However, being involved in teacher training gives me the chance to keep up to date with new practices and techniques, as well as relevant literature. In addition, as I have been a teacher for many years, and have taught different ages and levels in different contexts, I feel I can share my experience with others.
When I was an English student I always coached my classmates, and helped them prepare for progress tests or final exams.
Becoming an English teacher therefore seemed the natural thing to do and I have never considered any other career. The aim is to create an English-environment classroom where English is the main language of communication — notice boards should be in English, and even any music played should feature English lyrics.
Immersion gives everyone the opportunity to improve their English skills, explains Ana, noting that the English classroom might be one of the only environments in which students are exposed to the target language, and that this exposure can be extended if teachers also use English when communicating with students outside the classroom, through social media for example.
In addition, the use of native language may be the best option in certain contexts — for example to save time when checking understanding of instructions, or with regard to more advanced speakers when comparing common features or differences between L1 and L2.
In this context, the use of sub-titled films, or books published in both languages, can be useful. In addition, L1 should not be discouraged if the student wants to talk about personal or performance matters, conversations which also help build rapport between teacher and student. I particularly found the exhibition very useful; it was a great way of finding out about different publications, especially from the British Council, and to discover information on further training and professional development for teachers.
If there is one thing that the Conference inspired in me it was the desire to continue learning and studying the many different and exciting aspects of language teaching. Cristina shows a good understanding of all the assessment types and the impact they have on teachers and students alike. She demonstrates that assessment literate teachers are able to help their students be more confident in the assessment process.
We are also given an interesting insight into how assessment is helping to standardise teaching methods and exam assessment in post language learning in Galicia. My interest in assessment came later, when I started to work in an adult language school which was part of the Spanish state system. That was when I first started to explore this field and found it both challenging and fascinating. My recent work as an exam developer has strengthened my interest further — although exam development is a difficult process, it has given me a renewed understanding of assessment, and a greater interest in the subject.
I always try to keep up to date with the latest developments in my field and knew that the Scholarship would give me the opportunity to join an international forum where I could discover different points of view.
My aim is to assimilate as much as possible and then to convey this to my students and to my colleagues - I am Head of the English Department within my institution, managing 37 teachers. They are a fantastic group, very dedicated, and I feel privileged to work with them. I also consider the Scholarship an opportunity to reach out to other language teaching professionals and use their experiences to further expand my point of view.
In addition, the Scholarship also gives me membership of IATEFL which I hope will help me stay up to date with current trends in language teaching, allow me to delve deeper in the field of assessment, and to stay in touch with other teaching professionals. Write a short essay examining the notion of assessment literacy and its components. Explain why it is an essential component of teacher development and discuss how it can be operationalised within your context.
She then lists five criteria which can help the development of assessment tools — reliability, validity, practicality, authenticity and washback. Teachers must also be able to differentiate between diagnostic, formative and summative assessment, and use each appropriately.
A flexible approach also allows the teacher to adapt assessment to student needs, making it more relevant and learning more successful. Better teacher understanding of assessment also improves student understanding, making assessment an aide to learning rather than a source of fear. Cristina references her own experience, in a public sector language institution for post year olds, where assessment focuses on standardized certification exams designed to measure the four skills and in , Cristina was a member of the commission that develops these exams for Galicia.
Since their launch in , the exams have had a positive impact on teaching, unifying teaching methodology and helping balance the four skills in the classroom. Cristina also heads a department in which all 37 teachers administer the exams, and she has had responsibility for standardising exam assessment criteria.
To do this, she held a number of standardisation sessions during which 21 writing samples were assessed and 24 speaking samples. In small workshops, teachers compared results and discussed issues such as the appropriateness of tasks and the significance of the assessment criteria. As a result, teachers agree that familiarity with the components of assessment helps both assessment and teaching. It was both the experience of a lifetime and an enormous professional development opportunity, and I appreciated the excellent organisation, impressive venue and unique atmosphere.
Of all the activities, my personal favourite was the pre-conference event on teacher development. It demonstrates experience in the classroom management of younger learners and outlines some good practical activities for a generation living in a technology-led society. The essay stresses the point that working towards exams should ultimately achieve similar language goals to those achieved in a non-exam class.
To address this, I recently launched a series of demo lessons for teachers within our school to encourage best practice, and as part of this we are looking at the use of ITC in the classroom, with some colleagues using interactive whiteboards to add interest to their lessons.
I have already noticed an exciting pre-Conference event on drama techniques for creative teaching, and am also looking forward to visiting the ELT Resources exhibition.
There are 12 highly motivated teachers in my Department, keen to know more about latest methodologies and who often try out new textbooks, and download resources, but who are rarely satisfied with the availability and variety of teaching materials on offer. I currently teach classes of all sizes, age groups and abilities, and I am sure that the Conference will provide me with resource materials and ideas which I can use in my teaching every day, helping me motivate the less able, while challenging talented students.
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In addition, the use of native language may be the best option in certain contexts — for example to save time when checking understanding of instructions, or with regard to more advanced speakers when comparing common features or differences between L1 and L2. The task focused on the use of idioms, which have caused problems for my students over the years. It was both the experience of a lifetime and an enormous professional development opportunity, and I appreciated the excellent organisation, impressive venue and unique atmosphere.
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