either of your contributions to #RSCON3 but thanks for the post to give us a taste of your thoughts.

Reading the early paragraphs makes me wonder whether assessment didn’t get a bad name because of the forwardwash caused by education systems and curriculum based on fact retention. I have always been struck by not just the amount of learning demanded of my Czech and now Argentine students in their schools but also the lack of thinking it inspires.

I remember hating having to put myself in the shoes of a loom operator soon after the industrial revolution hit Britain and write a diary entry detailing impressions of a day in my life (and I scored much worse at this kind of task than the fact recall types) but I now appreciate how valuable those attempts at developing my critical thinking skills were.

Before we change the assessment, perhaps we need to change the curriculum and the forwardwash effect it has?


Songs To Success…and Beyond!

31 07 2011

Songs To Success – Click here for handout

and beyond! – Click here for handout

Songs to Success was the very first workshop I ever presented, all those years ago in the Czech Republic – IATEFL 1998 in Plzen if my memory serves me right.  Obviously music and song in the EFL classroom have come a long way since those first nervous ideas were shared with a gym full of voracious Czech secondary school teachers.

I then repeated and extended the session at a Teachers’ Centre workshop at IH Prague in 2001 – check out the handout ‘and Beyond!’ above for the extra ideas in this handout.  Both sessions are over ten years old now, but still some of the ideas you’ll find on the handouts above are my fave activities when using songs in the classroom – they definitely work a treat.

What are your faves?  Please do share an activity you use with songs in return for sharing mine.  Looking forward to hearing your comments and as always if you’d like further explanation of any of the ideas on the handout just let me know in a comment.

Happy singing!

The Drill Bit

31 07 2011

The Drill Bit was a workshop I presented first off at the ABS International Conference for the Professional Development of Teachers in February 2009.  I repeated it as an International House Teachers Workshop at IH Belgrano during induction week that March.

Some of us love drilling and some of us hate it, but every student I’ve ever taught (and they must be reaching four figures by now) has appreciated a bit of judicious drilling at some point in their learning careers.

I’m a big fan, are you?

Enjoy the activities, do the poll and drop me a line with your ideas about drilling.  Take care.

The Drill Bit – Click here for handout