Home Forums Discussion Board Discussion 4.2 – Testing English

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    • #2335
      admin adminadmin

      The 2 points presented earlier in this unit (repeated below) represent, for me, the essence of what learning English means.

      ● “The systems of grammatical rules that actually guide individuals’ language use are constructed by their users on the basis of their exposure to, and participation in, meaningful communicative events around them. This is true for both L1 and L2 English.”

      ● “Descriptions of grammatical rules that are deliberately taught and learned in an educational context are a kind of partial ‘knowledge about’ language systems, but having this knowledge doesn’t mean learners have the systems themselves to guide their usage.”

      I think this is the million dollar question: if you teach in a plurilithic way, how can you test in the same way? If for 20 students there are 20 different Englishes and they have constructed their own mental grammar and lexicon, testing the textbook English is a fallacy.
      Personally, I would challenge the “fill in the blank” and the multiple choice testing, to begin with. If we NEED to test, then perhaps allow learners to be a bit creative and have some free reign over their tests and exams and have them create personal and fun presentations, or blogs, or stories, or bring in pictures to talk about, rather then giving them pre-set sentences with blanks about random things and people that don’t mean anything to them and that have to rigidly follow the rules in declarative memory. Focus of them successfully completing the task, instead of how accurately it was completed…We always say that activities should be communicative and meaningful for the learner, but then the testing is the opposite. It’s a tough one!

      To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/23/testing-english

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by admin adminadmin.
    • #3750

      In my point of view affirmative assessment is so important in developing skills.

    • #4253

      Embracing diverse students with different mental grammar would be burdensome for (monolithic)teachers, but for (plurilithic) teachers, the diversity would serve as their guide to help students acquire the kind of English that they need to achieve. However, I think this would cause problems when students take English proficiency tests since all of it are promoting ‘Standard English’.

      Teachers should balance both the monolithic and plurilithic views depending on the circumstances and needs of students.

    • #4594

      This is where the conflict begins: we encourage all versions, varieties ,but safely tell them that they have to use the standard in testing.
      I totally agree with Abdulla Alli’s statement on alternative assessments where plirilithic view of teaching/ learning a language is encouraged.
      However, coming to a consensus on all these might take some time and establishing a plurilithic approach in all aspects of language teaching is what we have to encourage globally.

    • #4657
      Dauda PikawiDauda Pikawi

      There is nothing wrong with teaching the plurilithic way, but how do you test the students having in mind they all have their idiolects and their individual Englishes. As much as this is concern this may be a challenge for me.
      Another thing is how to convince the policy makers and other supervisors that what you are doing is the best. Or in some cases when the tests are standard.

    • #4786

      According to my opinion, it is not thoughtful strategy to consider every activity in the text book and cover the syllabus. On the contrary, teacher has to have a plurithic thinking pattern and need to make an independent lesson plan and the materials according to the learner profile and the interests.

    • #4840

      I taught test preparation classes for a long time (and probably will again), so I had to test on the book. There are times when the test (CAE in this case) does allow for a little more creativity, but I have found them to be slightly lacking in their knowledge of what’s acceptable in American English. I know it’s a British test though, so I drill my students on that.

      In standard classes when we’re not targeting in on a test, I like to allow for more creativity. We take quizzes and such, but I check them all carefully myself and give my students a lot of feedback in terms of usage.

    • #5256

      I agree with this point.

    • #5305


    • #5337

      As I said it, before moving to the UK, I thought I could speak English very well.
      Then at the airport, I did not understand the first question a native asked from me.
      So, yeah, textbooks are sometimes overrated… 😀

    • #5429

      The conflict arises when its time to test learners that are taught in a plurilithic way. Do we test each learner based on the form of Englishes they’ve learnt, or do we use a monolithic testing system for plurilithic learners(which will be unfair)? There are no doubts that the former will require more time and resources and the latter will not do justice to testing the learner’s knowledge of the language. It is therefore safe to strike the balance by adopting both monolithic and plurilithic ways of learning andteaching in a monolithic system of testing.

    • #5453

      We need to test learners pluralistically that is in different context. So learning need to take place using text books and learning forms of the language as well as other ways to empower the learner to be able to learn both and use them in all situations.

    • #5476

      I agree with the points that Rana, Nilda and Ayah were talking about. I don`t think that the texbooks are enough to test our knowlegde! Of course, the textbooks helps us a lot, but there are others tools.

    • #5493

      It is really difficult to find a fair way to test learners in a plurilithic way. With so many different registers and personal mental grammar and lexis testing is not easy. On the other hand, testing students only based on a textbook is unfair. Maybe we should reconsider the whole assessment system based on a plurilithic view of the English language.

    • #5530
      Saul SantosSaul Santos

      If we accept that each student constructs ther own system based on their personal experience and exposure to language, then it does not make sense to try to test a specific unique version of English, in any case, it makes much more sense to test the students’ ability to successfully (e.g. communicatively) complete a task. It is important to be clear that ‘successful’ also implies the ability to negotiate meanings, to be creative with language…

    • #5609

      I agree it’s a tough one. My idea at the moment is that we should both teach and test in a plurithic and communicative way, without forgetting the “rules” and the textbook, so we could probably have different sections in a test, in order to test both textbook language and plurilithic aspects.

    • #5624

      I agree with the issue of over reliance on text books. Everyone has their own idiolect which is in part dictated by the ease in which authentic materials can be accessed online outside of the classroom. The question is how can you create a testing system which is robust enough when the whole crux of plurilithic methods is self discovery and diversity. Referring back to the issue that Ronnie (the Youtube teacher) brought up, at what point do you say that learners are wrong or penalise them for using a valid variation? In fact, the double negative is used very often, without any impediment to understanding. This is a perfect illustration of textbook grammar being favoured over fluency, which does not help learners in real life communicative contexts.

    • #5755

      Discussion point 4.2 The extent to which you agree or disagree with what Nida, Rana, and Ayah say will depend in part on how convincing you’ve found the arguments put forward for your consideration in this course. What’s your opinion? What would you challenge or add? Tell us what you think and respond to others here.

      I tend to share many of Nida, Rana and Ayah’s comments: there are many, many drivers to take into consideration when planning a lesson, and Ts rarely have the freedom to share real-word issues, unforunately (like a plurithic view of teaching English). Within these limits, I would offer a notion of plurithic English to my S although I imagine that time, exam prep., and paying customers (my Ss’ Mums) restraints would win out for better of worse. For example, 50 years after the advent of communicative language teaching, its main tenets are still not widespread in my context, with the teaching of grammar ruling the roost.

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    • #6505

      I also agree with the points you all were talking about. Because finding the right way to test is really difficult.

    • #6952

      I agree with what Nida, Rana, and Ayah that assessment should be fair with the Englishes developed by students. I think it’s not just a matter of changing assessment, we should critically analyse our teaching materials and methods and introduce slight changes to them towards the promotion of a plurilithic perspective. By doing that, we would be transforming the process of teaching and learning the English language, thus, different ways of assessment would be coherent. Talking with an English teacher a few days ago, he told me that more than structures, vocabulary, or pronunciation, a main objective during his classes was to raise awareness in students about the use of language. He tries to present as many alternatives as possible to express an idea and encourages students to bring up their own ways to convey the same idea. But not just that, they write, analyse, and discuss those possibilities on the whiteboard. When is time for assessment, students know what it’s expected, but also know that they can choose to use one way or another to express themselves.

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