Do teachers benefit from assessment literacy? Yes!

female student suffering from headache in library
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OK, I’m biased. I’ve worked in various curriculum and assessment roles for a pretty large chunk of my ELT career, so I’m inevitably going to beat the drum for language testing.

But it’s always bemuses me when assessment is painted as a scary, statistical, “cold” discipline that’s somehow in direct opposition to the learner-focused business of teaching. 

It shouldn’t be like that. 

Understanding the fundamentals of language testing (a.k.a assessment literacy) helps us identify good testing practice. Why is that important?  Because when done well, assessment enhances our students’ learning experience.

Long story short, understanding some basic assessment principles enables teachers to make informed decisions in the classroom. Here’s how:

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Now what?

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Several years ago, I decided I needed a new professional challenge. I duly resigned from my position as a curriculum and testing specialist in Ankara, upped sticks to Istanbul, and accepted a role in a brand-new university.

And I do mean brand-new.

At the time of my interview, the campus hadn’t been built or indeed, designed. In fact, I suspect the location hadn’t even been determined at that point – not ideal, as anyone familiar with the sprawling geography of Istanbul will know! Instead, the university’s temporary base was in the process of being transformed from its former guise as a corporate bank.

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Teaching gender in the ELT classroom

Following on from my previous post about the webinar I attended on gendered language, today I’m focusing on ELT classroom activities. These are ideas for ways we can promote the use of gender-neutral language in preference to gendered terms. For more discussion on this topic, it’s worth checking out Jemma Prior’s article for Voices magazine.

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Too PC for ELT? Definitely not.

This Guardian headline caught my eye yesterday evening:

Oxford Dictionaries amends ‘sexist’ definitions of the word ‘woman

When publishers of dictionaries – one of the most essential resources language learners trust for linguistic guidance – recognise that more needs to be done on gendered language, surely we as language teachers do too?

Continue reading “Too PC for ELT? Definitely not.”

Using Kiva in the ELT Classroom (Part 2)

 In my previous post, I shared a template lesson incorporating reading, speaking and language work based around the theme of microfinance using the Kiva website.

So in Part 2, here’s an assorted list of additional things you can do using Kiva (or indeed any similar site) – enjoy!

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An Integrated Skills Lesson Using Kiva (Part 1

Giving someone a helping handa leg up, or even helping someone get a foot in the door; whichever anatomy-based idiom you prefer, humans can be a pretty caring and altruistic bunch! Drawing on the idea of helping others, here’s a lesson I regularly teach based around the theme of microfinance. 

Continue reading “An Integrated Skills Lesson Using Kiva (Part 1”