5. Learner Feedback

There are two forms of evaluation of a student’s performance. Both are equally important into providing learner feedback. Formative evaluation is providing student feedback along the way the learning process. Students need to be informed of how well they are doing, ‘praise’, throughout the language learning process so they can feel motivated and improve. Summative evaluation is providing the students overall performance like a final grade or a starting grade to see where they stand at the beginning of a course.

Formative evaluation feedback is important as depending on the student, close monitoring the student is necessary so the student will have equal opportunity to graduate among their peers.

Research has found positive feedback is better than negative feedback. Therefore encourage the student along the way by both teacher and student even if the student makes mistakes so they can feel rewarded for trying and learn from their mistakes. This helps students stay on track without feeling bad or left out.

As teachers we must be aware how student learn and respond accordingly to their answers and mistakes. Learning is is a lot of trial and error and there are many ways to approach why errors happen so we can correct the students. It is a complicated process as each scenario has to be handled in a way so the student can understand the error and either self-correct themselves or the teacher will correct. Errors can range from simple guesses, carelessness, or more complicated that language rules were completely misunderstood. Language rule errors can be  vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation or pragmatic.

Remember in teaching contextual language we have to to consciously aware of the situation in which dialogue set in both socially and culturally; pragmatics. There are many forms of English and English can be interpreted in many ways depending on which World of English you are teaching from. So recognizing the intention of the language is very important.

Some errors can overlooked for sake of general understanding at first and revisited later on depending on importance. For example, some language forms taught can be too complicated at first and even with errors, but overall continued communication can still be understood regardless of fluency.

Mentioned earlier, by allowing the student to self correct themselves will aid in their problem solving skills set. It is important to self encourage as well and peer and family support to participate whenever possible. Students excel when provided an encouraging environment where their peers, teacher and family support the student so they can feel motivated, confident and successful. The curriculum does not necessarily have to change to tailor for the students but the support given via teacher to student and student and classroom can provide the necessary motivation to involve the student to participate and do well.

Learning anything in general is limited time so it is important to allow time for participation which is a form of self evaluation among peers. So the creation of many types of activities that involve participation will provide the learning and feedback necessary to acquire a new language as fast as possible. It could be as simple as every group does an activity and the other groups grade each other based on a topic learned earlier. It can be more difficult or complicated in that the students will have to create exercises or activities. Different activities involve different learning styles. Try to encompass all different learning styles. Simple activities can be spelling bee and pronunciation to difficult like recognizing correct grammar or retelling a story in the students own words. Activities can be endless. (Link to activities)

Learning a new language is very difficult, so be lenient and allow for trial-and-error as a form of learning so students feel at ease to try and learn from their mistakes in the classroom through self-correction and peer-correction help in a positive environment, Through encouraging lots of participation activities will allow students to think and work in language and hopefully create language activities that resemble real social interactive activities.

Oral tasks or activities can be formulaic level or complex level. Simple formulaic oral tasks could consists of greetings, buying and selling situations, asking for directions and retelling stories. More complicated oral task would be forming an opinion, debating, conduct research or acting out starring in a play.

Starting from the simple formulaic oral task, students can work together to retell a story in English sentence by sentence while other students use body gestures to sign out the story line. The teacher can correct students along the way using many different corrective techniques that help reformulate the students’ answer. The teacher can simply correct the student’s response by asking for clarification, help rephrase the student response, ask for repetition and use body language gestures like silent mouthing or body gestures to aid in students’ self-correction. Delayed feedback can be useful to help the student practice their fluency to self correct. This way the student will not lose their train of thought and have a cohesive response and thus aid in their language practice. Delayed feedback during oral tasks can be oral or written. This can be done by retelling a humorous story while using positive feedback in the classroom if mistakes occur. Laughter and fun activities is key to help engage the students involvement together even if students may find it awkward but engrossing. As teachers we must have creative stories and activities whenever possible to enrich the learning experience.

In the case of written tasks the activities can range similarly to oral but include examples of writing a letter, applying for a job by writing a cover letter and resume, researching a topic, and stating a point of view. Because their is no oral component in written tasks, teachers must provide models to learn from and self-edit checklists and resources. Writing task should focus more on fluency and comprehension like writing in paragraphs with topic sentences, supporting details, transitional words and concluding sentence. Providing feedback during writing should be formative along the way so the written task is organized around a central topic and not random out of the place sentences.

Choosing the correct supportive feedback during oral and written tasks is will allow students to see how well they are doing amongst themselves so they can be motivated and successful learners. As teachers we have to anticipate a supportive feedback that matches the student’s mistake to keep the students learning.